Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Governance
and Critical Thinking
Why Study Business Ethics:
1.To make better decisions for ourselves, the businesses we work for, and the society we
2.To understand ourselves and other better.
3.To learn to act ethically so businesses can forestall public criticism, reduce lawsuits
against them, prevent Congress from passing onerous legislation, and to make higher
4.To examine the role of law in defining ethical conduct.
The Corporate Social Responsibility Debate
5.Stakeholder theory of corporate social responsibility - holds that corporations should
balance the interest of shareholders against the interests of other corporate stakeholders,
such as employees, suppliers, customers, and the community.
6.Defenders of business argue that in a society founded on capitalism, profit
maximization should be the main goal of business.
For centuries, religious and secular scholars have explored the meaning of human
existence and attempted to define a “good life”.
Four theories are covered, including rights
theory, justice theory, utilitarianism, and profit maximization.
Theories that focus on the
consequences of a decision are
Theories that focus on decisions or
actions alone are
are necessarily invalid.
Rights theory holds that certain human rights are fundamental and must be respected by
This places the focus on each individual member of society.
century philosopher, viewed humans as moral actors that are free to
He believed humans are able to judge the morality of any action by applying his
“Act only on that maxim whereby at the same time you can will that
it shall become a universal law”.
A second formulation of the imperative is:
“Always act to
treat humanity, whether in yourself or in others, as an end in itself, never merely as a means.”
Modern Rights Theories
- Modern theorist found that duties are not absolute.
example, most people find killing, as in self defense - acceptable.
So, modern rights theorists
proposed mixed deontological theories.
Their ideas run along the line of abiding by a moral rule
unless a more important rule conflicts with it.
Strengths of Rights Theory
- protects fundamental rights, unless some greater right
Criticisms of Rights Theory