Business ethics

Ethics is commonly defined as a set of principles prescribing a behavior code, explains what is good and “right or bad and wrong. It may even outline moral duties and obligations. There is a combination of two familiar words, namely business and ethics in ‘Business ethics’.

Business ethics

Business ethics are concerned with moral issues in business just as medical ethics are concerned with morality of medical practices and policies or political ethics are concerned with the morality of political affairs. In business ethics, we arrive at two things:

  • Looking at the problems which raise moral issues in business.
  • Critically examining the various problems for solving them.
  • According to Concise Oxford Dictionary, ‘ethics’ is relating to morals; treating of moral questions: morally correct: honorable.
  • It is the study of morals and moral choices. It focuses on standards, rules and codes of conduct that govern. The behavior of individuals and groups.
  • In the simplest terms, business ethics are moral principles that define right and wrong behavior in the world of business. What constitutes right and wrong behavior in business is determined by the public interest groups, and business organisations, as well as an individual’s personal morals and values.
  • The other dictionary meaning of ‘ethics’ is that it is the ‘science of morals'; it is that branch of philosophy, which is concerned with human character and conduct. It is a treatise on morals (capable of knowing right and wrong).
  • ‘Ethics’ refer to the code of conduct that guides an individual while dealing in a situation. It relates to the social rules that influence people to be honest in dealing with the other people.
  • Ethics are the principles of behavior that distinguish between the right and the wrong. Business ethics is the evaluation of business activities and behavior as right or wrong. Ethical conduct conforms with what a group or society, as a whole considers right behavior.
  • Ethics can be defined as the study of what makes up good and bad conduct inclusive of related actions and values. Business ethics, which is a subject of the study of Ethics and is defined as the study of what makes up good and bad conduct as related to business activities and values (Business is defined as any individual or organisation, a corporation, a partnership, joint ventures or a franchise whose primary goal is to provide goods and services in order to ‘obtain a return on investment).
  • Ethics are the rules we play by, They are the standards of behavior generally accepted by a society. Ethics are standards of moral conduct.
  • Marketing ethics relate to a moral b evaluation of decisions based on commonly accepted principles of behavior. This evaluation results in action being judged right or wrong.
  • According to R. Wayne Mondy, ‘Ethics is the discipline dealing with what is good and bad, or right and wrong, or with moral duty and obligation.’
  • Ethics is that branch of philosophy, which is concerned with the, rightness or wrongness, goodness or badness of human conduct. Ethics provides the basis for deciding that, a particular action is morally bad or good.
  • ‘Ethics’ describes what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ in human behavior, and what ‘ought to be’. Business ethics are the desired norms of behavior exclusively daling with commercial transactions. Ethics is a description of ‘observed’ as well as ‘desirable behavior’ and ‘conduct’ that attempts to articulate moral values.
  • Ethics concern the rightness or wrongness of human conduct. According to John Donaldson, Business ethics in short can be described as the systematic study of moral (ethical) matters pertaining to business, industry or related activities, institutions, or practices and beliefs. It can also refer to the actual standards, values or practices or beliefs (Anexample of the latter use is seen in the title of Max Weber’s book. ‘The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism’). Business Ethics is the systematic handling of values in business and industry.
  • The word ‘ethics’ is derived from the Greek word ‘ethos’ which refers specifically to the “character” and “sentiment of the behavior community.”
  • Shea in 1988 defined ethics as the principles of conduct of governing an individual or a profession and “standards of medical behavior.”
  • Ethics are the ‘rules or standards that govern behaviors.’ As per Brian Harvey, ethics stands for a practice as well as a reflection on that practice. As a practice, it can be described as the conscious appeal to norms and values to which, on reasonable grounds, we hold ourselves obliged, as, reciprocally, we hold others obliged to the same norms and values. As a reflection, ethics is the methodical and systematic elaboration of the norms and values, we appeal to in our daily, activities.
  • Ethics are about norms and values of a certain seriousness, about standards and ideals, i.e. ones that people cannot easily neglect without harming others, or without being looked at disdainfully by significant others. It is about keeping your promises, respecting sentiment of beings, and distributing benefits and burdens in a fair and equitable way.
  • Business ethics are the application of general ethical rules to business behavior. According to Keith Davis and associates, ethics are a set of rules that define right and wrong conduct. These rules tell us when our behavior is acceptable and when it is disapproved and considered to be wrong. Business ethics are the application of general ethical rules to business behavior.
  • Business ethics concentrate on moral standards as they apply to business policies, institutions and behavior. It is a specialised study of moral right or wrong, it is a form of applied ethics. It includes not only the analysis of moral norms and moral values, but also attempts to apply the conclusions of the analysis to that assortment of institutions, technologies, transactions, activities and pursuits that we call business.
  • Business ethics are nothing but the application of ethics in business. It proves that businesses can be, and have been ethical and still make profits. Today, more and more interest is being given to the application of ethical practices in business dealings and the ethical implications of business.
  • Business ethics are rules of business conduct, by which the proprietary of business activities may be judged. It also relates to the behavior of managers.

Priya Chetty

Partner at Project Guru
Priya Chetty writes frequently about advertising, media, marketing and finance. In addition to posting daily to Project Guru Knowledge Tank, she is currently in the editorial board of Research & Analysis wing of Project Guru. She emphasizes more on refined content for Project Guru's various paid services. She has also reviewed about various insights of the social insider by writing articles about what social media means for the media and marketing industries. She has also worked in outdoor media agencies like MPG and hotel marketing companies like CarePlus.
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  1. A Good array of definitions which every businessman should have a look at. According to me business ethics can be defined in a simply manner that “One can do well by doing good”.

  2. Curious to see what all you intellectuals have to say about this…….


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