Author Topic: Origin of Business Ethics  (Read 1807 times)


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Origin of Business Ethics
« on: November 24, 2012, 10:16:17 AM »
When we trace the origin of business ethics we start with a period where profit maximisation was seen as the only purpose of existence for a business. There was no consideration whatsoever for non-economic values, be it the people who worked with organisations or the society that allowed the business to flourish. It was only in late 1980ís and 1990ís that both intelligentsia and the academics as well as the corporate began to show interest in the same.

Nowadays almost all organisations lay due emphasis on their responsibilities towards the society and the nature and they call it by different names like corporate social responsibility, corporate governance or social responsibility charter. In India Maruti Suzuki, for example, owned the responsibility of maintain a large number of parks and ensuring greenery. Hindustan unilever, similarly started the e-shakti initiative for women in rural villages.

Globally also many corporations have bred philanthropists who have contributed compassion, love for poor and unprivileged. Bill gates of Microsoft and Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway are known for their philanthropic contributions across globe.

Many organisations, for example, IBM as part of their corporate social responsibility have taken up the initiative of going green, towards contributing to environmental protection. It is not that business did not function before the advent of business ethics; but there is a regulation of kinds now that ensures business and organisations contribute to the society and its well being.

Nowadays business ethics determines the fundamental purpose of existence of a company in many organisations. There is an ensuing battle between various groups, for example between those who consider profit or share holder wealth maximisation as the main aim of the company and those who consider value creation as main purpose of the organisation.

The former argue that if an organisations main objective is to increase the shareholders wealth, then considering the rights or interests of any other group is unethical. The latter, similarly argue that profit maximisation cannot be at the expense of the environment and other groups in the society that contribute to the well being of the business.

Nevertheless business ethics continues to a debatable topic. Many argue that lots of organisations use it to seek competitive advantage and creating a fair image in the eyes of consumers and other stakeholders. There are advantages also like transparency and accountability.