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Business Ethics

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Introduction

BTEC NATIONAL DIPLOMA IN BUSINESS Business Ethics Ethics - ethics a major branch of philosophy is the study of values and customs of a person or group and covers the analysis and employment of concepts such as right and wrong, good and evil, and responsibility. It is divided into three primary areas: meta-ethics (the study of the concept of ethics), normative ethics (the study of how to determine ethical values), and applied ethics (the study of the use of ethical values). Business ethics is a form of the art applied ethics that examines ethical rules and principles within the commercial context, the various moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business setting, and any special duties or obligations that apply to persons who are engaged in commerce. The range and quantity of business ethical issues reflects the degree to which business is perceived to be at the odds with non-economic social values. Today most major corporate websites lay emphasis on commitment to promoting non-economic social values under a variety of headings (e.g. ethics codes, social responsibility charters). In some cases, corporation have redefined their core values in the light of business ethical considerations (e.g. BP's 'beyond petroleum' environmental tilt). I have chosen BP as my organisation to base this assignment on. I will be identifying and describing what ethical issues and problems (dilemmas) may occur when the organisation tries to achieve its aims and objectives. Aims and Objectives of BP BP's objective outlines a shared vision of their company and reflects on their core values. This helps them to set common standards and goals in their financial, environmental, health and safety and social performance. These are the main aims of businesses including BP: Profit maximisation - CSR is concerned with many aspects but most significant issues tend to be human rights, labour conditions and environmental impacts. The risk can directly affect sales, costs, quality and other key aspects of business performance. ...read more.

Middle

Businesses are owned by their shareholders - any money they spend on so-called social responsibility is effectively theft from those shareholders who can, after all, decide for themselves if they want to give to charity. M1 In terms of understanding the objectives of a business, there are two fixed views: 1. The Shareholder concept 2. The Stakeholder concept Along the lines of finance, it is assumed that the objective of a business is to maximise the value of the company. In other words, managers of a business should create as much as wealth as possible for the shareholders. In short, the objective for managers running a business should be profit maximisation, both in the short and long-term. I have chosen BT (British Telecom) for this section to base my analysis on. The root of all these ethical/unethical conflicts lies in the hands of shareholders, e.g. if BT is not very successful in terms of making profit, then BT will be forced to find another way of making profit either ethical or unethical and most realistically majority of the companies choose the easy way out by making profit unethically just to keep their shareholder satisfied regardless of how they are treating their staff, environment etc. This is how all the dilemmas enter the scenario which can either make a company hugely successful or be forced to lower the value of their shares. Its somewhat is seen as a mission impossible to keep all of your stakeholders and shareholders groups happy all the time. If one side is happy then the other side is not satisfied and it can never balance out. However the business is more responsible to the shareholders because without the shareholder a business wouldn't be a business so therefore for some business keeping shareholder happy is their top priority after profit maximisation. BT has faced many dilemmas due to not being successful. ...read more.

Conclusion

This clearly shows that after being put under pressure from FoE Tesco successfully defended itself from false accusation that were made against it. Therefore in this example FoE failed to influence any change on the business and also failed to influence the decisions the business makes. This example is about Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace. These pressure groups successfully influenced the ethical behaviour of Tesco. This campaign was created to end the sales of whale meat in Japan. The groups demonstrated that they was an increasing concern amongst Japanese consumers, and that falling prices and growing stockpiles of whale meat indicated a significant decrease in domestic demand for the products. The groups pressed Tesco to consider this wealth of evidence and end selling whale meat. EIA and Greenpeace met with Tesco representatives on two occasions and told Tesco the UK's leading retailer to immediately withdraw all whale meat products that were being sold in at least 45 of their supermarkets stores in the Tokyo area. More than 20,000 small whales, dolphins and porpoises are also killed in Japan's coastal waters. A significant percentage of the cetacean (large sea animals) products on sale in Japan have been shown to be highly polluted, posing a potential health threat to consumers. These groups made statements such as 'contaminated whale products being sold', 'threat on human health' and for these reasons alone, Tesco should stop endorsing such products. Tesco took its decision to stop selling whale products shortly after their second meeting, and indicated that it had immediately stopped purchasing whale meat. According to Tesco they took the decision "due to lack of customer demand". However in theory, they stopped selling because of the high pressure from these groups who successfully influenced a change in their behaviour. I personally believe that Tesco was afraid of losing its position in the market and getting a bad reputation, which clearly tells us that how these stakeholders can have a huge impact in the way you conduct your business. ?? ?? ?? ?? 4 Rizwana Hameed ...read more.

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