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Article 1: Ethics of Business in Modern Times

The following annotated bibliography is designed to highlight the importance and implications of business ethics in an organization. The study will analyse the role of business ethics in making firm judgment at business places. The ethical areas will be identified which adversely affect the businesses. This annotated bibliography is explained through three articles written by different authors in context of business ethics. The first article relates the concept of business ethics to the determination of both right and wrong conduct. The article will deal with the issues of moral principles that individuals generally face at their workplaces. The author will attempt to explain the ethics on the fundamental ground rules by which individuals live their lives (Buff, & Yonkers, 2005). Since the first article is not an empirical research, the author will gather the data from secondary sources such as researches conducted by others. Further, the author will make use of several examples and practical cases in order to demonstrate that whether the organizations have become socially responsible today or not. For example, through the case of Stride Rite, a shoe company of USA, the article will show that the how the company has incorporated corporate social responsibility practices in its daily operations and won 14 social responsibility awards in recent years.

The second article deals with the Impact of CFOs’ incentives and earnings management ethics on their financial reporting decisions. The author attempts to demonstrate the mediating role of moral disengagement tendencies in personal financial incentives and accounting profession. Moreover the article will also provide an insight into the practices and measures to reduce or eliminate the dysfunctional effects of earning management. The author will conduct different experiments in order to determine the dependencies of two independent variables on CFO’ unrestricted outstanding expenditure (Everett et al., 2005). These two independent variables are incentive conflict, and CFO’s earning management ethics. An effective analysis will be made by the author to know the degree of manipulation of financial incentive conflicts. Also, the article will discuss the theoretical as well as practical implications of the findings made by the author. In this view, the author will also use previous research data for arriving at reliable and valid conclusions.

The third article will address the ethical issues in context of relationship marketing, and provides ways to overcome them.  The article will deal with the ethical basis for relationship marketing, using it as a virtue ethics perspective. The author here will use a conceptual approach to provide a background on relationship marketing from both American and European perceptions. Moreover, the article will be separated into four sections.  The first part will explore the historical roots of relationship marketing, while the second part will portray both the American and European views on relationship marketing (Cooper et al., 2005). In the third section, the author will represent a model of ethical relationship marketing along with its components. The model will show the relevant theories of virtue, which are important for successful RM. Finally, the last section will derive the implications for marketing managers and researchers.

Article 2: Impact of CFO's Incentives on Financial Reporting Decisions

Analysis of Article 1

Article Summary

Reference

Neimark, M. (1995), "The selling of ethics The ethics of business meets the business of ethics", Accounting,

Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 8 Iss 3 pp. 81 – 96.

Article classification (academic conceptual, academic empirical)

Academic Conceptual

Journal ranking (ABDC quality journal listing)

A

Impact factor

0.87

Aim/Purpose of article

The purpose of this article is to determine whether the academics in business disciplines contribute towards business ethics. It also focuses on identifying the solutions for frequent problems of capitalism arising due to opposing interests. Moreover, the article critically evaluates how business ethics are being created in business schools, consulting firms and corporations.

(If a non-empirical paper) approach of author(s)

In this article, the author has applied integrative evaluation of the empirical research along with fundamental theories based on ethics of business. The predictions have been made regarding the impact of ethical behaviour on business decision-making.

Furthermore, the author visualized the new model of ethics of business in order to certify the tools by which numerous aspects such as globalization for systemic survival of the organizations are affected.

(If an empirical paper) research methodology employed (qual, quant, mixed methods); sampling strategy and sample size employed; context of study eg location, industry; method of data collection methods employed; method of analysis employed.

This is not an empirical article

(If an empirical paper) research findings and conclusions drawn by researchers

This is not an empirical article

Conclusions drawn by authors

Finally, the author concluded that the application of business ethics in an institution makes it socially responsible. It improves the satisfaction level of all the stakeholders of a company and thus, helps in generating constant profits in the long-run. She also concluded that business ethics let the management to strike a balance between personal as well as community interests. The official disclosure of the business operations helps individual workers in negotiating conflicts and makes them understand that the issues experienced by them are an essential component of the society, which needs to be resolved by individuals with their honest behaviours.

Critical Insight

Significance

Significance of the article in relation to the topic generally, other articles in the literature, other articles in this bibliography assignment etc.

The significance of this article is that it highlighted the importance of ethics in today’s modernized business era. The article suggests that in order to become successful, the basic need for the businesses is to build a strong foundation of integrity and objectivity on a strong base of ethics Prem (Sikka, 2013). Also, the significance of this article can also be identified by the critical analysis made by the author in context of ethics of business and associated classical and neo-classical theories. These theories stated that up to what extent the conduct of business and individuals affects the transparency and biasness.

Moreover, the article determines the degree of effectiveness by which the ethical system works in an organization and how the top-level ethics officers respond to the complaints and ethical dilemmas confronted by the employees (Edward Wray-Bliss, 2012). The author stated that formulation of policies or decisions are sometimes placed against the fair judgement, in case of opposing roles. The relevance of ethics can be seen in all aspects of life, such as in families, religious institutions, and schools. It enables to take sound judgment by enhancing the positive effects and reducing the worse effects on those who are directly or indirectly affected by the judgment. However, in the crisis of 1980s, the formal communication of ethics of business had established no link between capital accumulation system and offenders. Thus, the attitudes of these offenders were likely to damage the whole system (Keith Hooper Department of Accounting, 2012). The article also identified that in many cases the government is responsible for overregulation, or ineffective regulation, causing scandals.

Strengths

Personal evaluation required rather than simply repeating any author’s suggestions.

This article shows a broad level of concern of the author towards the selling of business ethics in modern dynamic businesses. The main strength of the article is that it contains relevant and valid findings regarding the practical application of ethics in organizations.

The author strongly contrasted the official disclosure on ethics using socially informed and potentially alternative approach to the business ethics. In addition to this, a lot of references have been used by the author, which enhances the credibility of the content.

Weaknesses

Personal evaluation required rather than simply repeating any author’s suggestions.

The article does not comprehensively include the importance of social, environmental, and sustainability reporting in organizations. A major focus has been made only on the reliability of information provided in the article by using theoretical foundation, but the author failed to incorporate the recommendations to overcome the problem.

Moreover, most of the cases taken in the article as evidences are not the recent ones. It makes it difficult for the readers to apply the concept perfectly in real life situations and to appreciate the overall content.

Limitations

Personal evaluation required rather than simply repeating any author’s suggestions.

This article is affected by the availability of time and resources which make it difficult for the researcher to derive valid outcomes. Since the article is not based on empirical research, it does not provide a comprehensive analysis of real-life experiences of the author. Use of a lot of references indicates the inability of the author to analyse the information on the basis of her own perceptions.

 Analysis of Second Article

Article Summary

Reference

Beaudoin, C.A. , Cianci, A.M. and

Tsakumis, G.T.  (2015) ‘The Impact of CFOs’ Incentives and Earnings Management Ethics on their Financial Reporting Decisions: The Mediating Role of Moral Disengagement’, Journal of Business Ethics, 128, pp. 505–518.

Article classification (academic conceptual, academic empirical)

Academic conceptual

Journal ranking (ABDC quality journal listing)

A

Impact factor

7.66

Aim/Purpose of article

The aim of this article was to develop insight into practice of aggressive financial reporting and earnings management in spite of restring regulatory improvement in this disquiet area that extends focus of practitioners, regulators, and standard setters to think about mitigating this unprofessional and unethical conduct. The article is based on survey conducted to examine the impact of two independent variables viz. incentive conflict and earnings management ethics on dependent variable factor as CFOs’ discretionary expense accumulations. This article explains theoretical and practical implication of the survey analysis.

(If a non-empirical paper) approach of author(s)

This is not an non-empirical article

(If an empirical paper) research methodology employed (qual, quant, mixed methods); sampling strategy and sample size employed; context of study eg location, industry; method of data collection methods employed; method of analysis employed.

This article predicts analysis based on mixed research methodology for conducting research that involves collecting, analysing and integrating survey of 83 experienced survey participants’ i.e. financial officers with the title of CFO or equivalent an average of 28.53 years of professional work experience and played a key role in the financial reporting decisions of their companies. Out of 83 survey participants, 65 % have current or prior experience working at publicly traded companies, whereas 74 % have past experience of working as external auditors. Participants were provided with case materials containing company background information, a schedule of unbilled consulting and advisory projects that are in process, the task objective, and post-experimental questionnaire. Survey contributor were informed to assume that they are the controller of a public company and asked to explain their decision making process in adjustment of accrual expenses for a year closing for which no billing has yet been done.

(If an empirical paper) research findings and conclusions drawn by researchers

The research findings were based on manipulation check and hypothesis testing. Hypotheses 1 and 2 are tested in which incentive conflict, EM-Ethics and their interaction served as the independent variables and CFOs’ rank transformation of the expense accrual amount for unbilled consulting and advisory services is the dependent variable. While, Hypothesis 3 is tested by using the mediated-moderation procedures recommended by Muller et al. (2005). Hypothesis 1 predicted that CFOs records larger discretionary expense accruals in the presence of a personal financial incentive and vice-versa CFOs records smaller discretionary expense accruals in the absence of a personal financial incentive that conflicts with a corporate financial incentive. Hypothesis 2 predicted that CFOs with low EM-Ethics records larger (smaller) discretionary expense accruals as compared to those with high EM-Ethics. Hypothesis 2 tested upon the notion that a CFOs ’EM-Ethics level significantly influences their tendencies to morally disengage and give into incentives.

Conclusions drawn by authors

The author concluded that the interactive effect of EM-Ethics and incentives on earnings management works through moral disengagement. Author also stated that the influence of personal financial incentive and a corporate financial incentive diminishes for high EM-Ethics CFOs and emphasised CFO’s ethical predisposition toward earnings management constrains earnings management behavior. The author also approached to the conclusion that overall moderation (Incentive Conflict) of CEOs independent variable (EM-Ethics) is being partially accounted for by his mediator (moral disengagement). Both incentives and ethical perceptions of earnings management play important roles in modelling CFOs’ willingness to engage in earnings management behavior. Author also suggested to experienced financial officers who see earnings management is relatively more ethical that manage earnings either in response to personal financial incentives

or corporate financial incentives.

Critical Insight

Significance

Significance of the article in relation to the topic generally, other articles in the literature, other articles in this bibliography assignment etc

The topic of the article signifies the vital need to explore ethical ways to mitigate the looming unprofessional and unethical conduct of aggressive financial reporting and earnings management (Elias, 2002). Through actions and policies, ethical culture and climate within an organization can be shaped by executives who plays role in the financial reporting decisions of their companies. These executives, in turn, may act as role models for employees to emulate their behavior, especially if such behavior is the social norm and been rewarded in the past (Mayer et al. 2009). Not only Incentives direct behavior of the individual (Ghosh and Olsen, 2009) but incentives designed to eliminate self-interested earnings management do not eliminate other incentives to manage earnings. Persuasion of personal financial incentive and a corporate financial incentive decreases the quality of ethical CFOs and emphasises CFO’s ethical tendency toward earnings management behavior.

Strengths

Personal evaluation required rather than simply repeatingany author’s suggestions.

The strength of the article is that it established linkage of moral disengagement on interactive effect of Ethical management and incentives on earnings management which is necessary to be studied to mitigate unprofessional and unethical conduct of aggressive financial reporting and earnings management in spite of restring regulatory improvement

Weaknesses

Personal evaluation required rather than simply repeatingany author’s suggestions.

This article predicts analysis based on mixed research methodology for conducting research while the surveyor has the wider option to utilize alternative efficient methodology like qual, quant methods in order to eliminate the chances of ambiguities and overcome the limitations of the survey. 

Limitations

Personal evaluation required rather than simply repeatingany author’s suggestions.

Article is based on survey analysis which is based on following aspects like information provided to participants was limited to minimize the time necessary to complete the experimental instrument, less-experienced accounting

professionals lead to low external validity and the generalized results.

Analysis of Third Article

Article Summary

Reference

Patrick E. Murphy Gene R. Laczniak Graham Wood, (2007),"An ethical basis for relationship marketing: a virtue ethics perspective", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 41 Iss 1/2 pp. 37 – 57.

Article classification (academic conceptual, academic empirical)

Academic Conceptual

Journal ranking (ABDC quality journal listing)

A*

Impact factor

1.088

Aim/Purpose of article

The article aims to shed light on the essence of ethical foundation in relationship marketing using a virtue ethics approach. The authors focussed on importance of managing customer relations for an organization in order to retain customers for life long. The article further determines several implications for managers and researcher, enabling them to engage in RM effectively.

(If a non-empirical paper) approach of author(s)

The content of this is article is to present the views of authors in context of relationship marketing. The authors proposed three main phases of RM, which are paired with trust, commitment, and diligence. Also, by effectively assessing the cases from USA and European countries, the authors have drawn valid conclusions.

(If an empirical paper) research methodology employed (qual, quant, mixed methods); sampling strategy and sample size employed; context of study eg location, industry; method of data collection methods employed; method of analysis employed.

This is not an empirical article

(If an empirical paper) research findings and conclusions drawn by researchers

This is not an empirical article

Conclusions drawn by authors

In the end, the authors concluded that the concept of relationship marketing has a definable ethical basis in context of creating, sustaining, and strengthening customers’ trust, and confidence. The authors suggest that customer-management relationships should be based on transparency of communication and clear actions. They further concluded that now-a-days, the ethical foundation of RM emerges as an explicit concept in the field of marketing.

Moreover, empathy and trust have been observed as an important model by the authors for the businesses to create customer loyalty and their involvement. However, the term empathy should not be confused with ‘sympathy’. This is because marketers can be empathetic while driving a tough bargain with customers.

Critical Insight

Significance

Significance of the article in relation to the topic generally, other articles in the literature, other articles in this bibliography assignment etc.

The significance of this article is that it discusses different European and American companies that currently perform ethical relationship marketing (Alderson, 1957). The article also points out the gaps between the management practices and actual customers’ demands in a dynamic corporate world. The author has also made uses of over sixty other articles for arriving at reliable conclusions. The theory of virtue and several relevant virtues that are essential within the model have been examined for creating successful relationship marketing.

Further, the article is important because it attempts to link customer relationship with theoretical framework, which makes it useful in analysing deeper historical roots (Anderson, and Narus, 1990). The network and relationship marketing topics are also discovered comprehensively in a volume that contains twenty-six papers written by leading European scholars. It enhances the understanding of the readers and enables them to have an insight into the decision-making process of organizations.

In addition to this, the information gathered by the authors are helpful for future researchers and scholars to make experiments in subareas of RM. The article highlights that commitments in relationship marketing involves promises also which must be kept by the organizations. Another significant aspect emphasized by the authors is that marketers should show their loyalty even in unfavourable situations. Openness and clarity are founded as important components of RM in the article, by using the examples of European (Anderson, and Weitz, 1989) Thus; the article is helpful in conveying a meaningful message to the organizations and assists them in overcoming the RM associated issues.

Strengths

Personal evaluation required rather than simply repeating any author’s suggestions.

The authors have made use of a good amount of literature review which is the strength of the article.

The link between trust and commitment has been very effectively illustrated in the journal, which enhances its strength. The content effectively connects the product branding with customer trust and relationship building. The study carefully tested the concept of brand trust over numerous categories and noted that consumers do in fact develop “relationships with brands”.

Weaknesses

Personal evaluation required rather than simply repeating any author’s suggestions.

Although relationship marketing has been studied effectively by the authors, the ethical basis of it has not been thoroughly examined in the article. Sufficient arguments also have not been included in the article.

Moreover, the whole content is based on the secondary research, which makes it useful only for further research purpose only. No real-life experiences have been shared in the article and the recommendations provided are also limited.  

Limitations

Personal evaluation required rather than simply repeating any author’s suggestions.

One of the major limitations of this article is that the model and its components had not been tested empirically. Only a few strategies for undertaking such research are discussed. This is not an empirical research; therefore personal experiences are not included in the article. Finally, the concept illustrated in this article has been examined only using American and European perspectives.

Conclusion

Based on analysis of the three articles represented by above annotated bibliography, it can be concluded that business ethics play an important role in 21st century dynamic business world. Along with the financial performance of the organizations, the stakeholders are also interested in knowing whether the organizations are fulfilling their corporate social responsibility properly (Vinciguerra, & O’Reilly-Allen, 2004). The first article concludes that the organizational management in the early phase must recognize ethical issues. The arrangement to address these ethical issues is to make in order to help employees in tackling the dilemmas effectively. For this purpose, training and development sessions can also be held by the top level management from time-to-time.

From the analysis of the articles, it can also be reflected that transparency is an integral part of creating and maintaining customer relations in the long-run. From the cases of Europe and America, the author suggested that if an organization does not comply with the ethical standards, it could result in severe scandals, which can spoil the reputation of the business and can force it to close down (Watts, & Zimmerman, 1986). This is because the public does not see these organizations as prestigious and consider them as socially irresponsible due to which such organizations are thrown out of the industry easily.  The authors recommended that organizations be required to include the term ‘transparency’ in their vocabulary to ensure that nothing is hidden from the stakeholders.

The study revealed the strong urge of finding ways to eradicate immoral and unethical code of conduct pertaining to aggressive financial reporting and earnings management by the top-level managerial authorities. Regulatory authorities have to re-evaluate there persisting policy concerning abolishment of this non-ethical practice, which is deliberately nurtured by general corporate culture.  Improvement in this concern vicinity will provide convenience to practitioners, regulators and standard setters in promoting ethical ways of financial reporting disclosers to public.

Furthermore, in conclusion, it can also be stated that the regulatory reforms in many organizations sometimes restricts the scope of aggressive financial reporting, and earning management (Xion et al., 2010). It is been observed that the generally accepted opinions on morality and business cannot be mixed because business is a sort of game played with diverse set of rules. In today’s business arena, the immoral attitudes of the top as well as lower management and employees can prove to be disastrous in the progress of the organizations. Overall the report is quite helpful to learning or getting knowledge of the assessment of different aspects of a journal article such as ABCD quality journal ranking Impact rating analysis etc. On basis of these factors, the quality of an article chosen for study can be evaluated. These kinds of ranking in selection process of article related to a research topic or managerial concept helps to assure generation of quality of knowledge and information. The study of strengths and weaknesses of an article enables the reader to grave high level of knowledge and information for developing sound knowledge base about any fact.

References

Alderson, W. (1957), Marketing Behavior and Executive Action: A Functionalist Approach to Marketing Theory, Irwin, Homewood, IL.

Anderson, J.C. and Narus, J.A. (1990), “A model of distributor firm and manufacturer firm working partnerships”, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 54 No. 1, pp. 42-58.

Anderson, J.C. and Weitz, B. (1989), “Determinants of continuity in conventional industrial channel dyads”, Marketing Science, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 310-23.

Cheryl L. Buff, Virginia Yonkers. (2005). Using Student Generated Codes of Conduct in the Classroom to Reinforce Business Ethics Education. Journal of Business Ethics 61:2, 101-110. [CrossRef]

David J. Cooper, Jeff Everett, Dean Neu. (2005). Financial scandals, accounting change and the role of accounting academics: A perspective from North America. European Accounting Review 14:2, 373-382. [CrossRef]

Edward Wray-Bliss. (2012) Leadership and the deified/demonic: a cultural examination of CEO sanctification. Business Ethics: A European Review 21:4, 434-449. [CrossRef]

Elias, R. (2002) ‘Determinants of earnings management ethics among accountants’ Journal of Business Ethics, 40(1), pp. 35-45.

Ghosh, D., & Olsen, L. (2009) ‘Environmental uncertainty and managers use of discretionary accruals’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34, pp. 188–205.

Jeffery Everett, Duncan Green, Dean Neu. (2005). Independence, objectivity and the Canadian CA profession. Critical Perspectives on Accounting 16:4, 415-440. [CrossRef]

Keith HooperDepartment of Accounting, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand Gina XuDepartment of Accounting, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand. (2012) From legitimacy by character to legitimacy by image. Managerial Auditing Journal 27:8, 754-773. [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

Mayer, D. M., Kuenzi, M., Greenbaum, R., Bardes, M. and Salvador, R. (2009) ‘How low does ethical leadership flow? Test of a trickle-down model’, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 108, pp. 1-13.

Muller, D., Judd, C. M. and Yzerbyt, V. Y. (2005) ‘When moderation is mediated and mediation is moderated’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, pp. 852–863.

Prem Sikka. (2013) Smoke and mirrors: Corporate social responsibility and tax avoidance—A reply to Hasseldine and Morris. Accounting Forum 37:1, 15-28. [CrossRef]

Vinciguerra, B., & O’Reilly-Allen, M. (2004). An examination of factors influencing managers’ and auditors’ assessments of the appropriateness of an accounting treatment and earnings management intentions. American Business Review, 22(1), 78–87.

Watts, R. L., & Zimmerman, J. L. (1986). Positive accounting theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Xiong, Y., Zhou, H., & Varshney, S. (2010). The economic profitability of pre-IPO earnings management and IPO under-performance. Journal of Economics and Finance, 34(3), 229–256.

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