A Framework for Business Ethics

Abstract:While profit maximization is the foremost objective of any commercial organization, an ethical climate has been shown to have a significant impact on profit levels. Corporate social responsibility, however, is missing a more holistic approach that turns business ethics into something more tangible that can be implemented. A framework is described that, by taking the form of a menu, offers an ethical business approach that can be more readily scoped and planned. Depending on the characteristics of the organization, such a process can vary, but there will be many elements in common among such change processes. A sidebar article describes a study linking ethics and …

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I think the distinctions presented in this article are useful and important to consider. What I missed was a discussion of the central element of business ethics: the foundations of ethical decision making. I believe that any discussion of business ethics should deal explicitly with the bases for deciding good/bad, right/wrong, and invoke rational justification for supporting such decisions. In the Western philosophical tradition, the major frameworks are virtue ethics, deontology, and utilitarianism. Discussing these frameworks and other bases for ethical reasoning and demonstrating how they may be applied separately or in concert to guide ethical decision making in businesses would add significant value.
--Keith Gillette, 03-01-2010

--Rose Vrhovac, 03-24-2008

Great article - I would like to see more specifics on the links between ethics and profits. I am not sure of how trustworthy hearsay and surveys are. If there are any statistics on the link I would like to see them - - - So I can use them.
--Brian Robinson, 03-24-2008

A more practical approach would have added value, not only presenting theory. The key decision process was good, but again it was very shallow and needed some practical examples.
--Mike, 03-19-2008

--Andr�� CAMBIER, 03-08-2008

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