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Defining Business Ethics and Reputation

Business Ethics and Reputation has a strong complex connection which resembles that a company needs a complete pattern of ethical behaviour to establish a good reputation in the market. Business Ethics and reputation building are essential from a corporate perspective which connects the brand with its stakeholders and builds a relationship to gain sustainability and create an environment of long-term commitment (Mella and Gazzola, 2015). The effect of corporate responsibilities on the reputation and company’s public image is very much effective in the real business world. Companies in this current era have an insight of not only earning profit but also providing value to the stakeholders for establishing a reputation at the global level (Chun et al., 2019). The following essay will critically analyse the relationship between Business ethics and Business reputation. The essay will justify the point through various examples of companies building a reputation through ethical behaviour.

According to Bowie (2020), business ethics defines the standards of right and wrong conduct in business. Corporations are including ethics as a part of their mission to promote integrity among the employees and to gain trust from the key stakeholders such as consumers and investors. On the other hand, according to the 2018 Global business Ethics survey the impact of organisation business ethics followings and standards has impacted the ethical reasoning of the employees. Business ethics and culture helps to motivate the employees in taking proper decisions in ethical situations and also provide transparency of information about the mission and vision of companies in the eyes of the other stakeholders. Business Ethics and corporate responsibility has been expanding to a different level where companies are also focusing on ESG levels ( Environmental, Social, Governance) to create an impact on the global environment (Lin et al., 2016). Customers' expectation is gradually increasing from brands apart from service and investors are also investing funds in companies with strong ESG performance. The top management and the board of directors are learning and adapting new techniques and strategies to manage ESG risks lurking in their business culture. Business ethics are the strong touchpoints that the company follow to create a meaningful impact on their key stakeholders but in the current generation Companies are covering more vast dimensions in bringing new ideas to protect and promote programs for future benefits of societal change including the safeguarding of the environment for future generations and reducing carbon footprint to make sustainable development (Shaw, 2016). For example, Microsoft has always been known for promoting good ethical culture through its products and service. Their consistency in bringing change in the technological environment through innovation and development has helped both employees and businesses to enhance their operations (Reptrak, 2022).  Ethics also combines the decisions taken by the businesses even the following issue has provided profit to the company (Parboteeah and Cullen, 2018). Building reputation is not covered in a single but a consistent pattern of decisions taken by companies establish its value and position in the world. For example, Netflix has taken a hard decision of removing Kevin Spacey from their hit show providing profit to the company following sexual allegations. This has shown the brand has created a culture of best practices and is not reliable on only profits but the principles are the most important factors (Šontait?-Petkevi?ien?, 2015).

The Impact of Corporate Responsibility on Reputation

According to Silverman ( 2017), business reputation can be defined as the overall quality of the business by maintaining proper ethics and creating sustainable development in decisions and providing a concept of the image the business is having in the general world. Ethics can be followed by the organisation with proper rules and standards but maintaining the ethics standards can create a reputation for the brand (Medeiros, 2019). Companies on building reputation are not only focusing on Ethical standards to the key stakeholders but also helping the environment and government to establish a system to create value to the society (McPherson, 2022). The companies are preferring reputation by enhancing the brand relevance for example Estee Lauder Companies have enriched the outreach of customers through influencers to get connected with consumers and increased its brand experience by 8 points and profits increased by $4 billion. Some companies are creating brand reputation following ethics of sustaining the future environment for example Carlsberg has increased its reputation points by committing to become completely carbon neutral by 2030 and also eliminated plastic rings on cans (Reptrak, 2022).

Further analysing the relationship between business ethics and business reputation is very complex. Business ethics and maintaining business reputation depend upon leadership also. For example, Uber in 2017 has got a huge drawback in maintaining its reputation due to toxic environment and scandals. The company has to build its ethics by creating a global reputation therefore new CEO was appointed known as Dara Khosrowshahi. The new CEO first builds the ethics of the company through a proper workplace environment and positive culture automatically bringing a reputation for the company. thus, ethics and reputation are revolving hand in hand to create brand loyalty and value. According to Piero ( 2015), reputation and ethics are two important aspects of organisations. Ethics provide greater attention to the stakeholders' expectations by creating concepts of moral and ethical behaviour but also providing value to the external environment not directly linked with the company. whereas on the other hand reputation stands for representation of the organisation’s past and prospects and creating a perception of appeal to all the key constituents when compared with the company’s other rivals. The main important stakeholders that can affect a brand's reputation are customers and employees (Aksak, Ferguson and Duman, 2016). Ethics of protecting the confidentiality of the clients and providing safeguard of their data through the portal is what Facebook promised to its stakeholders and gained trust and reputation. The company has faced the biggest decline in its reputation in history by not maintaining the ethics and standards promised to its consumers by sharing and leaking data to the Cambridge Analytica crisis. Whether it’s true information or a conspiracy the brand has lost its reputation marks in the market. Facebook governance shortcomings have proposed a decline of a reputation for the brand. Sometimes building strong ethics and behaviour also create a reputation lack for the companies. Companies should consider building their reputation in their market through constant brand building and analysing every fact that can cause harm to the image of the brand should be identified (Leiva, Ferrero and Calderón, 2016).

Expanding Dimensions of Business Ethics and Corporate Responsibility

In recent years energy sectors have created a global name by taking progressive stances in bringing sustainable climate change. The companies are constantly trying to provide value to the environment by crafting new projects to align their actions in protecting the environment. Companies are also focusing on providing support to women employees as a part of ethical behaviour through providing a better workplace and safe environment to build their reputations among employees. (Alwi, Ali and Nguyen, 2017). Stakeholders in this generation are judging companies' ethical business through the messages and prospect the companies are going to bring to the table. Long-term sustainability is an important factor for the brands to inbuilt reputation through positive communications and planning of morals and behaviours (Melé, 2019). A company’s behaviour is only going to impact its reputation if a mass audience found the behaviour unethical. Some brands maintained their reputation by creating fair competitive practices. Certain measures need to be considered before describing the facts of reputation and ethical business. First creating a system that can affect other brand businesses is a fair practice of surviving in the market and will not harm the reputation of the company. further evaluating brands are adopting new ideas to create a culture that will not harm the consumers (Moriarty, 2019). For example, Coca-Cola has launched products for people suffering from diabetes to earn profit and at the same time look after the opportunity to create a meaningful value for the consumers. Ethical values and behaviours with proper implementation of the information provided to stakeholders and providing consistent messages to audiences can create a reputation for the company and will also help in generating profits and more clients will be attached to be a part of the business. Business ethics and reputation are critical factors for the companies in surviving in this dynamic and interconnected world of business, where the companies have to consider every consequence and opportunity before taking any decisions making both political and economic choices for the welfare of stakeholders and the environment (Fatma, Rahman and Khan, 2015).

Conclusion

Business Ethics and corporate responsibility have been an important part to discuss for all the companies as for stakeholders it is very much important to know the true value the brand is going to provide. Apart from stakeholders taking major steps in bringing change in climate and following sustainability measures in ethical business has also been implemented by brands as a part of responsibilities to create a reputation for profitability and gaining loyalty. Diversification is very much necessary by the companies in performing ethical tasks to gain competitive advantage and at the same time creating a plan for achieving the long-term goal for the companies. Companies should keep changing their ethics to create more value for the audience which can help brands to sustain their reputation in the global market.

References 

Aksak, E.O., Ferguson, M.A. and Duman, S.A., 2016. Corporate social responsibility and CSR fit as predictors of corporate reputation: A global perspective. Public Relations Review, 42(1), pp.79-81.

Alwi, S.F.S., Ali, S.M. and Nguyen, B., 2017. The importance of ethics in branding: Mediating effects of ethical branding on company reputation and brand loyalty. Business Ethics Quarterly, 27(3), pp.393-422.

Bowie, N.E., 2013. Business ethics in the 21st century. Springer.

Chun, R., Argandoña, A., Choirat, C. and Siegel, D.S., 2019. Corporate reputation: Being good and looking good. Business & Society, 58(6), pp.1132-1142.

Fatma, M., Rahman, Z. and Khan, I., 2015. Building company reputation and brand equity through CSR: the mediating role of trust. International Journal of Bank Marketing.

Leiva, R., Ferrero, I. and Calderón, R., 2016. Corporate reputation in the business ethics field: Its relation with corporate identity, corporate image, and corporate social responsibility. Corporate Reputation Review, 19(4), pp.299-315.

Lin, H., Zeng, S., Wang, L., Zou, H. and Ma, H., 2016. How does environmental irresponsibility impair corporate reputation? A multi?method investigation. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 23(6), pp.413-423.

McPherson, S., 2022. Corporate Responsibility: What To Expect In 2019. [online] Forbes. Available at: <https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanmcpherson/2019/01/14/corporate-responsibility-what-to-expect-in-2019/?sh=5eb1ed0a690f> [Accessed 15 March 2022].

Medeiros, B., 2019. Evaluating the reputation management industry through the lens of public relations ethics. Journal of Media Ethics, 34(3), pp.160-170.

Melé, D., 2019. Business Ethics in Action: Managing Human Excellence in Organizations. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Mella, P. and Gazzola, P., 2015. Ethics builds reputation. International Journal of Markets and Business Systems, 1(1), pp.38-52.

Moriarty, J., 2019. Business ethics. Oxford University Press.

Parboteeah, K.P. and Cullen, J.B., 2018. Business ethics. Routledge.

Reptrak, 2022. Corporate Reputation Management | RepTrak. [online] Reptrak.com. Available at: <https://www.reptrak.com/> [Accessed 15 March 2022].

Shaw, W.H., 2016. Business ethics: A textbook with cases. Cengage Learning.

Šontait?-Petkevi?ien?, M., 2015. CSR reasons, practices and impact to corporate reputation. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 213, pp.503-508.

Vadastreanu, A.M., Maier, D. and Maier, A., 2015. Is the success possible in compliance with ethics and deontology in business?. Procedia Economics and Finance, 26, pp.1068-1073.

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