In an article written by David De Cremer and Henri-Claude de Bettignies, the business ethics becomes a subject of a thorough analysis in order to determine what are the true moral values of the individuals involved. The conclusions drawn by researchers suggest that business ethics is a pragmatic entity that is inclined towards so-called “gray zones” and is not, in fact, moral or immoral by itself; such connotation is given to it by people’s behavior. This paper explores the argumentation of the article and searches for other examples that might deny or confirm these observations.
We will write a custom Essay on Internal Organizational Control and Ethics specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The morality of business has been a popular topic for a long time. In an article researching the works of Adam Smith, its author, Thomas R. Wells states that “Smith’s economic analysis was thoroughly entangled with a deeply humanistic ethical perspective” and while Smith believed in the potential of economic development and commercial society, he also criticized the political machinations and mercantilism in general” (96).
The black-and-white ethical division of business and commerce was a logical continuation of the society ideology at the time. Likewise, we can assume that modern business reflects the views of a socio-cultural environment. Indeed, some researchers speak of the influence of post-modern and post-industrial philosophy on business ethics, for example, Ronald F. Duska, author of the book “Contemporary Reflections on Business Ethics” claims that a researcher of business ethics today cannot just apply the well-known principles, but also evaluate the options and seek to understand all of the perspectives, including the marginalized ones (85).
De Cremer and Bettignies speak of a possibility of setting aside one’s moral values when two necessary conditions are present: the legal acceptance of the act and a comfortable degree of self-justification (64-66). This paradox is confirmed by the fact that many people tend to push boundaries when they have an opportunity to do so, and business is a zone of activity in which an ethical framework may experience considerable pressure, and the inner qualities of a person in a stressful situation can be clearly underlined.
Another interesting analysis of ethical decisions among members of different generations shows that the modern young workers, also known as the millennial generation, are more likely to use deontological approach in business ethics decision-making, however they also use a variety of ethical frameworks that depend on a certain scenario (Wright, Marvel and DesMarteau 1). These arguments also confirm the idea of business ethics as a reflection of contemporary social view on morality.
As a solution of the problem of “moral amnesia”, De Cremer and Bettignies propose the use of more rules and control in business environment, however for the sake of avoiding the absence of judgment in an individual under pressure of such control the authors also emphasize the need for awareness and better understanding of reasoning behind these rules (par. 66-67). De Cremer in one of his other article co-authored by Van Dick, Tenbrunsel, Pillutla and Murnighan develops this idea and suggests that behavioral business ethics approach may become an additional supporting approach in solving this problem, as in is based on important psychological insights and awareness (2).
Another researcher, Michael L. Michael agrees with such conclusions, and confirms them in his article: “Our goal must be to use our considerable (and ever-expanding) theoretical and practical knowledge creatively to improve the skills and confidence with which employees and others address their ethical dilemmas, empowering them to move beyond the confines of “legal” to the realm of “ethical” (503-504).
De Cremer, David, and Henri-Claude de Bettignies. “Pragmatic Business Ethics.” Business Strategy Review, 24.2 (2013): 64-67. Print.
De Cremer, David, Rolf van Dick, Ann Tenbrunsel, Madan Pillutla, and J Keith Murnighan. “Understanding Ethical Behavior and Decision Making in Management: A Behavioural Business Ethics Approach.” British Journal of Management, 22.1 (2011): s1-s4. Print.
Duska, Ronald F. Contemporary Reflections on Business Ethics. Berlin, Germany: Springer Science + Business Media, 2007. Print.
Michael, Michael L. “Business Ethics: The Law of Rules.” Business Ethics Quarterly, 16.4 (2006): 475-504. Print.
Wells, Thomas R. “Recovering Adam Smith’s ethical economics.” Real-World Economics Review, 68.21 (2014): 90-97. Print.
Wright, Edward, Jon E. Marvel, and Kathleen DesMarteau. “Exploring millennials: A surprising inconsistency in making ethical decisions.” Journal of Academic and Business Ethics, 9.12 (2014): 1-14. Print.