Am I Messing It Up? Frequent Ethical Issues in Business
Business is a very important element of human societies, contributing with efficient and innovative solutions of human needs, creating and distributing economic value. Moreover, many people work in business in different positions and functions, where they (can) serve the needs of others and society, enter into professional and personal relationships, learn and grow individually. In a word, business is in itself good, an honest profession. However, like in any other human activity, managing business offers many chances to misbehave. Besides common features of human action, business is a demanding and technically complex environment, driven by strong incentives, that are sometimes misleading. Business is a sphere of society shaped by its own culture and social norms, sometimes at odds with moral principles, legal norms and social demands. The allure of success, money, innovation, social recognition, etc. -or simply the pressing needs of making a living- might distort judgement. This note explores common business ethics issues, organized by business function. Its purpose is to help any person to identify the typical problems that arise in her workplace, and understand the need to avoid them. For people in positions of top management, this note is also helpful to understand the issues that other colleagues, employees, suppliers, etc., might encounter.