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Ethics & Sustainability Assignment (ECON 1086 ‐ RMIT, Australia)

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Introduction

Ethics and social responsibility are essential for conventional working of an organization. Sustainability is a responsible function undertaking in an organization which needs to be developed and implemented to achieve competitive gain (Bhattacharya, Korschun, Sen and Routledge, 2017). Every business needs to adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) to safeguard the environment and social well-being (Schwartz, 2017).

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Ethics plays a major role in decision making by an organization with the combined help of the individuals. Thus business ethics is about working in a socially and ethically standard environment created by both an individual as well as organization to enhance company’s reputation in the society or community. Corporate governance is also an essential system which directs and regulates organizational activities by enforcing rules and regulations in an organised manner.

This essay emphasis on the critical analysis of ethics ,its mechanism and overall impact to sustain and maintain social influence, which is needed by everyone to practice in order to successful implement objectives (Gupta, Briscoe and Hambrick, 2017).. The CSR is a critical evaluation of business processes and systems which needs to be evaluated by the management personnel responsible. It is primarily designed by the National Empowerment Foundation to be followed by the companies (Ewest, 2018). A companyperforming highly in CSR is one that goes beyond compliance with the legal framework to actively pursue positive impacts on local communities and its environmental footprint. Every business incorporates social, economic and environmental aspects which need to be undertaken while making any decision. Effective management practice needs to be implemented so as to carry out all the above-mentioned aspects effectively.

With globalization, organizations are engaged in making profits for the stakeholders and thus there is a need to look into global economic development and also to modify the trends that bring forth development (Grayson and Hodges, 2017). Various strategies of government and organizations should focus on business ethics and sustainability which will bring in corporate governance in decision making and processing system. Every business firm needs to evaluate its policies and procedures in accordance with corporate responsibility and business ethical standards. The company has a special way of identifying and making sure that it attracts more potential customers, thus having competitive advantages without affecting its profitability and social impacts (Christensen, 2018)..

A major ethical issue raised in UK was the rising house prices despite of shortages of facilities available for people to live in (Gupta, Briscoe and Hambrick, 2017).An article published in the Guardian speaks about the stabilizing of prices as the demand of houses in the market falls. The shortages of good housing facility in the UK have affected the market and prices which government needs to correct through various changes and measures. Although housing prices are determined by the market’s demand and supply theory, it is not based on ethics

Every business is affected by the changes in demand and supply of the market. Therefore an action plan must be implemented in order to enhance operations and profit margins. These corrective actions are based upon ethical business practices which have social responsibility towards the community (Christensen, 2018).

Various ethical theories are undertaken by businesses to prepare decisions and judgments to differentiate between right and wrong. Business ethics describes morality of a particular action which a company thrives to take..

The various ethical theories used in business decision making are Utilitarian, Deontological and Kantian theories. To understand these theories needs to be applied in order to act towards social responsibility which a firm possesses towards its society.

The Utilitarian theory focuses on moral values of an instance whereas the Kantian refers to the act of someone which is in accordance with moral principles. The Deontological theory is an approach to ethics that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to rules (Wikipedia, 2010).

The Utilitarian theory of ethical business is further divided into rule and act which implies doing good to others in order to maximize the happiness of others. It is one of the most known theories of ethical practice applied in business (Grayson and Hodges, 2017). This theory is based on the perspective that if an action is bringing happiness to the maximum number of people then it should be followed. It is normally judged by its utility in comparison to the amount of happiness it will bring to the society after the production of business output (Ewest, 2018). This theory of ethics applied to business bring forth the various actions based on morality and social values and the management should follow in maximizing output of their workers by satisfying their needs and desires. The concept is to reduce bad decisions from the organization and bring in valuable ideas to the business which will enhance its scale of operations (Husted and Filho, 2017). This ethical theory of business is also termed as consequentialism

The two types of utilitarian ethical theories are Act and Rule utilitarian (Christensen, 2018).

Act Utilitarianism - The act of utilitarian refers to applying the principal (of utilitarian) to obtain the best result possible (Bhattacharya, Korschun, Sen and Routledge, 2017). When a manager needs to define rules and procedures for his employees, he needs to attempt the act utilitarian ethical theory which will entail changes in the rules and procedures thereby bringing the best result possible. They reject moral codes or systems that consist of commands or taboos that are based on customs, traditions, or orders given by leaders or supernatural beings (Visser, and Tolhurst, 2017). Instead, utilitarian think that what makes a morality be true or justifiable is its positive contribution to human. The act utilitarian looks in a simple manner while choosing actions that will enhance the overall satisfaction.

Rule Utilitarianism - This type of utilitarian is based on moral rules and regulations. It works on the simple motive of moral rules which are undertaken to perform a particular task and will have best results as the rules are ethically and morally viable. Every manager must evaluate his or her personnel’s actions in a ethical manner (Grayson and Hodges, 2017).. Every moral rule needs to be incorporated in an organization for evaluating the results of individuals as well as team members which should be in accordance to the business ethics. It is defined as that principle of utilitarian which should use the moral rules in order to enhance happiness. The correct moral rules are those whose inclusion in our moral code will produce better results than other possible rules (Christensen, 2018).

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The Kantian model of ethical theory emphasizes on performing tasks adhering to the set rules and the procedures should not be altered in any circumstance even if it is giving the best result (Buckler, 2017). Unlike utilitarian, it judges the action either right or wrong r. This theory looks at the scene more ethically and argues that actions are morally valuable if it has the right motive and focuses on rules and regulations and believes that human beings have moral values as they are rational. It generally takes into account such decisions which benefits both shareholders and consumers of the organization by incorporating proper rules and regulations only (Bhattacharya, Korschun, Sen and Routledge, 2017). Kantian theory just looked at the rules and comes with the relevant action needed to be taken and ignore the consequences leaving the investigation.

The Deontological theory puts more emphasis on humanity and work towards to [protect it in the right manner through the right rules. This theory makes an ethical judgement based on the intention of act with a neglect of outcome whether the outcome is good or bad. It always focuses on means rather than the actual outcomes of the decision-making by the organization.

The utilitarian theory of ethical behaviour focuses on doing the right thing or taking the correct decision in an organization which will benefit major number of people. And thus is not bound by any rules or regulations as it is in Kantian theory of ethical behaviour to take moral actions or decisions (Ewest, 2018).

The Kantian theory looks at the scene more ethically and argues that actions are morally valuable if it has the right motive and focuses on rules and regulations and believes that human beings have moral values as they are rational. It generally takes into account such decisions which benefits both shareholders and consumers of the organization by incorporating proper rules and regulations only (Bhattacharya, Korschun, Sen and Routledge, 2017). Kantian theory just looked at the rules and comes with the relevant action needed to be taken and ignore the consequences leaving the investigation. Deontological theory is the theory that makes an ethical judgment based on the intention of act with a neglect of outcome of that act whether the outcome is good or bad. It always focuses on means rather than the actual outcomes of the decision making by the organization.

Every organization or business firm works according to a market and is influenced by the political, social, economical, legal and environmental changes which affects its decision making. The market is responsible for lifting up an organization if it works on ethical standards and values keeping in mind the society and community in which it operates (Christensen, 2018). It is a part of the society and the changes are brought about the people in the society. Thus markets are based on morals and values which impact organization decision making.

According to the headline published in The Guardian which states that markets are prone to profits and not moral values is an understatement. Markets are operating in a society which is ethical driven. In today’s era, it is highly vulnerable (Ewest, 2018). The increasing capitalism creates more inequality and brings forth destruction of environment. Yet the market has morality and values which helps in removing and eradicating social causes and wicked system. The market economy of UK has provided various measures to its society and people thereby bringing in more employment and opportunities for people so as to engage them in different activities thereby earning revenue. It encourages valuable moral values by providing individual freedom and democracy and removes inequality from the system by providing equal job opportunity to people. The equality and diversity law as well as anti-discrimination law of the UK government, protect each and every human being in the economy and market (Bhattacharya, Korschun, Sen and Routledge, 2017).

The house prices stabilise as number of houses on market falls due to the non-ethical practices of the market forces as discusses and evaluated later on. The morality of the market reduces due to profit motive thereby showing a downfall in the availability of houses in UK. The libertarian perspective focuses on the government who always does well for the people and make laws which provide benefits to the community (Christensen, 2018). Thus, according to their perspective market economy either a free market or government oriented market work towards uplifting society thereby making minimal profits for its operations. The market forces such as demand along-with supply determines the profit of any organization and every business must operate according to it to earn profit in the long run (Bhattacharya, Korschun, Sen and Routledge, 2017).

The market economy in general, possesses moral values, ethics and responsibility towards society to fulfil their needs and uplift the economy sustainably. Every organization should perform activities in order to maintain ethical standards and morals which the market economy is made up of. Every market has moral values and the government helps to enhance the same by delivering goods and services essential for the economy and restricting those which are harmful for the country and its people. It is mainly concerned with factors like production, distribution and investment which determine the demand and supply (Visser, and Tolhurst, 2017).

The production components as well as capital allocation are the major tasks done after observing and studying the market and people engaged in the process. The market could never act in an immoral way as it is surrounded by ethical values and systems which help in accomplishing tasks of either business or other purposes. Though the government plays a major role in determining the prices, either by fixing selling price or fiscal policy which involve fixing of prices for certain objects and discouraging people to buy certain things. Thus the government needs to act rationally when it takes such decisions (Ewest, 2018).

The libertarian perspective of market, is more than a stock brokerage on Wall Street or Banking Corporation or a multinational organization. It is a free market where selling and buying takes place and wealth creation is generated. Libertarians believe that people have the right to freely offer goods and services on the market and those free-market approaches are the most effective at improving people’s lives. However, the current market trends are capitalistic than free creating social issues. The capitalistic market gives more power to the wealthy people thereby, widening the gap. On the other hand, a free market conditions allow everyone irrespective of their interest, background or abilities to enjoy the same rights and opportunities (Christensen, 2018).

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The market which is based on the libertarian perspective has less rules and regulations, less taxes and an equal opportunity system which provide benefits to all. Therefore there are measures and tactics which should be implemented in order to make the economy a liberalise one favouring all.

These are the recommendations which needed to be complied by organizations irrespective of their size (i.e. small, medium, large or micro) and scale of operations (such as profit making, non profit making or voluntary organization) (Grayson and Hodges, 2017). All such units should work according to business ethics and corporate governanceand abide social responsibility by incorporation CSR

Ethics and integrity are major for sustainable working of an organization. Its implementation has the following affects:

  • Every organisation needs to set values and norms which need to adhere and follow , Such a system will help in achieving sustainability in the long run. An ethical behaviour of employee helps in accomplishing tasks easily with a righteous method (Gupta, Briscoe and Hambrick, 2017).
  • Establishing and implementing a code of ethics must be regulated by employees as well as managers at the organization, irrespective of their designation and size and scale of operations (Buckler, 2017). With proper training, the workforce gets a clear idea of the management’s expectations with respect to employee’s code of conduct and enhances communication by promoting an ethical culture within the organization (Ewest, 2018).
  • The manager needs to act as role model by accomplishing tasks in an ethical and moral manner. If manager himself strictly adheres to ethical standards, employees will be less reluctant to oppose the guidelines.. Such acts of manager will help in establishing ethical and social values in the organization and thus fulfil the sustainability needs of every stakeholder (Husted and Filho, 2017).
  • The CSR (corporate social responsibility) refers to the code of conduct followed by organizations in its working and operations which helps in fulfilling goals and objectives of organizations thereby respecting society norms along-with environmental abatement assessment (Visser, and Tolhurst, 2017).

Another important aspect of an organization is integrity, which is needed to be adhering by being honest and responsible towards one’s work (Bhattacharya, Korschun, Sen and Routledge, 2017). The business management should incorporate various policies and rules to safeguard their employees and customer’s interest.

People in the organization need to be accountable and responsible for their own tasks and duties. That means showing up on scheduled workdays, as well as arriving on time and putting in an honest effort while on the job (Schwartz, 2017). Team work also helps in maintaining ethical standards as work is distributed to have a better focus on each and every task.

Conclusion

The essay concludes how the ethics, sustainability and social objectives impact business and it’s decision-making. It incorporates all details about a business requirement to be ethically intact and socially responsible to achieve its objective efficiently and effectively (Kara, 2017). It also depicts the essence of market and its importance in making an ethical business.. The comparative study of ethical theories and its interpretation helps in understanding and maintaining ethical and social ambience inside and outside an organization.

References

  • Bhattacharya, C. B. and et.al., 2017. Corporate social responsibility. Journal of International Law. 26(2).
  • Buckler, S., 2017. Imagined Communities Incorporated: Corporate Social Responsibility and Value Creation in a Globalised World. In Corporate Social Responsibility pp. 3-22. Springer, Cham.
  • Christensen, A. M. S., 2018. What Is Ethical Cannot be Taught’–Understanding Moral Theories as Descriptions of Moral Grammar. Routledge.
  • Ewest, T., 2018. The Challenges Within Ethical Leadership Theories. In Prosocial Leadership (pp. 23-42). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
  • Grayson, D. and Hodges, A., 2017. Corporate social opportunity!: Seven steps to make corporate social responsibility work for your business. Routledge.
  • Gupta, A., Briscoe, F. and Hambrick, D C., 2017. Red, blue, and purple firms: Organizational political ideology and corporate social responsibility. Strategic Management Journal. 38(5). pp.1018-1040.
  • Husted, B. W. and Filho, J. M., 2017. The impact of sustainability governance, country stakeholder orientation, and country risk on environmental, social, and governance performance. Journal of cleaner production. 155. pp.93-102.
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