How Does Someone Determine what is Ethical?

Discussion Post Requirements

Read the feedback to your own major postings and reply to it throughout the week. Respond in one of the following ways:

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  • Share an insight from having read your peer’s post.
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  • Validate an idea with your own experience.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Minimum of 200 words

Post 2 – Perkins C

Hall states that ethics “pertains to the principles of conduct that individuals use in making choices and guiding their behavior in situations that involve the concepts of right or wrong”. So, how does someone determine what is ethical? Most people have an ethical belief from their social upbringing and their family beliefs to what constitutes right and wrong. Not everyone believes the same way.

On the other hand, there are legal issues. Legal issues are clearly right or wrong because they are governed by a set of rules, also known as laws. Legal issues are also punishable by law, where as ethical issues are not. Legal issues and ethical issues do cross paths, but they are not always one in the same. What is legal someone may deem as unethical and what is illegal someone may deem as ethical.

There are two things when it comes to business ethics, how does a manager determine what is right in conducting business and how to achieve it. It is a manager’s ethical responsibility to balance the conflicting responsibilities to employees, shareholders, customers and the public. This can be difficult to do, the manager must make decisions with the least amount of risk to everyone but the greatest amount of benefit, and do it legally.

Since the illegal activities of senior officers of Enron, WorldCom and other companies, congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and section 406 deals with ethics. Public companies are now required to disclose a code of ethics that applies to senior officers. If there is not a code of ethics in place there needs to be disclosure of why. Although SOX requires the code of ethics for senior officers, all company employees should abide by it. If everyone abides by a company’s written code of ethics it is less likely they will have legal issues.