Practice Business Ethics
Questions range as to whether organizations should practice business ethics. Many may argue that, when an organization places ethics as a core issue, it forfeits its sole reason for existence that is of making profits. Is it possible for an organization to have business ethics and still make profits? De George’s moral, organization’s and the moral actor view incorporates the way organizations can integrate the three views into the single domain of the organization. The paper therefore briefly describes how the organization can practice business ethics in the organization, the weaknesses of each view and the strengths.
It is very hard to separate business from ethics as the two have merged to form a single domain. In modern day, businesses have to balance their quest for profits and the principles that govern their sole existence of businesses that of making profits. Business ethics exists as a sort of equilibrium that governs businesses to do what is right, stay within the rules of the game in making profits and conduct businesses in a fair and free environment. De George’s has three views of business ethics, and calls those organizations that do not practice business ethics as amoral. They are the organizations
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De George’s argues that, even if the organization is just a moral agent, it has the ability to act morally, in order not to hurt people and choose between alternatives. When charged with these moral responsibilities, the organization has a moral view even though it cannot be regarded as a social being. For instance, a hospital organization has the moral responsibility of not engaging in medical malpractices which hurts the people. However moral responsibility of an organization can only be assumed by those people who are in the organization.
The organization acts as an agent through whom the moral responsibilities are practiced, even though the organization’s moral responsibility is primarily dictated by the purpose of the organization and it is purely administrative. Moral view as portrayed by De George creates a sense of employee togetherness and solidarity for the benefit of the organization and hence a strength. When employees show solidarity, they form teams that act and think the same guided by the moral responsibilities instilled by the organization for the benefit of the organization.
One of the weaknesses of the moral view according to De George is that, our organizations exists in a purely competitive environment and therefore watches over its moral responsibility keenly and in the process, it is seen as dominating its employees and becoming hostile to those who do not seem to be falling within the organization’s umbrella of moral view. As a result, the organization ends up interfering with the employees’ personal life because the morals instilled by the organization are not inborn in the employee and the employee practices them for the purposes of the organization only (De George, pp. 30).
The organizational view of business ethics involves the organization having its own concepts of business ethics. De George argues that it is difficult to separate an individual from ethics and that ethics is more personal. He further explains that when the topic of ethics is approached from the individual perspective, companies tend to be morally unprincipled. De George believes that the individual version of ethics should be coupled with a view of the organization in mind. Individuals should learn to act accordingly to the wants and expectations of the corporation.
However, the individual view of his or her own morality should not be suppressed by the organization’s interpretation of business ethics rather than it should be integrated with the organization’s version of ethics. If an organization practices business ethics, it gains a competitive advantage over other organization’s that do not practice business ethics. Business ethics becomes the pride of the organization and the organization is honored by people.
However, the organization will always find itself in a fix between practicing business ethics and the primary goal of the organization of making profits. Given the chance, most organizations would rather make profits than practice business ethics and this leaves the organizations which practice business ethics at a risk of overlooking their primary objective of making profits (De George, pp. 32).
According to De George’s moral actor view, the corporation should be responsible for its moral actions. The corporation is therefore viewed as a means to an end and not an end in itself. De George further suggests that, corporations must set out moral principles that are to be strictly followed by workers for it to practice business ethics. The business ethics that a corporation sets acts as guiding principles that the worker is supposed to follow to ensure that the corporation maintains ethics. To de George, workers are the agents through which the corporation maintains its business ethics. Corporations are expected to always do what is principled of them and not to engage in activities that will harm others.
However, the view of the corporation as amoral actor view has a weakness in that, De George places the same moral responsibility as would be placed on an individual. We can argue that the corporation cannot practice business ethics without the people. Workers in the corporation have to be morally responsible for the corporation to be said that it is a moral actor. The strength of the view lies on its emphasis for the corporation to be morally upright in its doings (De George, pp. 35).
De George, R.: Business Ethics: Upper Saddle River: New Jersey: Pearson/Prentice Hall Publishers: 2007: 6th Ed.