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The business must balance their desires for profits against the needs and desires of society. To help with this, society has developed rules – both legal and implicit – to guide the business in their efforts to earn profits in ways that will not harm individuals or society as a whole.(Ferrell, Fraedrich, Ferrell, 2002.) One difference between an ordinary decision and an ethical one lies in “the point where the accepted rules no longer serve, and the decision maker is faced with the responsibility for weighing values and reaching a judgement in a situation which is not quite the same as any he or she faced before”.If, on the other hand, they are aware of moral theories and social policies that affect their own societies and the wider world, then they will be likely to make rather different and more sophisticated judgements, (Vallance, 1995).
There is a connection between our perception of the world and the way in which we make decisions in the world.
If managers believe that they are and ought to be rational egoists, concerned only with maximising profit, they will take the decisions accordingly.
Business ethics today is still an evolving field of study.
Business ethical issues can be approached from the perspective of law, philosophy, theology or social sciences; or they can be dealt with in a pragmatic spirit, seeking solution for specific managerial problems.
In the 1980s business academics and practitioners acknowledged business ethics as a field of study.
Business ethics organisations grew and expanded to include thousands of members.
(Ferrell, Fraedrich, 1994) Ethics is not simply a glorified intellectual game, of no practical relevance.
We become moral individuals by practice; good at being truthful by habitually telling the truth; becoming honest by trying always not to be dishonest. It is simply another tool to help the practical business man or woman deal with the endlessly recurring moral dilemmas of business life.
Because of this professors began to teach and write about corporate social responsibility.
By the end of 1970s a number of ethical issues had emerged and business ethics became a common expression.