Mgt/216 - Organizational Ethics and Social Responsibility

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Ethics Issue Paper

Marshall Keene


University of Phoenix

November 1, 2009

Ethics provide individuals with guidelines for the proper approach to interacting with people and situations that arise daily. Ethics are principles which govern the proper conduct of individuals (Velasquez, Andre, Shanks, & Meyer, 1987). Ethics are values such as truthfulness, consideration and faithfulness that dictate what should be done given a certain set of circumstances (Velasquez, Andre, Shanks, & Meyer, 1987). Ethical standards not only pertain to how individuals interact with each other and within a society, but how society gauges the individual.

Ethical standards do not only apply to the individual but to businesses as well. Business ethics are the principles of conduct that an organization uses to carry out its day-to-day interactions within the business community, its customers and its employees (Crystal, 2009). In today’s fast paced business climate, managing organizational ethics is an enduring battle. Strong organizational ethics or values impact not only the fiscal success of and individual business, but have the capacity to impact the community as well.

In an effort to manage organizational ethics, numerous organizations establish internal ethics committees to administer to the exact nature of the corporation’s culture. These committees are responsible for drafting official ethical codes of conduct that all employees are familiarized with during training programs. An organizational code of conduct provides employees with an idea of the organization’s ethical culture. However, creating and adopting company-wide ethical codes does not prevent all unethical behavior within or emanating from a company.

One corporate giant that has frequently found itself featured as a news headline due to unethical business practices is Wal-Mart. Ethical concerns that Wal-Mart has publically faced...