‘Ethics In Business Are An Optional Extra!’

Introduction

Sherwin (1983, p428) argues that “ethics is generally referred to as the set of moral principles or values that guide behaviour” and according to Carrigan et al (2004, p403) “ethical consumption is the conscious and deliberate choice to make certain consumption choices due to personal and moral beliefs.” With the above defined, it leads to the question how important is corporate ethical behaviour in today’s world? Through analyzing ethical factors that affect firms and evaluating whether or not Ethics in business are or aren’t an optional extra in firms, I hope to be able to provide a clear and accurate conclusion.

How can a firm become Ethical?

”Ethics is about: norms; values; rights and responsibilities; sharing; fairness; obligation and exchange.” (Naylor 1999) this suggests that there are many aspects in which a company could become ethical. The most commonly recognized ethical practice is fair pay. When the media discovered in 2007 that Asian workers that worked for Topshop were working up to 12 hour days six days a week for only £5 a day, Owner Sir Phillip Green had to release an immediate statement in order to provide the public with his explanation in which he suggested that he was unaware of these conditions and was to monitor the conditions of these factories (Newell et al 2007) the instant release of a statement occurred in order to limited the damage that could face firm such as a loss of sales and market share due to a damaged reputation. With this in mind, by paying workers a fair rate their reputation could well be saved and legal costs avoided. Another way in which a firm can be ethical is by focusing on discrimination. For example, not employing a worker on the basis of race, sexuality or disabilities.

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