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Ethics in Research

2. Corporate moral agency

❶Child —but what counts as deceptive advertising, and what makes it wrong. For further discussion, see the entry on exploitation.

Ethical Standards - Researchers Should...

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1. Varieties of business ethics

Many business ethicists make this assumption on the grounds that employees have a pro tanto duty of loyalty to their firms see, e. Against this, some argue that the relationship between the firm and the employee is purely transactional—an exchange of money for labor Duska —and so is not normatively robust enough to ground a duty of loyalty.

For a discussion of this issue, see the entry on loyalty. One prominent justification of whistleblowing is due to DeGeorge According to him, it is permissible for an employee to blow the whistle when his doing so will prevent harm to society.

In a similar account, Brenkert [] says that the duty to blow the whistle derives from a duty to prevent wrongdoing. The duty to prevent harm has more weight than the duty of loyalty. To determine whether whistleblowing is not simply permissible but required, DeGeorge says, we must take into account the likely success of the whistleblowing and its effects on the whistleblower himself.

Humans are tribal creatures, and whistleblowers are often treated badly by their colleagues. So if whistleblowing is unlikely to succeed, then it need not be attempted. Another account of whistleblowing is given by Davis Like Brenkert and unlike DeGeorge , Davis focuses on the wrongdoing that the firm engages in not the harm it causes.

Whistleblowing picks out a real and important phenomenon. But it does not seem morally distinctive, in the sense that the values and duties involved in it are familiar. Loyalty to an individual or group may require that we give preference to her or their interests, to an extent.

And yet, in general, we should avoid complicity in immoral behavior, and should also make an effort to prevent harm and wrongdoing, especially when our efforts are likely to succeed and are not personally very costly.

On the accounts given above, whistleblowing is simply the attempt to act in accordance with these values, and discharge these duties, in the context of the workplace. Businesses as a whole command enormous resources, and as a result can have an enormous impact on society. One way that businesses impact society, of course, is by producing goods and services and by providing jobs. A famous example of CSR involves the pharmaceutical company Merck.

In the late s, Merck was developing a drug to treat parasites in livestock, and it was discovered that a version of the drug might be used treat River Blindness, a disease that causes debilitating itching, pain, and eventually blindness.

The problem was that the drug would cost millions of dollars to develop, and would generate little or no revenue for Merck, since the people afflicted with River Blindness—millions of sub-Saharan Africans—were too poor to afford it. In the end, Merck decided to develop the drug.

As expected, it was effective in treating River Blindness, but Merck made no money from it. As of this writing in , Merck, now in concert with several nongovernmental organizations, continues to manufacture and distribute the drug for free throughout the developing world.

The scholarly literature on CSR is dominated by social scientists. Their question is typically whether, when, and how socially responsible actions benefit firms financially. That is, it is not clear whether prosocial behavior by firms causes them to be rewarded financially e.

Since our concern is with normative questions, we will focus on moral reasons for and against CSR. Some writers connect the debate about CSR with the debate about the ends of corporate governance. Thus Friedman objects to CSR, saying that managers should be maximizing shareholder wealth instead. Stakeholder theory is thought to be more accommodating of prosocial activity by firms, since it permits firms to do things other than increase shareholder wealth. But we do not need to see the debate about CSR as arguments about the proper ends of corporate governance.

We can see it as a debate about the means to those ends, with some arguing, and others denying, that certain acts of prosocial behavior are required no matter what ends a firm pursues.

Many writers give broadly consequentialist reasons for CSR. The arguments tend to go as follows: Not only is there an opportunity to increase social welfare by alleviating suffering, suffering people may also have a right to assistance. The controversial issue is who should do something to help, and how much they should do. Thus defenders of the above argument focus most of their attention on establishing that firms have these duties, against those who say that these duties are properly assigned to states or individuals.

Strudler legitimates altruistic behavior by firms by undermining the claim that shareholders own them, and so are owed their surplus wealth. Hsieh says that, even if we concede that firms do not have social obligations, individuals have them, and the best way for many individuals to discharge them is through the activities of their firms see also McMahon Debates about CSR are not just debates about whether specific social ills should be addressed by specific corporations.

They are also debates about what sort of society we want to live in. While acknowledging that firms benefit society through CSR, Brenkert b thinks it is a mistake for people to encourage firms to engage in CSR as a practice. When we do so, he says, we cede a portion of the public sphere to private actors. Instead of deciding together how we want to ameliorate social ills affecting our fellow community members, we leave it up to private organizations to decide what to do.

Instead of sharpening our skills of democracy through deliberation, and reaffirming social bonds through mutual aid, we allow our skills and bonds to atrophy through disuse. Many businesses are active participants in the political arena. They support candidates for election, defend positions on issues in public debate, lobby government officials, and more see Stark What does business ethics say about these activities?

This research focuses on such questions as: What forms does CPA take? What are the antecedents of CPA? What are its consequences? CPA raises many normative questions as well. One question is whether firms are the right type of entities to engage in political activity. In large states, citizens often find it useful to join associations of like-minded others, the purpose of which is to represent their views in political decision-making.

But while organizations like the Republican Party and the Sierra Club are suitable participants in the political arena, it is not clear that organizations like Merck or Wal-Mart are. Some have criticized the U. Alternatively, we might see firms as legitimate speakers on behalf of certain points of view Stark Scholars have also raised questions about the goals of CPA. One thing a firm might do when it engages in CPA is provide valuable information to government officials. Society has an interest in knowing how proposed economic policies will affect firms; firms themselves are a good source of information on these questions.

Questions have been raised about the nature and permissibility of rent-seeking. According to standard definitions, rent-seeking is socially wasteful economic activity intended to secure benefits from the state rather than from the market. But there is disagreement about what counts as waste. A related issue is whether firms are permitted to engage in rent-seeking behavior.

For example, when the Rana Plaza collapsed in Bangladesh in , killing more than garment industry workers, new building codes and systems of enforcement were put into place. But they were put into place by the multinational corporations that are supplied by factories in Bangladesh, not by the government of Bangladesh.

Scherer and Palazzo , are major contributors to this debate. There is little doubt that firms can benefit society through political CSR. The building codes put into place by Western multinationals may well save the lives of many Bangladeshi garment workers.

Unless new forms of corporate governance can be devised, however, these benefits may come at a cost to democratic self-rule. A still more subtle way that firms can engage in political activity is through the exercise of their property rights Christiano A firm might move out of a state in response to the passage of a law it does not favor, or it may threaten to move out of a state if such a law is passed.

As with certain cases of political CSR, we may applaud the results of this kind of political activity. Many applauded when the state of Indiana revised its law permitting discrimination against members of the LGBT community on grounds of religious liberty in response to claims by powerful firms, such as Salesforce. But it is unclear whether such behavior by firms should be encouraged.

We may wish to draw a distinction between private individuals influencing political decision-making by exercising their property rights and firms doing the same thing. Many businesses operate across societal, including national, boundaries. Operating internationally heightens the salience of a number of the ethical issues discussed above, such as CSR, but it also raises new issues, such as relativism and divestment.

Two issues often discussed in connection with international business are not treated in this section. One is wages and working conditions in overseas factories, often called sweatshops.

This literature is briefly discussed in section 6. The second issue is corruption. For discussion of this issue, see the entry on corruption. Whether and to what extent firms have a duty to perform socially responsible actions is a question that can and has been asked about firms in a domestic context. But this question has seemed especially pressing in international contexts, and many of the most famous examples of CSR—including the case of Merck and River Blindness discussed in section 7.

There are two reasons for this. One is that social problems, including poverty and environmental degradation, are often worse in the developing world than in the developed world.

The second is that firms are relatively more powerful actors in the developing world than in the developed world. International agencies have also created codes of ethics for business. Perhaps the most famous of these is the United Nations Global Compact, membership in which requires organizations to adhere to a variety of rules in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.

A striking fact about much of this research is that, while it is focused on international business, and sometimes promulgated by international agencies, the conclusions reached do not apply specifically to firms doing business across national boundaries. The duty to, e. It is simply that the international context is the one in which this duty seems most important to discharge, and in which firms are one of the few agents who can do so.

There are issues, however, that arise specifically for firms doing business internationally. Every introductory ethics student learns that different cultures have different moral codes. This is typically an invitation to think about whether or not morality is relative to culture.

For the businessperson, it presents a more immediate challenge: How should cultural differences in moral codes be managed? Donaldson is a leading voice on this question, in work done independently , and with Dunfee Much of this criticism has focused on the nature of hypernorms.

A complication for the debate about whether to apply home country standards in host countries is that multinational corporations engage in business across national boundaries in different ways.

Some MNCs directly employ workers in multiple countries, while others contract with suppliers in multiple countries. Nike, for example, does not directly employ workers to make shoes. Rather, Nike designs shoes, and hires firms in other countries to make them.

Our views about whether an MNC should apply home country standards in a host country may depend on whether the MNC is applying them to its own workers or to those of other firms. The same goes for accountability. Nike was subject to sharp criticism for the labor practices of its suppliers in the s Hartman et al.

She may decide that the right course of action is to not do business in the country at all, and if she is invested in the country, to divest from it.

The issue of divestment received substantial attention in the s and s as MNCs were deciding whether or not to divest from South Africa under its Apartheid regime. It may attract renewed attention in the coming years as firms and other organizations contemplate divestment from the fossil fuel industry. Common reasons to divest from a morally problematic society or industry are to avoid complicity in immoral practices, and to put pressure on the society or industry to change its practices.

Some believe that it is better for firms to stay engaged with the society or industry and try to bring about change from within.

The field of business ethics, in its current form, grew out of research that moral and political philosophers did in the s and s. It is not hard to see why moral and political philosophers might be interested in business. Business activity raises a host of interesting philosophical issues: After a surge of activity 30 years ago, however, philosophers seem to be retreating from the field.

There are hardly any philosophy Ph. This is a missed opportunity. Many businesspeople care about business ethics: As philosophers have retreated from the field, business schools have turned to management scholars to fill the void. Given their training in the social sciences, management scholars treat ethics largely as a descriptive enterprise, i. This is an important enterprise, to be sure, but it is no substitute for normative reflection on what is ethical in business.

I hope this entry helps to inform philosophers about the richness and value of business ethics, and in doing so, excite greater interest in the field. Sison, and Chris Surprenant.

Thanks also to David Jacobs and especially an anonymous reviewer for the Stanford Encyclopedia for detailed and thoughtful comments on a draft of the entry. Thanks finally to Northeastern University for providing a hospitable environment in which to work on this entry. Business Ethics First published Thu Nov 17, Varieties of business ethics 2.

Corporate moral agency 3. The ends and means of corporate governance 3. Popular frameworks for business ethics 5. Firms and consumers 5. Firms and workers 6. The firm in society 7. Varieties of business ethics Many people engaged in business activity, including accountants and lawyers, are professionals. Corporate moral agency One way to think about business ethics is in terms of the moral obligations of agents engaged in business activity. The ends and means of corporate governance There is significant debate about the ends and means of corporate governance, i.

Popular frameworks for business ethics Business ethicists seek to understand the ethical contours of, and devise principles of right action for, business activity. Firms and consumers The main way that firms interact with consumers is by selling, or attempting to sell, products and services to them. Firms and workers Business ethicists have written much about the relationship between employers and employees. The firm in society Businesses as a whole command enormous resources, and as a result can have an enormous impact on society.

The status of business ethics The field of business ethics, in its current form, grew out of research that moral and political philosophers did in the s and s.

Tenbrunsel, , Blind Spots: Fried, , Pay Without Performance: Pearson Prentice Hall, 6 th edition. Unjust or Just Right? Oxford University Press, pp. Jaworski, , Markets Without Limits: Theory and Practice , New York: Moon, , Corporations and Citizenship , New York: University of California Press. Pearson, 7 th edition. Dunfee, , Ties that Bind: Wadsworth, 4 th edition, pp.

Prentice-Hall, 3rd edition, pp. De Colle, , Stakeholder Theory: Conversations with Aristotle , New York: Wokutch, , Rising Above Sweatshops: Pettit, , Group Agency: University of Notre Dame Press, 2 nd edition. Selected Writings , New York: Oxford University Press, 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press. Williamson, , Property-Owning Democracy: Rawls and Beyond , Malden, MA: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. University of Chicago Press. Cooperation and Integrity in Business , New York: Business Ethics in Action , New York: Oxford University Press, 2 nd edition.

Concepts and Cases , New York: Pritchard, , Obstacles to Ethical Decision-Making: Academic Tools How to cite this entry. Enhanced bibliography for this entry at PhilPapers , with links to its database. De George University of Kansas , an important contributor to the field. Advocating strict adherence to set of laws is difficult because of the unforeseen constraint put on researchers. Consequently, the German people do not benefit from many advances in biotechnology and may have restricted access to genetically altered drugs in the future.

Consider the clash between those who believe death is deliverance from a life of suffering and those who value life to the point of preserving it indefinitely through mechanical means.

Each value system claims superior knowledge of moral correctness. This is unethical government must regulate it. So this is very illegal business and it harm the health of people who are drink their milk. Government should restrict this thing. Here you will find articles, reports and journals which will help to expand knowledge on major business fields, e. Common articles You are here: Ethics in Business Research.

Common articles Ethics in Business Research. As research is designed, several ethical issues must be balanced.

When conducting business research, it is common to rely on many forms of intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights and trade secrets. The findings of any business research should avoid the publication of any third-party unpublished data, methods or results without the permission of that party.

Proper acknowledgements and credit must be given for all contributions to the research to avoid claims of plagiarism or impropriety.

When reporting the findings of your business research, you should take great care that your report accurately represents what you observed or were told. Results should not be presented in a way that take the findings out of context, deceive readers, exaggerate claims or focus on smaller parts of the observation without putting them into perspective. Affiliations with research sponsors and conflicts of interest should also be disclosed so no one can claim the research is tainted.

Louis Kroeck started writing professionally under the direction of Andrew Samtoy from the "Cleveland Sandwich Board" in Kroeck is an attorney out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania specializing in civil litigation, intellectual property law and entertainment law. He has a B. S from the Pennsylvania State University in information science technology and a J.

Ethics in Business Research and Why They Are Important

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In business research ethics are the moral principles followed to ensure that no one is hurt or suffers in any way due to the studies being carried out.. Generally ethical considerations in business research deal with the way in which information is collected and how information is conveyed to the intended audience.5/5.

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What are Ethics? Ethics are norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about our behavior and our relationship with others. As in other aspects of business, all parties in research should exhibit ethical behavior.

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In any case, a course in research ethics can be useful in helping to prevent deviations from norms even if it does not prevent misconduct. Education in research ethics is can help people get a better understanding of ethical standards, policies, and issues and improve ethical judgment and decision making. Ethics in business research Key concept Stances on ethics Authors on social research ethics can be characterized in terms of the stances they take on the issue. The.

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Assignment 3 1a) Business Ethics is a professional ethics that examining ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to . Ethical considerations in business research focus on the methods by which information is gathered and the way the information is conveyed to the target audience. Ethical norms promote the roles of research, such as the acquisition of knowledge, the pursuit of truth and the avoidance of errors. In addition to following.