Business studies study module

Ethics -refers to a set of values, principles and rules of acceptable behavior which influence how individuals, groups of people and the society in general behave.

Business ethics-refers to acceptable behavior that should be displayed by business people. Business ethics helps businesses in deciding what actions are right or wrong depending on circumstances.

Ethical issues-are the moral concerns that arise in the course of carrying out business.

Need for Ethical issues in Business

The need for ethical issues in business includes the following;

  1. Ensures no discrimination in business-Business ethics ensures there is no discrimination in areas such as recruitment (hiring), promotion, training, remuneration and assignment of duties. These processes should be objective and based on merit, qualification, experience and ability.

-It ensures that everybody is given an equal opportunity (has equal chance) and is not discriminated against because of their sex, religion, ethnicity, social background e.t.c.

2.Ensures protection of the environment/Helps in avoiding environmental pollution-Business ethics prohibits business units from carrying out activities that may cause pollution and degradation of the environment. Environmental degradation may be caused by human activities such as logging and unplanned cultivation. Pollution may be caused by activities such as:

  • Damping effluents from production units into water masses thereby causing water pollution. Water pollution is disastrous to human health and also to aquatic animals.
  • Emitting carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere causing air pollution
  • Damping of waste material on the land surface causing solid waste pollution This creates terrible sites to watch and also breeding places for dangerous insects such as flies.

3.Ensures fair play in competition-Ethics ensures that businesses do not engage in unfair practices while competing with others. These practices may include:

  • Destroying a competitor’s product or promotional tools such as billboards
  • Buying and destroying competitor’s products before they reach the market
  • Giving false information about a competitor’s product
  • Helps in avoiding environmental degradation-Ethics ensures that the physical environment is not degraded through business activities. Such activities may include:
  • Deforestation through logging
  • Unplanned cultivation
  • Helps in avoiding environmental pollution-Environmental pollution may be caused by activities such as:
    • Releasing carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere thereby causing air pollution
    • Channeling effluents from factories to water masses thereby causing water pollution. Such pollution can be harmful to human health and aquatic animals.
    • Disposing of waste material such as paper and scrap metal on the land surface thereby causing solid waste pollution.
    • Producing too loud noise which might be harmful to human beings hearings
    • Emitting too strong light that may be harmful to our eyesight

4.Ensures rights of employees are upheld-Ethics ensures that the employer does not violate the rights of employees especially as laid out in their terms and conditions of employment. Such rights include payment of dues in time.

5.Eliminates use of unfair means of achieving business objectives-Ethics ensures that the business operations are carried out in a professional way e.g. it is unethical to give or receive a bribe in order to win a business contract. Similarly, it is not ethical to hoard goods awaiting their prices to go up.

6.Avoids consumer exploitation-Ethics ensures that consumers are not exploited by the business. Consumers may be exploited through practices such as:

  • Overcharging them
  • False advertisement
  • Selling poor quality goods and services
  • Selling wrong quantities
  • Selling harmful commodities

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