Reasons for Studying Business Ethics


Studying business ethics is valuable for several reasons:

A Good Citizen Organization

Business ethics is not merely an extension of an individual's own personal ethics. Many people believe that if a company hires good people with strong ethical values, then it will be a “good citizen organization. Professionals in any field, including business, must deal with individual's personal moral dilemmas because these issues affect everyones ability to function on the job. Normally, a business does not establish rules or policies on personal ethical issues such as sex, or the use of alcohol outside the workplace; indeed, in some cases, such policies would be illegal. Only when a person ™s preferences or values influence his or her performance on the job do an individuals ethics play a major role in the evaluation of business decisions.

Business is Different

Many people who have limited business experience suddenly find themselves making decisions about product quality, advertising, pricing, sales techniques, hiring practices, and pollution control. The values they learned from family, religion, and school may not provide specific guidelines for these complex business decisions. In other words, a persons experiences and decisions at home, in school, and in the community may be quite different from his or her experiences and decisions at work. Many business ethics decisions are close calls. In addition, managerial responsibility for the conduct of others requires knowledge of ethics and compliance processes and systems. Years of experience in a particular industry may be required to know what is acceptable.


Studying business ethics will help you begin to identify ethical issues when they arise and recognize the approaches available for resolving them. You will also learn more about the ethical decision making process and about ways to promote ethical behavior within your organization. By studying business ethics, you may begin to understand how to cope with conflicts between your own personal values and those of the organization in which you work.


Ferrell, O., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell, L. (2011). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases (8th Ed.). Mason: Cengage Learning.