Ethical perspectives 1NORTHCENTRAL UNIVERSITYASSIGNMENT COVER SHEETLearner:MGT7019 Stephanie LyncheskiEthics in Business Assignment 1 Paper- Ethical perspectives: Friedman vs. Drucker, MurphyFaculty Use Only<Faculty comments here><Faculty Name> <Grade Earned> <Writing Score> <Date Graded>
Ethical perspectives 2Running head: ETHICAL PERSPECTIVES Assignment 1 - Ethical Perspectives Friedman vs. Drucker, Murphy Northcentral university MGT7019-8 Ethics in Business 05/20/2012 With no clear definition of what business ethics are, it becomes the responsibility of thebeholder to discern or reach a plausible conclusion of what constitutes ethical behavior. When
Ethical perspectives 3looking at business ethics from a global perspective the water only gets muddier. Studies andperspectives on the subject provide no clear definition and when western and eastern socialvalues are added in the mix, the gap between doing what is ethical and doing what is rightstretches the abyss even further. Doing what is right for the organization and breaking the lawdoes not warrant unethical behavior but at the same time having a responsibility to society and tothose that could inadvertently effected by not committing an unethical act. An example of thiswould be paying a bribe to foreign government for a contract that will prevent thousands ofemployees from becoming unemployed. The business broke the law and committed what wouldbe in western culture, unethical behavior even though thousands were able to remain employedbecause of the action. Perhaps business ethics in America suffer from western morality whichdoes not now or has ever been one shoe fit all. In Drucker’s written perspective entitled, “Whatis Business Ethics?” the author writes as to how ethics in its purest form is based on individualbehavior and as such that which applies to the humble and the poor should also apply to the richand powerful (Drucker, 1981). Drucker goes on to state that the opinions driven by westernmoralist that extenuating and aggravating circumstances which brought on the unethical behavioris questionable. Drucker states that before there can be reasoning of why the unethical behaviortook place, there has to be an offense and if the rules for ethical behavior apply to everyone, thanthe crime of theft is theft and murder is murder and that the rules of ethical behavior must applyto everyone less the rich and powerful become exempt. Drucker further states that thefundamental rule that states that individual ethical behavior applies to all persons is notapplicable in business ethics(Drucker, p.3). Some unethical behavior that is considereddeplorable in a moral society could be considered acceptable under certain extenuating andaggravating circumstances such as paying a bribe to win a huge contract that will allow
Ethical perspectives 4thousands to remain employed. This would be an example of a Juniper of commerce falling onhis sword for the good of society. The end result doesn’t take away from the unethical behaviorbut the act may have been warranted for the better good. It could be stated that that the unethicalthing would have been to allow thousands to become unemployed and to allow the business tosuffer. Turning slightly askew, we can get another perspective on business ethics by readingMilton Friedman’s dogmaentitled; “The SocialResponsibilities of Business to increase itsProfits.”The 1970 article published in the New York Times Magazine (Milton, 1970), reads likeda social manifesto on how the individuals that run corporations have the moral obligation toensure that the businesses they lead do the right thing for society, the environment andthe goodof their fellow man. The article is a personal perspective and is just the opinion of the writer.Because the writing needs no validity, the author is free to write and publish his thoughts andstate his opinions but unlike Drucker’s scholarly written article, this article reads like theramblings of a first year college freshman hooked on phonics. Milton takes nothing intoconsideration except that the only ethical thing to do is to use the corporation’s ill gotten wealthto improve the status of the sick, the lame and the lazy and spend more than they have to oncleaning and protecting the environment. This can all be done according to Milton, if businesseswould just pay their fair share of the tax burden. According to Milton it is up to the board ofdirectors and the share holders of the company to ensure that the right person with the rightagenda is placed at the head of corporate table to ensure that enough of the company’s profits areput back into the government coffers which will ensure that the needs of society are met. No business can be held accountable for unethical behavior since no entity has the poweror the will for decision making. The responsibility for ethical conduct falls to individuals. Ethics
Ethical perspectives 5are a product of society’s norms that help us distinguish between what is acceptable andunacceptable behavior.One solution might be to look for guidance from within a corporate policythat can help to determine who isresponsibility for accountability. For this to happen corporateresponsibility must be bestowed upon someone or something. Patrick Murphy states that threethings must first be stated for this type of responsibility to be anchored securely in place.Firmlystate who is responsible for accountability, identify the stake holders for whom it is responsibleand lastly, what it is the corporation is responsible for (Murphy, 2008, p. 246). With the first twothings in place, the individual who speaks for the stakeholders is identified. The third part is broader andthe responsibility of the corporation may fall to many areas that the individual identified as responsiblemay have to address such as moral, ethical social and environmental concerns (Murphy, 2008). Ethics in business is a highly debated subject and in a free market economy where what is ethicaland unethical can quickly become blurred; the need for more studies and empirical research on the subjectwill need to done. Ethical behavior in business is subjective at best and when mixed with extenuatingcircumstances, doing what is right for the organization, individual survival instincts and culturaldifferences, what is ethical and what is unethical becomes more of moral dilemma left up to the individualresponsible for accountability.
Ethical perspectives 6 ReferencesDrucker, P. (1981). What is business ethics? Public Interest, 63, 18-36. http://www.nationalaffairs.com/doclib/20080708_1981632whatisbusinessethicspeterfdru cker.pdf Online PeriodicaFriedman, M. (1970, September 13). The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits. The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved May 19, 2012, from http://www.ethicsinbusiness.net/case-studies/the-social-responsibility-of-business-is-to- increase-its-profits/Murphy, P. E. (2009). The relevance of responsibility to ethical business decisions. Journal of Business Ethics, 90, 245-252. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0378-4