Chapter Summaries

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CHAPTER SUMMARY – CHAPTER 1 – ETHICS IN THE WORLD OF BUSINESS

Frequently, the ethically correct course of action is clear, and people in business act accordingly. Exceptions occur when there is uncertainty about ethical obligations in particular situations or when considerations of ethics come into conflict with the practical demands of business. In deciding on an ethical course of action, we can rely to some extent on the rules of right conduct that we employ in everyday life. However, business activity also has some features that might limit the applicability of our ordinary ethical views. One distinguishing feature of business is its economic character which can be summarized as the conduct of buyers and seller and employers and employees. A second distinguishing feature of business is that it typically takes place in organizations which is a hierarchical system of functionally defined positions designed to achieve some goal or set of goals. Because business involves economic relations and transactions that take place in markets and also in organizations, it raises ethical issues for which the ethics of everyday life has not prepared us. Decisions making occurs on several distinct levels: the level of the individual, the organization, and the business system. The level of the individual represents situations that confront them in the workplace and require them to make a decision about their own well-being. The level of the organization can be identified as a decision which must be made by an individual acting on behalf of the organization bringing about some organizational change. The level of the business system can be summarized as a decision which can be made by neither an individual nor a single organization; rather, it is a decision which is agreed to industry wide. Identification of the appropriate level for a decision has been…...

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