Corporate Form of the Business Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2247 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] From the accounting scandals of Enron and Arthur Anderson, to the collapse of WorldCom, the collapse of the mortgage and financial industries, to the outrages of AIG and Bernie Madoff, the headlines are littered with such scandals and failures, and yet, they keep occurring. All of these situations call into question the real purpose of business ethics. Three authors note, "We are not particularly fond of 'business ethics'. Most of what we read under the name business ethics is either sentimental common sense, or a set of excuses for being unpleasant.... business ethics in its present form is at best window dressing and at worst a calculated lie" (Jones, Parker, & ten Bos 2005). These seem like harsh words, but many current business practices seem to bear out their sentiments. In a world of corporate bonuses, lavish spending, and irresponsibility, it is hard to think of business ethics without wondering if it is still really just an oxymoron.

Personally, while the public may be clamoring for more business ethics and accountability, it seems that most corporations could care less about business ethics. Morgan Stanley paying out outrageous bonuses with taxpayer bailout money that they were "compelled" to pay because of contracts is just one indication of how far morals and ethics have fallen in the business community. Many people, myself included, believe that is because business has become so cutthroat and competitive that "winning" is the only corporate culture accepted and required at most corporations today. The culture is based on always being on top at any cost, and ethics have no place in that equation. The entire organization is in competition with each other, as well, and if practices are accepted, it puts pressure on others to adopt those practices, whether they are ethical or note. Another writer notes, "If, for example, people in an organization believe that sharp practice is accepted and that those around them are rewarded for it, then they will feel not only licensed but impelled to do likewise" (Grace 2006). Ethics in an organization are extremely important, but when organizations are not compelled to operate ethically, they do not have to, and they probably will not operate ethically if they can get around it.

There are few political restraints on corporations and their ethics, even though there are certainly government regulations and legalities that must be followed. Politically, most organizations, especially large ones, can afford to hire lobbyists to plead their case in Washington, and this gives them a distinct advantage in the ethics department. As long as they "own" a Congressman, they almost have permission to act unethically. The use of taxpayer money to hire lobbyists by financial firms and GM certainly backs up this cynical view.

In conclusion, it is quite clear that corporations have a duty to their stakeholders to operate in an ethical and moral way. However, they also have an obligation to make a profit, and sometimes, that becomes more important than any morals or ethics, as many of the cases of businesses gone bad clearly indicate. In a perfect world, corporations would act ethically because they know this is the moral and "right" thing to do. However, this is not always the case. Corporate greed, arrogance, and lack of moral character often make the news today, and more corporations seem to ignore the need for ethical behavior in their quest for more market share and a better bottom line. The cynical would say that today, more than ever, business and industry leaders do not care about ethics or moral choices, they only care about making a bigger profit, getting that bigger bonus, and living a lavish and opulent lifestyle. For many corporations, that is their image, and they do nothing to shrug it off, and that may be the most unethical aspect of many modern corporations. They do not believe the have to have ethics, and it shows.

References

Bomann-Larsen, Lene and Oddny Wiggen, eds. (2004). Responsibility in world business: Managing harmful side-effects of corporate activity. Tokyo: United Nations University Press.

Dilenschneider, R.L. & Salak, J. (2003) Do ethical communicators finish first? Walking the straight and narrow information path. [Online]. Available at: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m4422/is_4_20/ai_103672846/pg_2/?tag=content;col1 [Accessed 17 June 2009].

Duska, R.F. (2006). Contemporary reflections on business ethics. New York: Springer.

Grace, Damian. 2006. For business ethics. Australian Journal of Management 31, no. 2: 371+.

Jones, C., Parker, M. & ten Bos, R. (2005) For business ethics. New York: Routledge.

Mullerat, R. &… [END OF PREVIEW]

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