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Ethics

"The true test of character is not


how much we know how to do,
but how we behave when we
don't know what to do."
-John Holt
What are ethics?
Ethical vs. legal
Who establishes what is ethical?
Personally
Professionally

Is it a problem?
A national survey published in Education
Week found that:
54% of students admitted to plagiarizing from the
Internet
74% of students admitted that at least once
during the past school year they had engaged in
"serious" cheating
47% of students believe their teachers sometimes
choose to ignore students who are cheating.
Academic Ethics-
McCabe & Trevino (1993):
2 out of 3 college students admitted to
engaging in some sort of questionable
academic behavior.
38% of students admitted to explicit test
cheating while in college, and 84% admitted
to having cheated on written assignments.
Why Study Ethics?
A recent survey of Fortune 500 companies
found ethics training to be the #1 recognized
need.
U.S. industries lose $400 billion/ yr from
unethical and criminal behavior.
20% of employees report they have been
asked to do something unethical at work, of
those, 41% complied.


What influences ethical behavior in
organizations?
Internal Organizational Factors
External Organizational Factors
Individual Factors
Internal Organizational Factors
Ethical code
Organizational culture
Organization size
Corporate strategy
External Organizational Factors
Political/ legal system
National culture

Individual Factors
Personality
Values
Others?

Business Ethics:
Forms of Moral Relativism
NAIVE RELATIVISM-
Im o.k., youre o.k.
ROLE RELATIVISM-
I was only doing my job
SOCIAL GROUP RELATIVISM-
Everyones doing it
CULTURAL RELATIVISM-
When in Rome....


Business Ethics:
Alternatives to Moral Relativism
The UTILITARIAN view-
Majority rule
The greatest good for all (on average)
The INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS view-
Fundamental rights for each human being
The JUSTICE view-
Fairness on a case by case basis
Fair distributions of costs and benefits

Codes of Ethics
Company Codes of Ethics
Professional Codes of Ethics
General conduct and responsibilities
Special topics
Goal= alignment of actions with values

Managing Ethical Conduct
Unconcerned
Damage Control
Compliance
Ethical Culture
Overall: How to Improve Ethical
Climates
Behave ethically yourself
Screen potential employees
Develop a meaningful code of ethics
Provide ethics training
Reinforce ethical behavior

Social Responsibility
Duty to avoid harm to stakeholders
Duty to consider overall betterment of society