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Importance of Ethics in Business Organizations

Describe about the Report on Business Ethics for Individual Organization.

Ethics are the morals formed by the society. They are the values that form a part of our lives internally. Every decision that an individual makes is either ethical or unethical. Ethics are values like being fair, honest, abiding the rules, following the laws, doing the right thing. Ethics are principles that govern the decisions that an individual or organization makes, of choosing between the right and the wrong. A business might undertake some practices that are not ethical, they might undertake some ways or measures in which they promote unethical behavior and fails to realize its impact on the society. Such businesses should be brought under moral compass and should realize that through their decisions are impacting the lives of people in a negative manner. Every ethical decision a business makes affects the lives in a positive manner. A business needs to have ethics in their core values (Brenkert & Beauchamp, 2012). Ethics are breached when a decision taken by a business or an individual does not value the moral of the society. It is when they do not realize their moral responsibilities and do actions that have a negative impact. A business should always support ethics and do the right and the just. The actions done by the business should always be such that they have a positive impact on the lives of the people (Cremer, 2009).

Breach of Ethics

Ashley Madison is the world’s largest online networking community that offers online dating service. The company was founded in 2002 and targets people who are already married or in a committed relationship but still want to date. The company employed guerrilla marketing techniques to advertise its site. One of the advertisement marketing campaign run by the company was termed as the most offensive ad because it attracted huge number of complaints.

The slogan of the website promoted in this advertisement was “Life is short. Have an affair.” This advertisement had a bunch of men, who say that they are looking for someone other than their wives. This advertisement promotes infidelity amongst people who are already in a relationship. This advertisement is considered wrong on the moral grounds. It is considered wrong and not in accordance with the standards for the rightful practices. Though adultery is not a criminal offence, but it is considered immoral. It involves breaking of a promise made in the act of marriage. One of the promises made in the act of marriage is thatthe husband and wife will have a sacred relationship and will abstain from having sexual relations with other people. This ad promotes adultery, which indicates the indifference on the part of the husband. It is seen as that he has no concern for the feelings of his spouse. This advertisement promotes immoral behavior amongst people because it makes them believe that it is ethical and justified to look for other people for sexual relations while being married to somebody. The spouse cheating could also lie or not tell about their actions, which in a way is equivalent to lying. This also breaks another promise of marriage which is to be honest and faithful to your spouse. This ad gives us ample of reasons to think that adultery is immoral and it also weakens our faith in the strong institution of marriage and family. Marriage and family is good for society and engaging in adultery is against the norms of the society. If a person is not happy in their marriage, opting to look out of their marriage while still being married is unethical, the right and ethical way is judicial separation and then moving ahead in life and looking for ways which provides them happiness (Bruck, 2015).

Promotion of Infidelity: An Unethical Practice

Support of an Ethical Approach

Australian Government Quit Smoking Ad 2014, released on the day of world no tobacco day, May 31st is considered for support of ethics. This ad is issued in the public interest and warns the people that tobacco is harmful for health. It informs people about the contents of a cigarette and its harmful effect on the health of a person. Each cigarette that a person consumes affects his health and the health of those around him. Smoking whether it is active or passive is considered as a hazard to the health of an individual. There are general restrictions on advertising tobacco, but anti-smoking advertisements fall under an exception. This ad warns people about the risk factors that arise because of tobacco consumption that includes heart diseases, chronic diseases, and Cancers (The department of health, 2015). This anti-smoking ad aims to affect the smoking behavior amongst people. The Australian Government has adopted a sustainable multi-faced approach to reduce the consumption of tobacco. This campaign is powerful in supporting the ethics that suggest reducing and quitting smoking. The government has invested millions in the campaign and is committed to reduce the devastating impacts of smoking on the people. This thirty seconds ad depicts a woman smoking and coughing. That indicates that smoking is harmful for health. It supports the ethics that suggest prohibition of promotion of tobacco (Wayne, 2014). It also supports the ethical practices which suggest that smoking is not a healthy activity for an individual. It not only is a health hazard but also not a socially acceptable practice in the society. This ad is in full support of the ethical approach (The department of health, 2016).

Ethics are the basic fundamental principles that are conducted by a human being. The acts, which are socially acceptable, are not looked down upon and are not morally wrong. Ethics in a way is a code of conduct of one’s behavior or activities (Kerns, 2005). Ethics are governed by moral principles. Ethics is also obedience to the law of land, concern for health and safety, concern for natural environment, concern for another human being. Ethics in a narrowed term is being morally right and just (Darely, Messick & Tyler, 2001).

Ethical issues are basically when a person or an organization has to choose between the two alternatives, usually out of which one is wrong or unethical and the other that is right or ethical (Bottoni, 2010). Ethical issues are always subject to a debate. Some things are morally wrong but not an offence according to the law of the land. Ethics is all about being morally right and fair. When an organization or an individual might do something that is unethical it creates an impression that people can do wrong and can be morally unjust towards others (Badiou & Hallward, 2002).

Promotion of Anti-smoking: A Supportive Ethical Practice

The issue taken up in this report in case 1, where an advertisement promotes Adultery, which is an unethical practice and it reduces our faith in the institution of marriage. This is an unethical issue because promoting something that causes marriages to break, people to lie and cheat and relationships to dissolve is unethical in every manner possible in the society. This type of behavior is classified as unethical in every corner of the world. Though adultery is not a criminal offence but it is unethical because it affects the relationships on the moral grounds.      Ethics are basically guidelines based on human morality. In this advertisement, the company is affecting the sentiments of women who are married, because their husbands are conveying the message that they are not happy and are looking outside their marriage. This breaks the fundamental promise of the marriage, being in an exclusive and sacred relationship and of honesty and trust. Ethics affects every decision that a person, an organization makes in their course of time. Every organization has to consider its impact on the lives of the people, its impact on the societies before making any decision. The decisions made by the organization reflect their values, their beliefs and with this advertisement it is clear that the company, Ashley Madison clearly doesn’t believe in the constitution of marriage and promotes infidelity. Another case taken up is an advertisement that promotes ill effect of tobacco. This ad clearly conveys that it is not an ethical activity to undertake and it affects the lives of the people around the person smoking as well as their own life. This ad is in support of ethics that believes that it is an unhealthy human practice and it destroys lives. This decision to support such ethical issues that makes human aware of their unethical choices is right in every aspect. This advertisement deals with an ethical issue that is of tobacco. The decision to promote such cases, which makes people aware of their moral duties and ethics, is socially acceptable. It is indeed an ethical decision taken.

Ethics are important in decision-making; there is a great relationship between the two.  An organization has to be ethical while making decisions. Understanding between the right and the wrong is very important while making business decisions. If a decision is made which is not ethical it might impact the lives of several people. It will create an atmosphere in the society that will be not just. Outcomes of the unethical decisions are usually unrest and non-harmony amongst people. The organization involved while making the business decision in the first advertisement did not realize the impact it made in the society. It did not follow the ethical code of conduct. An organization’s core values must include ethics. Then only it would be able to take ethical decisions (Ethical leadership, decision-making, and organizations, 2016). Business ethics is not a temporary practice; it is more of a permanent trait that has to be adapted in their behavior while making decisions. Taking ethical decision is always a hard task, because ethics involves hard work, abiding by the law, doing things that are right in the first place and always. Whereas wrong and unethical is easy in the first place but it will be a problem in the long run for the company. An organization that makes ethical decisions will face initial troubles but will always be benefited in the long run. The decisions made by the organization or any business is affected by its policies, if the policies of the organization are ethical, the procedures and practices are just and fair then the outcomes of the decisions taken would result in a positive manner. Unethical values results in the decisions that impact the lives of the people in an adverse manner. They are not based or formed out of social norms or cultural practices. They do not assess the moral implications that they might cause. Unethical decisions are not based out of moral philosophy. Whereas making an ethical judgment require an understanding of the perception of people, of the interpretation of the thoughts, realization of the set of values people have and estimation that how people would react to that certain decision and how significantly it would impact their lives. A decision that significantly impacts the lives of the people should always be ethical. We live in a society where people are affected and if they are affected in an adverse manner, than it is considered wrong on the grounds of morality even if it is not an offense under the law of the land. A business needs to make decisions that only positively affects the lives of the people and that would only happen when Ethics are a great part of business and its activities.

Conclusion

Ethics is a moral concept. They are something that affects the lives of every individual whether in a positive or negative manner. Ethics just form a part of the lives of the people and the way the conduct their activities. When an organization conducts unethical behavior they are affecting the lives of people in an adverse manner, which here was shown by the unethical business conducted and promoted by a company. Support of ethics was shown by the second case, where people were made aware of their unethical and socially unacceptable behavior and were requested to stop. Ethics forms a core part of the decision-making in the business. Every decision that a business takes is either ethical or unethical. An ethical business will always realize its moral responsibility towards the society and will always take ethical decisions.

References

Australian associated press. (2016, August 2016). International report into Ashley Madison hack 'highly critical' of site's privacy. The Guardian. Retrieved from URL https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/aug/24/international-report-into-ashley-madison-hack-highly-critical-of-sites-privacy

Badiou, A. & Hallward, P. (2002). Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil. US: Verso.

Bottoni, M. (2010). The Cost of Unethical Behavior: A Pending Issue at the Argonne National Laboratory. US: AuthorHouse.

Brenkert, G. & Beauchamp, T. (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics. US:OUP.

Bruck, S. (2015, May 15th).Ashley Madison Ad.Retrieved from URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQp9mkuCYBM

Cremer, D. (2009). Psychological Perspectives on Ethical Behavior and Decision Making. US: IAP.

Darely, J., Messick, D., Tyler, T. (2001). Social Influences on Ethical Behavior in Organization. US: Taylor & Francis.

Ethical leadership, decision-making, and organizations. (2016). Retrieved from URL https://www.businessballs.com/ethical_management_leadership.htm

Kerns, C. (2005) Value-centered Ethics: A Proactive System to Shape Ethical Behavior. US: Human Resource Development.

The department of health. (2015, September 2015). Tobacco advertising. Retrieved from URL https://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/tobacco-advert.

The department of health. (2016, May 1st). New anti-smoking campaign aims to close the Gap. Retrieved from URL https://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2016-nash012.htm

Wayne, L. (2014, February 21st). Australian Government Quit Smoking 2010 Ad. Retrieved from URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJ17uXv1WY

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