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Business Ethics and its Issues

"Ethics is what my consciousness tell me is right. But this is not a fixed standard, and that creates problems. Ethics means accepted standards in terms of your personal and social welfare, what you believe is right. But what confuses me is the possibility that I have been misguided, or that somebody else has been poorly educated. Maybe each of us thinks he knows what is ethical, but we differ. How can you tell who is right then?"

Of the business people interviewed, ethics is defined as "what my feelings tell me is right by 50 percent," 25 percent defined it in religious terms as what is "in accord with my religious beliefs," and 18 percent defined it as what "conforms to the golden rule." Yet feelings are a notoriously insufficient basis on which to make decisions of any kind, and religious authority and the golden rule have been rather hugely criticised as poor foundations for judging the ethics of business companies. What then do ethics and ethical principles mean?

Dictionary meaning of ethics

"The principles of conduct governing an individual or a group." Another definition of ethics is given as "the study of the general nature of moral choices made by a person. Ethics can also be defined as "the rules or standards leading the behaviour of a person or the members of an occupation e.g. auditing ethics, medical ethics". We sometimes use the term personal ethics, for example, when referring to the rule by which an individual lives his or her personal life. We use the term accounting ethics when referring to the code that guides the professional conduct of accountants.

Most importantly, Ethics is "the study of morality." Ethicists use the term ethics to refer primarily to the study of morality, just as mathematician use the term mathematics to refer to a study of numbers.

Although ethics deals with morality, it is not quite the same as morality. Ethics is a kind of investigation and that includes both the activity of investigating as well as the results of that investigation whereas morality is the subject matter that ethics investigates.

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