Virtual Kollage: The ethical responsibilities of business

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The ethical responsibilities of business



THE ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY OF BUSINESS
Introduction
Ethics describes the moral principles which represent a person or group. Ethics talks about how people act in regard to what they believe to be right or wrong. Often in business the need to make more money can stand in the way of what is considered wrong or right, making business ethics more difficult to uphold. 

For a business organization, the ultimate goal is to make as much money as possible and bring in revenue in order to be the fastest growing or the best in the business area they are operating. In reality the steps to  achieving this may not always be ethical. Nevertheless, every business must have its own ethics which it must do all to uphold. 

Definition of business ethics
Business ethics is defined as how firms conduct themselves in the cause of carrying out their business activities in such a way that the right thing is always done. Over the years, many companies have failed to uphold ethical standards and this has caused them to lose customers by giving them bad publicity. 

For example, Mattell, a toy company in the USA has faced problems in the past because of their business ethics. The company wanted to lower costs of production. So it decided to send the manufacturing of its toys to countries where labour is cheap (China) this led to the toys produced ending up with a high amounts of lead in them. Lead, as is well known, is dangerous for children. This is an example of a company making a decision using bad business ethics. This is why business ethics is so important.


HOW TO ENSURE ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY OF BUSINESS
Hold people to the ethical standards of the business
A good way to ensure that employees of a company uphold and follow the ethical standard in the organization is to create an attitude within the company for its top managers to follow and set a good example for employees in the lower rank. However, this is not sometimes enough. The reason is that sometimes in big companies the sheer number of employees make it difficult for them to have direct interaction with the top management. 

Provide a Benchmark
Providing a benchmark in this context means that the code of ethics must be written down and given to new employees when they are inducted into the company. This is accompanied by an signed acknowledgement letter stating that they have read and have agreed to uphold those ethical standards written to them. Sometimes employees must pledge to respect the rules and the company's code of ethics. This way they become mindful that there exist a code of ethics which they must abide by. 

Backing the written code of ethics with examples
It is often a good idea to make the human Resource Managers include practical examples in the firms written code of ethics. This should highlight some of the ethical problems that the company faces in its daily business operations. Scenarios and illustrations which relate to the firms business must be included. This is good because knowing an ethical problem which may actually happen in the line of duty can help an employee to scale through them when they happen. 

Including the Code of Ethics in the Training programmes for Employees 
For it to be effective a code of ethics must become a way of life in the firm. One of the effective ways is to make sure that these codes of ethics are not just written of paper. They must become something more real to the employees. By making employees to undergo a compulsory ethics training before they resume work provides an opportunity for employees to appreciate the importance of abiding by the company's code of ethics. It would also enable them to have the chance to work through potential situations and receive useful guidance on the firm's ethical standards.

Making employees take Exams on the code of ethics 
Examinations forces people to learn something that they would not have taken the time to learn if there were no exams. The desire to pass an exam will drive most employees to study. As a follow-up to training, or just to ensure a read-through of the policy itself, an examination is a good way to ensure that the company’s ethics are studied. This can be a good way to ensure a much more serious learning of what is required of employees as far as the ethics of the company is concerned. 

Enforcement the company's code of ethics 
For a code of ethics to mean anything, a company has to be willing to enforce it, even if it means that some have to become an example to have his appointment or employment terminated. In other words, to enforce the company's code, it might require that someone is caught violating the principles enshrined in the code and is dismissed for doing so. Although this is often a sad event it has a positive impact of serving as a deterrent to other employees who may be tempted to take the ethics of the company lightly. 

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