Moral and ethics in business

Imagine you run a fairly successful business. Somewhere along the road you face choices where concluding a business deal means going against generally accepted as well as personal morals and ethics. Is moral compromise - undermining personal integrity - unavoidable in business? It is not given that business associates and partners have the same moral integrity as your-self and there is a reasonable limit as to how far you can go in inducing personal moral on business negotiations, decision-making and implementation processes or so you might think. In fact, having moral courage would tell you to act according to own moral or ethics irrespective of what business partners would say. 

The issue of moral in business often take time to develop. We are talking about business cultures and while it is easy to talk about the importance of moral integrity it takes dedication and willingness to implement a morally defensible business culture.  Therefore, while no one is saying that doing business is immoral, one can certainly engage in arrangements that ultimately cause moral and ethical questions. This can be due to how business deals are concluded or moral implications of concluded business deals. Personal integrity in the sense of strong morals can be a motor as well as hindrance for successful business, yet not if we look at what serves the common good. 

Clearly there are others that will feel the impact of the way one runs a business and therefore one should and have to think of the societal effects of any business strategy. Businesses or corporations must have the common good in mind taking into consideration how their actions impact the society within which they operate. Ultimately, morality and ethics does matter and has to form an integral part of any decision making process. The common good is hardly an immoral business culture. In this one could also question whether the end justifies the means. If morality matters, it means that companies like human beings should be held responsible according to moral standards – that being relative to how business deals are concluded to the actual impact of those same deals. 

Most business and corporations have anti-corruption guidelines, code of conduct or similar regulations outlining ethics in various processes. Yet ultimately, state authorities outlines the rules of the game, and companies are expected to play along the rules to the best of their ability. The extent to which this is controlled would vary from country to country and naturally also with the level of corruption within the economy. Many companies enjoy a certain confidence by state authorities and are less inclined to go through strict controls. This is easy to take advantage of. Media headlines tell us that many unfortunately choose to do so.  

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