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MGMT 3211 Chapter 4

business ethics
application of general ethical ideas to business behavior
conflict of interest
occur when an individual’s self-interest conflicts with acting in the best interest of another, when the individual has no obligation to do so
ethical egoist
person who puts his or her own selfish interests above all other considerations, while denying the ethical needs and beliefs of others
ethical principles
guides to ethical behavior, such as honesty, keeping promises, helping others, and respecting others’ rights
ethical relativism
a belief that ethical right and wrong are defined by various periods of time in history, a society’s traditions, the specific circumstances of the moment, or personal opinion
a conception of right and wrong conduct, serving as a guide to moral behavior
human rights
an ethical approach emphasizing a person or group’s entitlement to something or to be treated in a certain way, such as the right to life, safety, or to be informed
integrity capital
return when ethical performance is linked with financial performance
an ethical approach that emphasizes whether the distribution of benefits and burdens among people are fair, according to some agreed-upon rule
Sarbanes-Oxley Act
U.S. law enacted in 2002 that greatly expanded the powers of the SEC to regulate information disclosure in the financial markets and the accountability of an organization’s senior leadership regarding the accuracy of this disclosure
a personal belief in a supreme being, religious organization, or the power of nature or some other external, life-guiding force
stages of moral development
sequential patters of how people grow and develop in their moral thinking, beginning with a concern for the self and growing to a concern for other and broad-based principles
U.S. Corporate Sentencing Guidelines
standards to help judges determine the appropriate penalty for criminal violations of federal laws and provide a strong incentive for business to promote ethics at work
utilitarian reasoning
an ethical approach that emphasizes the consequences of an action and seeks the action or decision where the benefits most outweigh the costs
virtue ethics
focuses on character traits to define a good person, theorizing that values will direct a person toward good behavior
According to utilitarian reasoning, an action is ethically preferred when its benefits outweigh its costs.
An ethical egoist acts for the benefit of others and sacrifices self-interest.
Being ethical includes developing a sense of trust, which promotes positive alliances among business partners.
Business cannot expect to be profitable while adhering to ethical principles of conduct.
Business managers should use all four methods of ethical reasoning – virtues, utility, rights and justice – to better understand ethical issues at work.
Employees would rather work for companies who promote their personal values.
Business must develop its own definition of what is right and wrong, apart from ethics.
Ethical ideas are present in all societies, all organizations, and all individual persons.
Ethics are primarily based on religious beliefs.
For managers who reason at stages 2 and 3, their personal rewards, recognition from others, or compliance with the company’s rules become their main ethical compass.
If all people relied on ethical relativism, there would be no universal ethical standards on which people around the globe could agree.
Managers in the same company are likely to be at the same stages of moral reasoning at any given time.
Only in the last few years have scholars found a positive relationship between an organization’s economic performance and attention to spiritual values.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that firms maintain good financial practices, apart from high ethical standards, in how they conduct and monitor business operations.
The U.S. Corporate Sentencing Guidelines provide a strong incentive for businesses to promote their ethics at work.

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