Chapter 15: Business Ethics and Public Policy

Do public policy approaches resolve the problem of social responsibility based upon moral and ethical questions, i.e. if business adhered to the standards of performance expressed in the law and existing public policy, could it be judged as being socially responsive to the changing expectations of society???

Changing Views of Business Ethics

1. Traditional view is that ethical behavior conforms to the marketplace. Economizing on resources, meeting the competition, and successful economic performance.

2. Does the drive for efficiency that leads to unsafe workplaces, environmental pollution, inferior consumer products, etc. change business' social and ethical roles?

3. Should this task be left to government regulation?

Ethics and Decision Making

1. Business ethics is a subset of ethics in general. It is concerned with actions and practices that are directed to improving the welfare of people.

2. It is concerned with human conduct that is done knowingly and, to a large extent, willingly.

3. How does one identify the ethical dimensions of a decision? A decision that significantly affects human welfare where questions of justice and rights are serious and relevant moral considerations.

Ethical Theories

1. Utilitarianism

2. Ethical Formalism (deontological approach)

3. Justice (fairness or what is deserved)

Libertarian theories emphasize rights to liberty. Government action is permissible on to the extent that it protects these fundamental rights or entitlements. Entitlement rights depend upon how they came about. Criticized as ignoring the fact that freedom of one person imposes constraints upon other persons. It also is criticized as generating unjust treatment of the disadvantaged born into unfavorable circumstances.

4. Rights

Management and Ethics