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Mark S. Schwartz on Business Ethics National Index Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 3rd, 2021

The article under consideration is the “A Business Ethics National Index (BENI): Measuring Business Ethics Activity around the World” by Mark S. Schwartz and James Weber, which was published in Business Society Vol. 45; no 3, pp. 382 – 405. The article is a description of the position of business ethics in the world and the comparative analyses of business ethics in different countries.

Business ethics is a mode of behavior; it controls the ethical behavior of members of the company and other business partners. Business ethics plays two main roles, that is observance of regulations and rules of the company members and partners, and providing the control under them.

The extension of business partnerships around the world, the increase of companies and corporations were the reasons for the growth of the field of business ethics. A lot of investigations about the extent of business ethics activities were provided by different scholars, but the measurement of the national level of business ethics activity was never provided, which is great neglect. There are at least three primary reasons why these investigations are useful:

  • help guide the direction of future descriptive business ethics research,
  • allow for a more robust descriptive and normative evaluation of cross-national comparisons of business ethics activity, and
  • provide an additional means by which to encourage additional formal business ethics activities in a given country. (Schwartz & Weber, 2006, p. 383)

Having considered all peculiarities and approaches of distinguishing the business ethics notion, the authors of the article have derived their notion of business ethics, which comprises several points of view about it. According to Schwartz & Weber (2006), business ethics is “involves any formal (i.e., identifiable) activity taking place among individuals, organizations, or other entities operating within or related to a business context that involves the explicit interaction and/or application of ethical (i.e., moral) standards” (p. 386). There are a lot of other frameworks which coexist and correlate with business ethics as it does not exist in the vacuum (Schwartz & Weber, 2006).

The authors of the article put on the discussion seven most important fields of social life for business ethics implementation that is academia, business, social or ethical investment, business ethics organizations, government, social activist groups, and the media. (Schwartz & Weber, 2006)

Under academia the authors understand the teaching business ethics process. Considering different countries, the authors stated that most of developed countries in the world provide the courses and subjects in business ethics as understand its importance in the modern world. Business is the field which has the direct relation to the discussed ethics. Schwartz & Weber (2006) investigated only large companies, as their strong opinion is that small companies are unable to survive in this world.

Social or ethical investment is the amount of financial injections which are provided in the ethical and social sphere in the country. The higher level of investments, the more developed fields and the higher level of innovations are in the investigated country. The increase of the companies and the extent of the business area require the appearance of special organizations which provide the business ethics investigations. They differ from academic establishments, as they analyze and make conclusions, while academies just teach. The more business ethics organizations in the country, the higher level and importance of business ethics the country maintains. (Schwartz & Weber, 2006)

One of the main features of the business ethics in the country should be its legitimatization. It is the country’s government that should keep an eye on this business ethics peculiarity. Social activist organizations are aimed to provide the support in the questions of business ethics. To evaluate the seriousness of the country to the business ethics problem, the publications should be considered. The higher level of publications, the more serious the problem of business ethics is considered in this country. (Schwartz & Weber, 2006)

Schwartz & Weber (2006) insist that evaluation and consideration of all these parameters is the main criteria according to which the level of county’s attitude to the business ethics should be measured. The availability of these criteria in the country tells about the country’s intentions and commitment about the problems of business ethics. The offered investigation is rather new in the world of business, and there are not so much analysis is provided.

The researches in different countries took place, but separately, and by single criteria. There have not been any extended common investigations where all the criteria could be distinguished, analyzed, and conclusions made according to the level of business ethics development in different countries of the world. The complex analysis is an innovation which was offered by Schwartz & Weber. Their conception should be taken for the model in business ethics organizations which deal with different kinds of statistical investigations in this field.

The complex national investigation of business ethics level of development has some limitations and weakness. First of, evaluating different countries, it should be taken into considering that the understanding of the notion business ethics is different. The other problem is to distinguish the most important criteria. Different investigators have different opinions, and very often these opinions are diametrically opposite. The question of cultural effect on the level of business ethics development in the country remains open. (Schwartz & Weber, 2006)

The article is finishes with the dwelling upon the opportunity of further investigations in the field. Schwartz & Weber (2006) are sure that people want to know about the level of the business ethics development in their country, so their further idea is to create a kind of global business ethics directory, which may be concentrated on the web site with constant every month updating. The information about business ethics in different countries may be kept there, with purpose that people could become acquainted with information, could compare and contrast the information of the other countries.

Reading the article, it was obvious that the business ethics is the field of knowledge which is developing every minute. A lot of attention is paid to it in modern world. The offered investigations should be provided, in my opinion, as it is the best way to consider the development of business ethics in this or that country. My own offer may be to provide such investigations inside the country on the level of companies in order to distinguish the best company according to business ethics implementation.

So, the article represents the reader a new type of analysis of the level of business ethics in the country. The main difference is that the investigation is complex, the level of business ethics in the country is analyzed by lots of criteria, and the national aspect is taken into consideration. Different countries have different ethical issues and these peculiarities should be taken into consideration while results comprising.

Reference List

Schwartz, M.S. & Weber, J. (2006). “A Business Ethics National Index (BENI): Measuring Business Ethics Activity around the World”. Business Society. Vol. 45; no 3, pp. 382 – 405.

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