Morality entails the application of opinion, principles and laws of good behavior in any specific society. Although morality is hinged on the intrinsic aspects of society, some principles are applicable in a universal manner.
Permissibility of conduct is dependent on the moral standing of the parties involved in judging the conduct, the timing and other factors. As a result, what is morally acceptable in one location may be unacceptable elsewhere.
Poulton (2006) observed that morals are determined on a limited geographical, social, political and cultural setting, thereby inculcating the uniqueness of the standards.
Pup (2010) morality is fundamental to human existence, considering that moral dilemmas rarely exist. The intrinsic nature of humanity confers a clear understanding what is morally acceptable and solutions are automatically identifiable.
According to Gini (1996), “John Dewey argued that at the pre-critical, pre-rational, pre-autonomous level, morality starts as a set of culturally defined goals and rules which are external to the individual and are imposed or inculcated as habits”.
Human beings form a major component in the business, and every entity is part of business. As a result, morality still remains a major concern for any business place, since it is impossible to separate the three elements.
As a branch of philosophy, ethics is concerned with the conceptual, logical and rational determination of right from wrong. Ethics play a major role in determination of good from bad, morality from immorality and justice from injustices.
In most cases, ethical conduct is intrinsic, with the outcome of judgments founded on the conduct of the subject of the actions. As a result, ethical conduct is mostly hinged on ‘preaching and drinking water’ and walking the talk.
The underlying motives for ethical conduct are what determine the morality of the conclusions by the individuals. Over the past, standard codes of ethics have been developed, with these standards playing a major role in guiding decisions (Poulton, 2005).
There are an amorphous number of dimensions of ethics, based on normative, descriptive and comparative foundations. With regard to the business place, ethics are the applicable and moral principles which guide conduct in the business place.
Due to the pluralistic and ultra-egoist nature of ethics, the fact that it relates to the conduct of one person with regard to others elevates its importance in the business place.
According to Poulton (2005, p. 1), “Business ethics, pertains to human interactions when sourcing, producing and marketing goods and services for profit, and include the relationships between business management and their employees, the firm and its primary stakeholders, the business and its relationships to the community, government and society in general”.
In the determination of what is right or wrong in the business setting, it is important to take into consideration the nature of the activities and the stakeholders to be affected by the decisions. In the pursuit of generating wealth for the investors and satisfying consumer expectations, businesses are expected to certain scenarios with conflicting implications of outcomes.
The principles of business ethics are considered fulfilled if the outcome is just, fair and equitable with regard to the wellbeing of human beings. The social construction of business implies that it is impossible to disengage business entities from society, since they are interrelated.
According to Poulton (2005), this describes the status where a person, natural or legal, serves acknowledgement in the form of praise or reprimand, primarily due to their actions or omissions.
As a primary concern of ethics, moral responsibility is hinged on the actions, intentions and omissions of the moral agents, or individuals who are responsible in any capacity in society.
The magnitude and nature of moral responsibility is dependent on the status of an individual in society, and the rationale behind the expectations by society. The foundation of moral responsibility is the existence of determined and tangible moral standards in the specific society.
Moral responsibility exists in two dimensions. The first dimension is associated with obligation or compulsion. In this accord, an individual is morally responsible for outcomes which he had control over, was knowledgeable and failure to avert the outcomes (Velthouse and Kandogan, 2005).
Moral responsibility can also originate from actions that are unintentional, but involve injurious outcomes, either to a person, or to according to existing legal provisions. It is thus necessary for an individual to display reasonable skill and care in their action in order to avoid moral responsibility from obligations and culpability.
Also referred to as corporate social responsibility, this approach to self-regulation is incorporated into business in order to ensure that entities comply with the norms on an international level, existing and expectations of the wide range of stakeholders (Phillips, 1996).
Organizations have found it necessary to establish corporate social responsibility standards in order to support other efforts in achievement of organizational goals.
In addition to enhancing appeal across society, organizations have found it beneficial to establish intricate social responsibility approaches aimed at enhancing the positive effects of its activities on the ecological set up, society, consumer groups, jurisdictions and other forms of stakeholders.
Poulton (2005) noted that the entry of the multinational form of operations widened the importance of corporate responsibility.
As a strategic imperative across all industries, social responsibility has played a wide range of functions to complement and supplement core functions of businesses including window dressing, pre-empting regulatory actions and distracting stakeholders from focusing on the economic functions of a business.
Corporate social responsibility has risen to the top echelon among the non-financial goals for any business wishing to succeed in the highly competitive world. Organizations at all scales of operations have found it necessary to go the extra mile in ensuring that the stakeholders’ expectations are met.
This is regardless of the fact that such efforts actually entail costs and expenses which are not directly linked to revenue-generating capabilities. As a result, corporate social responsibility exists as a unique aspect in acquisition of competitive advantage in the market place.
Professional Responsibility and Competence
Professional responsibility arises from acquisition of certain competencies in a specific area of knowledge. Responsibility in professional circles originates from expertise and ability to comprehend intrinsic aspects of the subject.
Phillips (1996) directed that the ability to understand and conceptualize the code of conduct, how to overcome conflict of interest and act in a professional manner can only be achieved through an intricate appreciation of the primary and secondary principles in the specific areas.
Professional responsibility is determined depending on the specific professions and the extent to which the individual qualifies as a professional. Competence on the other hand relates to the ability to conceptualize aspects of a specific discipline.
Competence originates from actions directed towards acquiring knowledge and experience in a specific field. Competence is not necessary academic in nature, which is a basis of professional responsibility. Ethical standards are closely linked to professional responsibility and competence. Professionals and competent
Learning and Development
According to Phillips (1996), learning and development provides employees with an opportunity to acquire custom designed and unique approaches to understanding the needs of consumers.
In most cases, learning and development provides organizations with the necessary inputs in capturing the interests of the society in which it lives in.
Acquisition of professional competencies is based on widely practices principles, which are not specific to the internal and external environment facing the organization (Poulton, 2005).
As a result, ethical operations can only be established through learning and development programs. The design and contents of the learning and development programs have to be objective and tangible.
Responsibility to the Organization
Responsibility to the organization originates from the fact that the people running the organization are not necessarily the owners (Phillips, 1996). Managers are expected to play a role in the achievement of the organizational goals.
Successful organizations are based on identification of ways to satisfy a certain category of needs and wants. In most cases, these organizations represent an important aspect of any society, since the goods they provide are primary to survival.
As a result, if such organizations fail, the society is bound to suffer from the lack of the specific goods and services from the market.
For example, failure of a banking institution is bound to result to loss of life savings and trust in the financial system, thereby propagating domino effect across the globe.
As a result, ethical and moral standards are primary features in the responsibility to the organization, for people who have decision-making and operational powers.
Responsibility to the Society
According to Boatright (2009) businesses are expected to be responsible to the society, primarily due to the fact that all resources available for production are drawn from the society itself.
Right from skilled and unskilled employees to the inputs for production, businesses have no option but to recognize the input of society. The end-result of the production cycle is destined for society as well, since these are the individuals who provide the consumers with life sustaining products and services.
Training provides organizations with the capability of understanding the best approach to achieve the organizational goals. The training programs are aimed at ensuring that the organization has the employees with the necessary skills and competencies to handle their roles.
Knowledgeable employees are able to appreciate what is good from bad. In addition, the employees will appreciate the expectations of society, making them capable of conducting themselves in a morally upright manner. Trainings are designed to cater for diversity, sexual harassment, mentoring and cultural training.
Training in diversity provides organizations with the ability to understand the differences in cultures and social set ups across the globe. Training on diversity normalizes the expectations based on morals, ethics and legal requirements.
As a result, employees are able to appreciate the exact reason why customers and other stakeholders have differing demands. In addition, employees will be able to understand the differences in needs and wants among consumers across the organization.
This will play a major role in appreciating the best approach to delivering services, products and other aspects such as corporate social responsibility. Ethical standards vary from place to the other, making training in diversity an important aspect in the maintenance of ethical standards.
Sexual harassment is a gender based form of discrimination, influencing the ability of individuals to co-exist (Boatright, 2009). Morality issues are closely linked to sexual harassment, making it necessary for employees to understand what entails sexual harassment in the workplace.
Different cultures have varying perceptions regarding what sexual harassment is. In addition, employee strained in sexual harassment is able to increase productivity by eliminating the challenges originating from sexual harassment.
In most cases, sexual harassment exists between employees and rarely between employees and other stakeholders. As a result, it is necessary for the company to appreciate the aspects of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Cultural training is an important part of ensuring that organizations working in multicultural training are able to understand the intrinsic requirements for each culture.
Appreciating cultural implications provides organizations with the ability to determine the expectations of the stakeholders, who are drawn from different cultures.
As indicated in the definition of ethics and morals, it is important to understand the expectations of individuals in order to find a common ground. Individuals working for organizations are expected to possess moral and professional responsibility, which is only possible through a clear understanding of cultures.
According r to Velasquez, M. (2006), mentors play a significant role in ensuring that organizational culture is maintained across generations. Mentors provide formal and informal avenues through which training and development of new employees can be achieved without the need for outlay of resources.
In most cases, mentors perform development of employees in a unique and custom-designed approach. This approach depends on the mentor and the person being mentored.
Mentoring is also possible for ethical and moral standards. Individuals who are well-versed with these aspects stand an opportunity to promote the knowledge standards among other employees for the betterment of the organization.
Businesses have no option but to align objectives with goals. Financial and non-financial performance is hinged on the ability of the organization to appeal in totality.
Comprehensive appeals entail performing according to expectations, and going the extra mile. In the spirit of seeking competitive advantage, most organizations have found it necessary to establish ethical and moral standards.
Although such morals are hard to achieve, organizations have no option but to invest in training and development, training on diversity in the workplace, develop corporate social responsibility and ensure that all its actions are ethical.
On a personal level, each employee has to ensure that they are aware of the dimensions of diversity through mentoring and cultural training, ensure that their actions exude responsibility to society and the organization, and avoid actions which are considered repugnant to society at large.
Boatright, J. (2009). Ethics and the conduct of business (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall.
Gini, A. (1996). Moral Leadership and Business Ethics. Loyola University Chicago In Ethics and Leadership Working Papers. Web.
Phillips, M. J. (1996). Corporate Moral responsibility: When It Might matter. Business Ethics Quarterly, 5(3).
Poulton, M. S. (2005). Organizational Storytelling, Ethics and Morality: How Stories Frame Limits of Behavior in Organizations. Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, 10(2).
Pup, A. (2010). An agenda of Morality for Business Ethics. Annals of the University of Petrosani, Economics, 10(1).
Velasquez, M. (2006). Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall. (F.I.M. 2003- 2008), First impression management. Web.
Velthouse, B. and Kandogan, Y. (2005). Ethics in Practice: What Are Managers Really Doing? Web.