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Lesson 17: Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility


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The goal of this lesson is to provide an overview of business ethics and corporate social responsibility. It defines both topics, then provides examples of how ethical decisions can impact the way a business interacts with its various constituencies. The lesson provides the case for and against corporate social responsibility, the complexities of business ethics, and how cultural standards change what is considered ethical for a business.

The Novus project is a combination of video tutorials designed to be used in conjunction with a free business simulation software program. The Novus Business and IT Program contains 36 business and IT training videos, covering basic finance, accounting, marketing, economics, business strategy, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Users will have an opportunity to apply the lessons in the Novus Business Simulator. Over six rounds, the user or teams will have to make decisions on capital purchases, financing, production, financing, and human resources for a microbrewery. This channel has arranged the 36 video lessons into the order in which they are meant to be used with the simulator. To watch this slideshow as a video, please go to our Vimeo page at: To download our free business simulation software, please go to our SourceForge page at:

Published in: Business, Economy & Finance
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Lesson 17: Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

  1. 1. Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility Objective: To understand the field of study called business ethics, how it varies, and its helpfulness to businessesNovus Business and IT Training Program
  2. 2. IntroductionEthics: What is the correct thing to do?Novus Business and IT Training Program 1
  3. 3. What is Business Ethics?• Decisions a business makes between right and wrong – Includes actions of employees and organizations• Reflects the philosophy of business• Corporate social responsibility: businesses act as responsible citizens in their communitiesNovus Business and IT Training Program 2
  4. 4. History of Business Ethics• Relatively new field of study• Has not spread equally around the world• Ethics change over timeNovus Business and IT Training Program 3
  5. 5. Examples of Ethics in Business• Accounting: misrepresenting the truth• Human Resources: hiring relatives• Marketing: selling unhealthy products to youth• IT: using illegal copies of softwareNovus Business and IT Training Program 4
  6. 6. International Views & Ethics• Ethics is interpreted differently around the world – Bribes – Minimum working age – Safe workplaces – Copyright protection – Nepotism• Religion also plays a big role in shaping ethicsNovus Business and IT Training Program 5
  7. 7. Corporate Social Responsibility• Popular way for businesses to address ethics• Goal is a positive impact on people and things a business works with• Several ways to be socially responsible: – Philanthropy – Responsible business model – Create shared valueNovus Business and IT Training Program 6
  8. 8. Benefits of Corporate Social Responsibility• Human Resources – attractive to potential hires• Risk Management – keeps customers happy• Unique Brand – stand out from the crowd• New Customers – reach new people with your products by helping themNovus Business and IT Training Program 7
  9. 9. Arguments Against Corporate Social Responsibility• Benefits are hard to measure• Does not have a big impact on success• How genuine are companies’ efforts?Novus Business and IT Training Program 8
  10. 10. Negative Impact of Unethical Behavior• Unethical actions hurt many to benefit a few• Examples – Media company: unfair competition – Airline: poor treatment of others – Gold mining company: destroys homes and environmentNovus Business and IT Training Program 9
  11. 11. The Role of Trust in Ethics• Trust can promote ethics• Important with customers AND employees• Transparency creates trustNovus Business and IT Training Program 10
  12. 12. The Gray Area• Ethics is very complicated• Sometimes right and wrong aren’t clear• Ethics depends on our idea of business• We must try our best to behave ethically• Competition should never compromise ethicsNovus Business and IT Training Program 11
  13. 13. Summary• Business ethics is a new but popular field• The study of right and wrong in business• Ethics change with time and culture• There are benefits for ethical behavior, but not necessarily added success for a company• Society suffers when businesses act unethically• Difficult to know sometimes what is rightNovus Business and IT Training Program 12