Thesis: Ethical Dilemma of Business

Pages: 5 (1463 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Ethics  ·  Buy This Paper

Ethical Dilemma of Business

Globalization and market liberalization have radically changed the business community. However they have been the primary determinants of the modifications incurred, they have not been the sole generators of change. Other such forces include the economic growth of the past centuries, the improved living standards of the populations, the outsourcing operations, the increased focus on customer and personnel, and also the increased competition between economic agents. All these modifications brought on new concerns and consequently, new legislations. A relevant example of a new feature within the business community is that of operating in accordance with several norms of business ethics.

Literature Review

The specialized literature on the matter of business ethics is rather comprehensive, containing numerous definitions of the concept, examples of corporate situations and a wide variety of other topics. Some of the most significant definitions of business ethics are presented below:

Crystal (2008): "Business ethics is the behavior that a business adheres to in its daily dealings with the world. The ethics of a particular business can be diverse. They apply not only to how the business interacts with the world at large, but also to their one-on-one dealings with a single customer."

Institute for Business Ethics: "Business ethics is the application of ethical values to business behaviour. It applies to any and all aspects of business conduct, from boardroom strategies and how companies treat their employees and suppliers to sales techniques and accounting practices. Ethics goes beyond the legal requirements for a company and is, therefore, about discretionary decisions and behaviour guided by values. Business ethics is relevant both to the conduct of individuals and to the conduct of the organisation as a whole."

University of Illinois at Chicago: "Business ethics consists of a set of moral principles and values that govern the behavior of the organization with respect to what is right and what is wrong."

Other sources on the other hand indicate that business ethics do not exist outside the theoretical frameworks. "Business ethics, it has been claimed, is an oxymoron. [...] To say that business ethics is an oxymoron suggests that there are not, or cannot be, ethics in business: that business is in some way unethical" (Crane and Matten, 2007)

Elizabeth M. Vallance (1995) recognizes the existence of business ethics, but points out to the importance of distinguishing between "a consciousness-raising activity, encouraging managers to be good" and "a rigorous, analytical tool."

3. The Ethical Dilemma of Business

The ethical dilemma of business is a generic title given to a wide series of situations which could occur within the business community and threaten the ethics of a respective organization. As it has been suggested in the previous section, such dilemmas could easily occur at all organizational levels, including employee-employer relations, organization-customer relations, employee-employee relations or in the relations with any type of organizational stakeholder.

The Institute of Business Ethics reveals the most common issues that are addressed within the business community. They refer to the following:

bribery and corruption gifts and hospitality conflicts of interest diversity health and safety environmental stewardship political donations and lobbying"

The primary causes of concern are discrimination, environmental issues, employees' speaking out and harassment.

Martin Cohen has even written a book on the matter and entitled it 101 Ethical Dilemmas; in his work, the author states: "Ethics is about choices which matter, and choices which matter are dilemmas." This paper does not propose to exhaustively present the ethical dilemmas within the business community, and will therefore be limited to presenting some of them:

The lifeboat - a situation in which few can succeed / survive and the question posed is how many more can they save / help succeed, at the risk of their own loss

The internet bargain - a situation in which one purchase a product and the invoice wrongfully states it has already been paid. The question revolves on whether the person will declare the mistake or keep the product and the money

The toaster - a situation in which one is aware of the uselessness and even wrongfulness of the actions implemented by another party. Being presented with the opportunity to do act without the first party knowing, the question revolves around the course of action to be implemented by the second party

The liar - this dilemma is based on three concepts: lying is immoral, everybody lies and there are… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Ethical Dilemma of Business.  (2008, December 9).  Retrieved November 14, 2019, from

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"Ethical Dilemma of Business."  9 December 2008.  Web.  14 November 2019. <>.

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"Ethical Dilemma of Business."  December 9, 2008.  Accessed November 14, 2019.