Ethics, Values, and Social Responsibility Business operators often face a lot of challenges and decisions to make. Example of someof the decisions include- laying off the employees, remaining private or going public, opening more branches, among many other things. As these operators try to find the solutions to the challenges or the decisions to most issues in their businesses, they confront some ethical issues. The ethical issues could either result from recent developments in the business practices or they are long standing issues in the business. The paper shall discuss the top five ethical issues confronting the business community. The study shall narrow down to industry-wide ethical issues.
Apart from these issues being frequent, they are also more widespread. The industry-wide ethical issues are not only confined to a specific business but rather to the whole business community. One of these issues is bribing of powerful officials in the business industry. The powerful officials are in a position to offer lucrative bids and tenders. Normally, it would be very competitive for business owners to get these tenders and bids. However, most business owners do not follow the laid down procedures to acquire these tenders.
Bribing is a serious ethical issue because it discourages fairness in the business field. The issue of bribing has affected the weak business operators who had the potential to rise to higher levels. In fact, bribing is the contributing factor to the rise of social inequality in the world. Recent studies indicate that the gap between the poor and the rich is increasing significantly because bribing has given rise to unequal trade agreements that affect the poorest nations (Lack, 2001).
The second ethical issue concerns labor related issues such as gender discrimination, harassment at the work station, poor working conditions, child labor, and low minority community participation. Statistics indicate that the number of women entering the workplace has increased significantly. As this number increased, gender dynamics in most businesses and companies became a central issue. In the past, the gender dynamics was just a peripheral concern. It is evident that the ever increasing women discrimination, sexual harassment, and power imbalance is a serious ethical issue. Most businesses have tried to offer a solution to this problem, but their solution remains unclear.
Solving these labor related issues demands all the leaders to be socially responsible and offer proper guidance. The third issue lies within the operations of the business. Most business operations are surrounded by scandals that leave the general public undecided on whom to trust to provide good products and services. Amid all this scandals, business owners usually cover this ethical issue using their ways that would create trust with the customers, for example, lowering their prices.
In addition, some business owners usually source their materials, poor quality of production, compromising on quality of inputs in production, hoarding, and poor packaging, deception in size and quantity, and dishonesty. The above issue has made it hard for fair business operators to be visible to the consumers because the marketplace has left all the customers confused. The fourth issue is negligence from the business operators. The most common negligence in the business community is omitting the details of the side effects of certain products. The business operators consciously omit these details for their personal gains.
It is a very serious ethical issue because it involves the safety of the consumers. Furthermore, some operators conduct animal testing, especially businesses that deal with beauty products. It is a very controversial thing to do. The fifth issue is poor working conditions. Some businesses still enforce forced labor in their systems; while others employ underage persons and forcing people to work at below minimum wage. In addition, most of business owners expose their employees to sweatshop working conditions and violation of workers rights. Such cases are ethical issues in business.
If a business does not create a working environment that complies with health and safety standards, then the business leader is failing in his social responsibility. So far, the paper has highlighted the five main ethical issues in the business filed. The research shall then begin to rank the ethical issues by the importance placed upon them by the current media. The issue concerning internal operations of the business is the most important one. Unfair operation methods and scandals within the business could be avoided if business leaders formulate internal rules and serve as an example to others.
For example, in order to regain the customers’ trust, a business leader could demonstrate honesty and openness in customer relationships. A business operator should lead by example and conduct the daily activities with openness and transparency. A study by Atchinson indicated that ethical issues concerning the operations of a business is specific to businesses (Atchinson, 2010). They have to be solved by specific businesses since it does not involve the whole business community. From the above research, it is the social responsibility of business leaders to ensure their specific businesses have upheld their internal ethical integrity (Atchinson, 2010).
For instance, a business leader may choose whether to place information about the harmful effects of a given product. In addition, a business leader could avoid colluding with a competitor in order to fix higher prices. Even though making ethical choices is tough, business leaders have to ensure their businesses are operating for the greater good for all (Atchinson, 2010). A second important concern is the issue relating to labor. The issues include gender discrimination at workplace, working conditions, child labor, and such.
A literature review by Gallant concluded that these issues relating to labor are human rights issues (Gallant, 2007). The study recommended that business owners have a role of stopping and addressing discrimination, advice the workers of their specific rights, apply the business internal policies and procedures, apply the constitution when investigating allegations, and dealing with formal human rights complaints. The third most important concern is the issue of forcing labor at poor wages, harsh working conditions, and complying with environmental standards.
Solutions to these problems are similar to solutions to issues relating to labor. However, this issue has a significant effect to the reputation of the business, in case the owners do not solve it early. For instance, if the business emits a lot of smoke or dust to the environment, the effect shall be felt both to the customers and those who are not customers. It requires the business to adhere to rules and policies affecting the health, safety, and the environment (Asbury, 2013). The fourth important issue concerns corruption in business.
A study by Shah indicates that corruption is both a primary cause and result of poverty around the world (Shah, 2011). Such case demands all the leaders in all sectors of the economy to work together in order to solve it. Omitting the details of the side effects of using certain products is the fifth most concern. Nowadays, most governments have passed rules that demands companies to give information about the side effects of usage of products. Therefore, most businesses rarely do not entertain this ethical issue. References Asbury, S.
(2013). Health & Safety, Environment and Quality Audits: A Risk-based Approach. Routledge. Atchinson, B. (2010). The Top 5 Ethical Challenges Facing Todays Agents. LifeHealthPro, 1-3. Gallant, B. J. (2007). The Facility Managers Guide to Environmental Health and Safety. Government Institutes. Lack, R. (2001). Safety, Health, and Asset Protection: Management Essentials, Second Edition. CRC Press. Shah, A. (2011). Corruption. Global Issues, 2.