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Essay / Research Paper Abstract
A 3 page research paper that explores the increasing trend toward companies adopting ethical codes, and not placing profit as their sole priority. Bibliography lists 3 sources.
3 pages (~225 words per page)
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for American business has been?as Milton Friedman, the noted economist summed up thirty years ago?that "there is one and only one social responsibility of business?to use its resources and engage
in activities designed to increase its profits" (Anonymous 65). Business has always had a strong incentive to remain on the ethical side
of the law, since to do otherwise is to incur legal penalties and considerable unfavorable publicity (Anonymous 65). However, fear of embarrassment at the hands of NGOS (non-governmental organizations) and
the media has recently given business ethics a considerable push (Anonymous 65). For example, in 1995, Shell Oil suffered two blows to its reputation?the attempted disposal of the Brent
Spar oil rig in the North Sea and the failure of Shell to oppose the execution of a human-rights activists in Nigeria, a country where Shell has considerable influence (Anonymous
66). Due to these incidents, Shell has rewritten its business principles and worked harder to improve relations with NGOS. A spokesman for the company explained that these moves were motivated
primarily from a "sense of deep discomfort from our own people" (Anonymous 66). It would appear that people are happier working for companies that they perceive as ethical. Other companies
have also felt the pinch from NGOS. In fact, corporate code drafting, ethics offices, and training programs for ethical behavior can now be found in companies around the globe (Berenbeim
71). NGOS worldwide are challenging business-sector interests and have focused media attention on a number of corporate ethical practices, such as environmental responsibility, labor and workplace safety conditions (Berenbeim
71). On the other hands, critics of this trend still argue that ethics, as a system of inflexible moral beliefs, can impair business success and ineffectiveness because ethics programs