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Chapter Two Concern for Ethical and Societal Issues An organization that wants to prosper over the long term cannot do so without considering business ethics, the standards of conduct and moral values governing actions and decisions in the work environment. In business, as in life, deciding what is right or wrong in a given situation does not always involve a clear-cut choice. Firms have many responsibilitiesto customers, to employees, to investors, and to society as a whole. Business ethics are also shaped by the ethical climate within an organization. Codes of conduct and ethical standards play increasingly significant roles in businesses in which doing the right thing is both supported and applauded. The New Ethical Environment Business ethics are now in the spotlight as never before. High-profile investigations, lawsuits, arrests, and convictions, as well as business failures due to fraud and corruption, have created a long string of headline news. Most business owners and managers have built and maintained enduring companies without breaking the rules. Many CEOs personify the best in management practices and are highly respected for their integrity, honestly, and business ethics. Jeff Immelt, GEs CEO: o Virtue first, followed by execution, growth, and great people Not all companies set and meet high ethical standards. o Greed and poor values had led many companies astray from their moral bearings, and that a major ethical priority or businesses should be preserving jobs. Individuals Make a Difference In todays business environment, individuals can make the difference in ethical expectations and behavior Although ethical behavior can be difficult to track or even define in all circumstances, evidence suggests that some individuals act unethically or illegally on the job. Technology seems to have expanded the range and impact of unethical behavior. Nearly every employee, at every level, wrestles with ethical questions at some point or another. Development of Individual Ethics Preconventional o Individual is mainly looking out for his or her own interests. Rules are followed only out of fear of punishment or hope of reward. Conventional o Individual considers the interests and expectations of others in making decisions. Rules are followed because it is a part of belonging to the group. Postconventional o Individual follows personal principles for resolving ethical dilemmas. He or she considers personal, group, and societal interests. An individuals stage in moral and ethical development is determined by a huge number of factors. Experiences help shape responses to different situations. ... View Full Document

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