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Ethical Issues

1.    Ethical Issues Related to society.

At the societal level, we ask questions about the basic institutions in a society. The problem of apartheid in South Africa as a societal-level question: Is it ethically correct to have a social system in which a group of people-indeed, the majority-is systematically denied basic rights? Although recent changes in South Africa have ended the apartheid system, it is difficult to project how smoothly the transition to equality will go. Companies wishing to does business there still face a complex set of issues as political, economic, and social dynamites change; the situation can still present an ethical conundrum for many companies.

Another societal-level question concerns the merits of capitalism. Is capitalism a just system for allocating resources? What role should the government play in regulating the marketplace? Should we tolerate gross inequalities of wealth, status, and power? For some people, the relatively huge increases in executive compensation in the past decade or so in the United States are part of this issue. For example, in the United states form 1980 to 1990 , while worker pay increased 53 percent and corporate profits 78 percent , CEO pay rose by 212 percent. In 1980 the chief executive’s average pay was $624,247 in total pay-57 times what factory workers earned. By way of contrast, in Japan CEOs make less than 32 times as much as the rank-and-file. In 1992 there were only eight Japanese CEOs whose compensation was over a million dollars.

Societal-level questions usually represent an ongoing debate among major competing institutions. As managers and individuals, each of us can try to shape that debate. Andrew Carnegie (along with other early theorists of corporate social responsibility) worked at this level when he argued than the proper role of a business such as his won U.S. Steel was to apply the principles of charity to assist the poor and unfortunate.

2.    Ethical Issues Related to Stakeholders.

The second kind of ethical questions concerns stakeholders-suppliers, customers, shareholders, and the rest. Here we ask question about how a company should deal with the external groups affected by its decision, as well as how the stakeholders should deal with the company.

There are many stakeholder issues. Insider trading is one; another is company’s obligation to inform its customers about the potential dangers of its products. What obligations does a company have to its suppliers? To the communities where it operates? To its stock-holders? How should we attempt to decide such matters? Kinko’s managers face the ethical question of whether to respect the right of copyright holders as stakeholders.

3.    Internal Policy.

A third category of ethics might be called “internal policy.” Here we ask questions about the nature of company’s relations with its employees. What kind of employment contract is fair?  What are the mutual obligations of manager’s and orders? What rights do employees have? These questions, too, pervade the workday of a managers. Layoffs, benefits, work rules, motivation, and leadership are all ethical concerns here.

4.    Personal Issues.

 Here we ask questions about how people should treat one another witching an organization. Should we honest with one another whatever the consequences? What obligations do we have-both as human beings and as worker who fill specific work roles-to our bosses, our employees, and our peers?  

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