The Evolution of Business Ethics to Business Law

The Evolution of Business Ethics to Business Law

Ben Tran (Alliant International University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6433-3.ch009
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Abstract

Ethics in business ethics and law in business law are not as ambiguous, rhetorical, and esoteric as practitioners portray. Excuses as such have subconsciously become a habitus platinum safeguard against all wrongdoing. The usage of the habitus platinum safeguard is to defuse the unethical and malpractice of practitioners due to the ambiguous, rhetorical, and esoteric factors of and related to ethics in business ethics and law in business law. The ethical decision-making process, from ethics to law, involves five basic steps: moral awareness, moral judgment, ethical behavior, ethical behavior theorizing, and (business) law.
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The Evolution Of Business Ethics To Business Law

The word “ethics,” coined from the Latin word “ethics” and the Greek word “Ethikos,” pertains to character. Ethics is thus said to be the science of conduct. As a matter of fact, it deals with certain standard of human conduct and morals. The field of ethics involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Ethics is a mass of moral principals or set of value about what is right and what is wrong, true or false, fair or unfair, proper or improper, and what is right is ethical and what is wrong is unethical.

The concept of ethics, in business ethics, has been prompted from the status of “to which we dare not speak of,” to the status of taboo, to the status of oxymoron and mystery. Business ethics, it has now been claimed, is an oxymoron (Collins, 1994) and a mystery. By an oxymoron, it means the joining of two apparently contradictory concepts such as in “a cheerful pessimist” or “a deafening silence.” To say that business ethics is an oxymoron suggests there are not, or cannot be, ethics in business: that business is in some way unethical, or that it is, at best, amoral. However, by mystery, the word “ethics” means something esoteric and far removed from reality.

Business ethics is not mysterious. Business ethics is about people making decisions in organizations every day. Certainly, then, the revelations of corporate malpractice should not be interpreted to mean that thinking about ethics in business situations is entirely redundant. After all, as various researchers have shown, many everyday business activities require the maintenance of basic ethical standards, such as honesty, trustworthiness, and co-operation (Collins, 1994; Watson, 1994).

Similarly, it would be wrong to infer that scandals involving corporate wrongdoing mean that the subject of business ethics is in some way naïve or idealistic. Indeed, on the contrary, it can be argued that the subject of business ethics primarily exists in order to provide us with some answers as to why certain decisions should be evaluated as ethical or unethical, or right or wrong. Thus, there appears to be good reason to suggest that business ethics as a phenomenon, and a subject, is not an oxymoron. While there will inevitably be disagreements about what exactly constitutes “ethical” business activity, it is possible at least to offer fairly uncontroversial definition of the subject itself.

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