Companies with abusive or intimidating behavior dating again at 35
In such an economy, there is one and only one social responsibility of business—to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits, so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition, without deception or fraud." Thus the movement to embrace social responsibility has an ambiguous character.
It is not formally mandated but may be rewarded by customer and/or employee loyalty; it may also, indirectly, fend off intrusive legislation.
Establishing a statement of organizational values, for example, can provide employees—and the company as a whole—with a specific framework of expected behavior.
Such statements offer employees, business associates, and the larger community alike a consistent portrait of the company's operating principles—why it exists, what it believes, and how it intends to act to make sure that its activities dovetail with its professed beliefs.
Internally, therefore, ethical behavior is efficient, all else being equal.
Whether measurable or not business ethics has a positive "ROV." Business experts and ethicists alike point to a number of actions that owners and managers can take to help steer their company down the path of ethical business behavior.
This is why it so often goes undetected in the workplace, and your employees could be suffering because of it.
At the same time, there is an awareness abroad these days that corporations that set their sights no higher than bare legality may foster an environment where managers may slip across the border of legality and create disasters like the Enron bankruptcy in 2002.
Aside from the structural problems presented by the societal roles of business, corporate policies based on well-formulated ethical principles appear to produce real benefits. Millage recently reported in , about the findings of the "2005 National Business Ethics Survey" (NBES), conducted by the Ethics Resource Center.
This viewpoint has been long asserted by free market economists like Milton Friedman.
Friedman, in , criticized those who insisted that executives and business owners had a social responsibility beyond serving the interests or their stockholders, saying that such views showed "a fundamental misconception of the character and nature of a free economy.
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A more complex approach to this subject, used by many corporations, is based on the insight that high ethical values have positive consequences (in consumer acceptance, brand valuation, employee loyalty, and so on) which may be difficult to measure but are real.