The Ethics Of Corporate Responsibilities And Business Philosophy
The first thing we can say to show how difficult is this debate is that it is not easy to define the concepts of corporate responsibility and business ethics. Unfortunately, there are no clear, widely-accepted definitions available for these terms. In particular corporate responsibility is used in many different ways by different groups.
Indeed, there are several definitions for the concept of Corporate Responsibility. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development in its publication "Making Good Business Sense" by Lord Holme and Richard Watts used the following definition. "Corporate Social Responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large". The European Commission gives this definition: "A concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment. A concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basisï¿½. And if we kept searching we would find tens of others definitions with slight differences.
Ethics are considered the moral standards by which people judge behavior. Business ethics are ethics that refer to the moral rules and regulations governing the business world. In other words, they are the moral values that guide the way corporations or other business make decisions.
The second point that can be highlighted in this introduction is that there are many different argumentation and theories for corporate responsibility and ethics. And this makes difficult the comparison of the two concepts because some CR arguments are in contradiction with themselves and that is the same for some ethics arguments. Moreover, everybody does not recognize CR and ethics as an obligation for companies. There are arguments in favor and against.
We can already point out that when we speak about CR and ethics we raise the debate of profits and moral.
That is why in a first part we will discuss the similarities and differences between the CR and the ethical argumentation. Then we will try to analyze what happens when a company faces a dilemma (i.e. what happens when doing the profitable is not ethical?). And finally we will discuss about the conclusions and see if those one are different whether a company follows a CR or an ethical line of argumentation.
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