business ethics

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business ethics,

the study and evaluation of decision making by businesses according to moral concepts and judgments. Ethical questions range from practical, narrowly defined issues, such as a company's obligation to be honest with its customers, to broader social and philosophical questions, such as a company's responsibility to preserve the environment and protect employee rights. Many ethical conflicts develop from conflicts between the differing interests of company owners and their workers, customers, and surrounding community. Managers must balance the ideal against the practical—the need to produce a reasonable profit for the company's shareholders with honesty in business practices, safety in the workplace, and larger environmental and social issues. Ethical issues in business have become more complicated because of the global and diversified nature of many large corporations and because of the complexity of government regulations that define the limits of criminal behavior. For example, multinational corporations operate in countries where bribery, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, and lack of concern for the environment are neither illegal nor unethical or unusual. The company must decide whether to adhere to constant ethical principles or to adjust to the local rules to maximize profits. As the costs of corporate and white-collar crime can be high, both for society and individual businesses, many business and trade associations have established ethical codes for companies, managers, and employees. Government efforts to encourage companies to adhere to ethical standards include President ClintonClinton, Bill
(William Jefferson Clinton), 1946–, 42d President of the United States (1993–2001), b. Hope, Ark. His father died before he was born, and he was originally named William Jefferson Blythe 4th, but after his mother remarried, he assumed the surname of his
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's Model Business Principles (1995), in a program overseen by the Dept. of CommerceCommerce, United States Department of,
federal executive department charged with promoting U.S. economic development and technological advancement. In Feb., 1903, the Congress established a Department of Commerce and Labor empowered to investigate and report upon the operations
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See M. Clinard and P. Yeager, Corporate Crime (1980); R. Berenbeim, Corporate Ethics (1987); C. Walton, The Moral Manager (1988); P. Baida, Poor Richard's Legacy (1990).

References in periodicals archive ?
This honour underscores Northern Trust's longstanding commitment to ethical business standards and practices, which begins with our board and senior leadership team but rests on the integrity, expertise and commitment to service of our 15,000 worldwide partners,' Northern Trust chairman and chief executive officer Frederick H.
The World s Most Ethical Companies embrace the correlation between ethical business practice and improved company performance.
by the Ethisphere Institute, the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices.
Award Recognizes Leading Companies That Place Ethical Business Practices and Standards as a Central Element of their Growth and Performance Objectives
NEW YORK -- The Ethisphere Institute, a leading international organization dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability, announced today the selection of the 2013 World's Most Ethical Companies,a recognition of 138 organizations that show leadership in setting ethical business standards.
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Commenting on the new agreement, IREM President Fred Prassas said: "We are delighted that the ethical business standards advocated by IREM and the professional practices modeled by IREM are being adopted and championed by industry colleagues in the Ukraine and many other countries far beyond our shores.
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Asked for examples of ethical business leaders, one participant cited Chip Mason of Legg Mason.