Business Ethics And Behavior Commerce Essay

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Business ethics is the behavior that a business adheres to in its daily dealings with the world. The ethics of a particular business can be diverse. They apply not only to how the business interacts with the world at large, but also to their one-on-one dealings with a single customer.

Many businesses have gained a bad reputation just by being in business. To some people, businesses are interested in making money, and that is the bottom line. Making money is not wrong in itself. It is the manner in which some businesses conduct themselves that brings up the question of ethical behavior.

Good business ethics should be a part of every business. There are many factors to consider. When a company does business with another that is considered unethical, does this make the first company unethical by association? Some people would say yes, the first business has a responsibility and it is now a link in the chain of unethical businesses.

Many global businesses, including most of the major brands that the public use, can be seen not to think too highly of good business ethics. Many major brands have been fined millions for breaking ethical business laws. Money is the major deciding factor.

If a company does not adhere to business ethics and breaks the laws, they usually end up being fined. Many companies have broken anti-trust, ethical and environmental laws and received fines worth millions. The problem is that the amount of money these companies are making outweighs the fines applied. Billion euro profits blind the companies to their lack of business ethics, and the euro sign wins.

A business may be a multi-million seller, but does it use good business ethics and do people care? There are popular soft drinks and fast food restaurants that have been fined time and time again for unethical behavior. Business ethics should eliminate exploitation, from the sweat shop children who are making trainers, to the coffee serving staff that are being ripped off in wages. Business ethics can be applied to everything from the trees cut down to make the paper that a business sells to the ramifications of importing coffee from certain countries.

In the end, it may be up to the public to make sure that a company adheres to correct business ethics. If the company is making large amounts of money, they may not wish to pay too close attention to their ethical behavior. There are many companies that pride themselves in their correct business ethics, but in this competitive world, they are becoming very few and far between. [1] 

Company Accounting

Company accounting is an internal function of a business. It reports financial information to business owners as well as managers. Like many professional accountants, company accountants are bound by ethics to report information accurately and honestly.


Business owners and managers typically rely on accounting information in making decisions. Accountants who act unethically and report inaccurate or irrelevant information can distort the decision process. They can also lose the trust of business owners and managers.


A large part of accounting is allocating business costs to the goods and services a company produces. Accountants who fail to allocate all costs in an effort to make production processes look better may cause the company to lose money. Revenue is lost because companies price goods and services according to their cost to the business.


Companies can face legal repercussions from unethical accounting practices. Many companies undergo financial audits, which can discover inappropriate accounting methods. Business owners unaware of unethical acts from their accountants may be subject to fines or penalties from government agencies. [2] 

Project Evaluation and Management

When it comes to project management, ethics are extremely important in gaining the support of the project team. Ethics are defined as the moral values, beliefs, and rules that one upholds in their life on the job and personally to ensure right from wrong

There are a number of different components of managing a project. While conducting project management, profit and staff motivation are often paramount. However, a project manager must also remember his obligation to be an ethical, responsible employer, employee and corporate citizen. Some of the ethical situations that one may face in the duration of project management could be the admission of wrongdoing, focus of blame, and hard choices regarding contracts

Sometimes it is difficult for people to admit that they have done something wrong. This is especially true for a project manager, who may be responsible for a large project and for overseeing a staff. However, ethically, if the project manager is at fault for the unsuccessful venture of project completion, then that project manager must be able to admit this wrong. Not admitting wrongdoing can greatly damage the team relationship. The unethical practice will also most likely cause the team members you are in charge of to not trust the manager as well.

When a project fails, it is so much easier to point the fingers at this person or that person. However, ethically, no person should be singled out for project failure unless it is the project manager. In the end, he or she is the one assigned the ultimate task of ensuring the project is completed. However, there is no "I" in team. Although the project manager is in charge of ensuring the task gets completed, sometimes a task can fail despite the project manager's best efforts. In these cases of project incompletion or failure, it should be said that the team failed. This is the most ethical outcome in this sense because it points the blame for failure on the team as a whole instead of just one or two people. Therefore, in a nutshell, it is ethically wrong to blame failure to complete a project on any one person. [3] 

Supplier Selection

Until only a few years ago, the issue of ethics within the supply chain was one that was seen as being of importance to charities and voluntary organisations, who were keen to show that they only sourced supplies from companies that had high codes of ethics.  Yet these days, it seems as if companies are falling over themselves to declare that they can supply items and components that are produced in an environment that is very ethically sound.  So what happened and why are ethics seen as important in the supply chain; isn't it more important to simply source the cheapest suppliers and to hell with the ethics?

Well the change in terms of how ethics is viewed, is not just because we are all suddenly much more ethical than before.  There are sound business arguments for checking the ethical standards of suppliers and asking questions about their ethics.

The Environment

Like it or not, or even agree with some of the theories or not, the environment is a hot topic.  Companies are now being forced to cut their carbon footprint and reduce their emissions.  Companies that simply ignore the demands that the Government is making in terms of 'going green' will find that they are no longer able to sell all their products, we are in a situation where companies really do have to strive to be 'carbon neutral' and ethically, being environmentally aware is pretty high up in terms of ticking the boxes and showing a responsible attitude.

Historically in the UK and Ireland, large supermarkets were anything but 'green', with carrier bags used in abundance and no clear information about policies regarding where products were sourced.  Now some of the larger players, including Tesco and M&S are very keen to be regarded as environmentally aware and they care about the ethics involved in the supply chain.  In turn this has a knock on effect on other businesses, all of whom are vying with each other to be seen as being 'sound'.

The Labour Used

Every few years or so a scandal used to emerge, where child labour in certain countries was found to be the labour used to make merchandise for the World Cup, or anti-poverty bracelets, or clothes for expensive UK brands.  The embarrassment caused by these scandals could be enough to seriously damage a company's reputation.

Then the internet brought the ability to source information very quickly, so that there is always a risk of an internet storm, if companies are portrayed as being exploitative or using child labour.

So companies started to realise that the only way to avoid these types of scandals, was to use companies who could show that the labour involved received a fair day's pay, for a fair day's work.

Ethical Issues In Context

Ethical issues, especially those relating to the environment are important, even for no other reason than ensuring sustainability criteria are met.  But ethical issues are generally a factor, and consideration, they cannot generally be viewed as being the most important criteria for selecting suppliers, unless the company is marketing itself on the principles of high ethical standards.

The concept of business and ethics resting together is something that is achievable, because the two are not mutually exclusive.  It is also good to have some indication of the ethics and governance of suppliers, but the role of ethics needs to be seen as important, but not the most critical criterion for selecting suppliers. [4] 


A host of questions remain concerning business ethics. Remaining questions include:

Are strong ethics necessary for a successful business?

Does slightly unethical behavior really hurt business?

Can ethics be taught?

I don't believe we will ever have a world that has honest and decent ethics in all walks of life and business, and it's mainly down to the fact of earlier, that so much money is made by the bigger companies, that they can well afford to outlay huge sums on fines and penalties and still make a profit. So if they can do this then what is the point.

You will always have the honest people in the world too, who live their life and run their company as best they can, and that's fair enough. But they are a minority.

Until it is policed properly, and companies that continually break the rules are punished in a greater way, you will always have dishonest multi-national organisations.