What are Business Ethics? Meaning
Ethics is a branch of social science. It deals with moral principles and social values. It helps us to classify, what is good and what is bad? It tells us to do good things and avoid doing bad things.
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So, ethics separate, good and bad, right and wrong, fair and unfair, moral and immoral and proper and improper human action. In short, ethics means a code of conduct. It is like the 10 commandments of holy Bible. It tells a person how to behave with another person.
So, the businessmen must give a regular supply of good quality goods and services at reasonable prices to their consumers. They must avoid indulging in unfair trade practices like adulteration, promoting misleading advertisements, cheating in weights and measures, black marketing, etc. They must give fair wages and provide good working conditions to their workers. They must not exploit the workers. They must encourage competition in the market. They must protect the interest of small businessmen. They must avoid unfair competition. They must avoid monopolies. They must pay all their taxes regularly to the government.
In short, business ethics means to conduct business with a human touch in order to give welfare to the society.
Definition of Business Ethics
According to Andrew Crane,
"Business ethics is the study of business situations, activities, and decisions where issues of right and wrong are addressed."
According to Raymond C. Baumhart,
"The ethics of business is the ethics of responsibility. The business man must promise that he will not harm knowingly."
Features of Business Ethics
The characteristics or features of business ethics are:-
- Code of conduct : Business ethics is a code of conduct. It tells what to do and what not to do for the welfare of the society. All businessmen must follow this code of conduct.
- Based on moral and social values : Business ethics is based on moral and social values. It contains moral and social principles (rules) for doing business. This includes self-control, consumer protection and welfare, service to society, fair treatment to social groups, not to exploit others, etc.
- Gives protection to social groups : Business ethics give protection to different social groups such as consumers, employees, small businessmen, government, shareholders, creditors, etc.
- Provides basic framework : Business ethics provide a basic framework for doing business. It gives the social cultural, economic, legal and other limits of business. Business must be conducted within these limits.
- Voluntary : Business ethics must be voluntary. The businessmen must accept business ethics on their own. Business ethics must be like self-discipline. It must not be enforced by law.
- Requires education and guidance : Businessmen must be given proper education and guidance before introducing business ethics. The businessmen must be motivated to use business ethics. They must be informed about the advantages of using business ethics. Trade Associations and Chambers of Commerce must also play an active role in this matter.
- Relative Term : Business ethics is a relative term. That is, it changes from one business to another. It also changes from one country to another. What is considered as good in one country may be taboo in another country.
- New concept : Business ethics is a newer concept. It is strictly followed only in developed countries. It is not followed properly in poor and developing countries.
Articles on Business Ethics
Read following articles on business ethics:-