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Business ethics

“Business ethics is the study of business situations, activities, and decisions where issues of right and wrong are addressed.” It is worth stressing that by ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ we mean morally right and wrong as opposed to, for example, commercially, strategically, or financially right or wrong. Moreover, by ‘business’ ethics, we do not mean only commercial businesses, but also government organizations, pressure groups, not-for-profit businesses, charities, and other organizations. For example, questions of how to manage employees fairly, or what rules deception in advertising, are equally as important for organizations such as Bank Muamalath, the Oxford University, or the NGOs’. However, given the high profile of ethical issues in relation to commercial businesses, it is these types of businesses that are mostly focused on in general.

Business ethics and the law Having defined business ethics in terms of issues of right and wrong, one might quite naturally question whether this is in any way distinct from the law. Surely, the law is also about issues of right and wrong? This is true, and there is indeed considerable overlap between ethics and the law. In fact, the law is essentially an institutionalization or systemizing of ethics into specific social rules, regulations, and prohibition. Still, the two are not equivalent. Perhaps the best way of thinking about ethics and the law is in terms of two intersecting areas. The law might be said to be a definition of the minimum acceptable standards of behavior. However, many morally contestable issues, whether in business or elsewhere, are not explicitly covered by the law.

In one sense then, business ethics can be said to begin where the law ends. Business ethics is primarily concerned with those issues not covered by the law, or where there is no definite general agreement on whether something is right or wrong. Discussion about the ethics of particular business practices may eventually lead to legislation once some kind of general agreement is reached, but for most of the issues of interest to business ethics, the law typically does not currently provide us with guidance. So as far as we know about what is right and wrong in business , we should pay attention on the ethical values of business and try to get a clear knowledge about the conducts of the business activities.

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