Corporate Ethics - Corporate Ethics Luke Boyd SOC 120 Intro...

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Corporate Ethics 1 Luke Boyd SOC 120 Intro to Ethics June 2010 Samone Norsworthy
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Corporate Ethics 2 Corporate Ethics: A Need for Change Exxon Valdez, Enron, Arthur Anderson, WorldCom, Tyco, Kmart, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Wall Street are just a few examples of the ever-growing number of corporate scandals in recent years. While the top executives of these and similar corporations are making millions, the average American citizen is struggling to keep afloat during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Corporate American has sold out the citizens of the United States for the “bottom line”. This essay will examine the practical, social and ethical role of corporations, discuss the written Code of Business Ethics and explore some unethical corporate practices of today with a focus on the mortgage lenders and credit companies. It will also examine the need for better ethical standards, corporate accountability and governance in today’s business world. The Blackwell encyclopedia dictionary of business ethics defines business ethics as “the study of business action – individual and corporate – with special attention to its moral adequacy”. Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary defines business ethics as “the study and examination of moral and social responsibility in relation to business practices and decision-making in business”. Companies use business ethics to define acceptable and unacceptable actions of their managers and employees. While many corporations today have a written code of ethics, many are vague, using broad language that is open to interpretation. Many only address behavior in the workplace and company policies. They do not address any issues that result from doing business, social responsibility or accountability and consequences for violators. Mixed messages, lack of leadership, seeing or hearing about unethical behavior of top executives leaves people to believe the behavior is okay. Pressure to produce, increase profits, etc. lead people to make unethical
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Corporate Ethics 3 decisions or conduct unethical business. Corporations are in business to make a profit. Their goals are to run a profitable business, generate a good return on investments to pay stockholders and business growth. Good business can benefit society by creating jobs, which in turn provides more money for citizens to purchase goods and services, which then boosts the economy. In their book, Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for Your Company and Your Cause, Philip Kotler and Nancy Lee (2005) define corporate social responsibility as “a (voluntary) commitment to improve community well-being through discretionary business practices and contributions of corporate resources”. (p. 3) Another definition from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development states, “Corporate social responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local
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Corporate Ethics - Corporate Ethics Luke Boyd SOC 120 Intro...

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