The primary problem in applying Maslow’s hierarchy to ethics is that Maslow explores the motivations of the individual to act in his own benefit, whereas ethics most often considers the effect of actions upon others. If we don’t want more than to sell product, if we don’t enter into business with any idea other than making money, we are losing a big opportunity of using our position to make a difference. Carr compounds his error when he advises executives not to agonize over business decisions.
Aside of the roles described above, there are individuals who are members of the community in which a business operates and in which its products are used. This shouldn’t make any difference to us. Our values should always be the same and ethics should always be at the top of our business list. The difference between government ( 1 ) and business is in the absence of force.
In Carr’s view, everyone who enters the business arena accepts bluffing as permissible, just like everyone who enters a boxing ring accepts punching people as permissible. Within the modern corporation, responsibility for a corporate act is often distributed among a number of cooperating parties.
The second part of the module will address the issues, impacts of business on individual stakeholder groups and analyse business ethics and social responsibility in relation to each group. Business Ethics training is integrated in all on boarding programmes for new employees and in management development programmes.
The general public, as well as company stakeholders, have come to expect that corporations will conduct business ethically and with the highest regard for social accountability. I will show examples of both good and bad ethical decisions, and give you an example of how a company makes tough ethical decisions.