Business Ethics Essay

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1. Business ethics application to sizable corporations and small scale businesses Introduction Business ethics is largely associated with big companies. They are more high profile and thus attract more media attention and they are particularly concerned to protect and enhance their reputations with the broader public as well as key stakeholders. They are also often better-resourced and more able to invest in business ethics. However, business ethics is important for small and medium-sized enterprises as well. Size matters, not so much in whether an SME should engage in business ethics but in relation to why and how? To appreciate the relevance of business ethics to SMEs, we need first to examine the meaning of business ethics and why companies give attention to it; we can then turn to what business ethics means to SMEs given their characteristics and how they differ from large corporates. There are many definitions of business ethics. Fundamentally, however, business ethics refers to the obligations of the firm to society or, more specifically, the firm’s stakeholders—those affected by corporate policies and practices. The EU’s widely-disseminated definition stresses that business ethics is voluntary, goes beyond what the law requires, and is an integral part of the business: it is “a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with stakeholders on a voluntary basis. It is about enterprises deciding to go beyond the minimum legal requirements and obligations stemming from collective agreements in order to address societal needs.” This is a recent definition, but it is not a new idea. Not a New Idea The idea that business has societal obligations was evident at least as early as the nineteenth century. Visionary business leaders in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution

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