According to the Webster's Dictionary business ethics is defined as "the study and examination of moral and social responsibility in relation to business practices and decision-making in business". It is necessary to have to bridge of trust between the quintessential businessman and the average person trying to accomplish something. One could more easily understand this theory by remembering a life lesson that was taught by almost every parent in the word in one way or another, which is of course The Golden Rule. The Golden Rule states, "do unto others as you would do unto yourself". This is all well and good to talk about in theory, but when it comes to making money people can become less then admirable. In the business world there are many different kinds of people, some believe in equality and fairness, some are concerned about their bank accounts and thats all, but one thing is for sure and that is that they are all as aggressive as people come. It just so happens that some of the people that believe in fairness and equality have set up rules and guidelines to help govern and guide business people to do the right thing with all parties involved. While there are general ethical rules that apply to almost all types of business, there are more specific rules and laws set up from within each respective bushiness industry. Each type of business has a different set of guidelines that protects the best interests of all involved.
Business ethics has been around in one way or another since people as a whole started conducting any kind of trade agreements. One can see how people as far back as the 1700’s B.C have set up trade agreement rules and regulations a seen in Hammurabi’s Code. This early form of business ethics shows a stiff punishment and little tolerance for people who break the ethical code. But Hammurabi’s Code was not the only early version of ethical guidelines and punishments. The ethical rules stated in the Ten Commandments of the Bible has influenced massive volumes of people in almost every way possible since around 200 B.C. Although, ethics as a strictly enforced practice of everyday business, is roughly forty years old.4 Raymond Baumhart started asking business people what they thought business ethics meant to them in 1961. He received a number of answers ranging from “I do not know what that means”, to “ethics has to do with my religion”, to “being ethical has to do with what the law requires” This is an interesting series of answers because it is exactly what one would expect. Business ethics is such a tough topic to nail down because no one person can say they feel exactly the same as the person next to them. Every person has a different idea of what they think business ethics means and that can be taken and changed in each and every situation. One person’s ethical decisions may completely change with the addition of money, or change if a persons employment is on the line. When it is all said and done ethical business decisions need vague guidelines to help keep all people on the same page as to what needs to be done and when. We have seen these guidelines throughout history, but in our day and age we need a more significant set of rules to govern our businessmen.
Many people agree on a set of twelve guidelines that every business executive should know inside and out and keep in mind with every decision made. They are, “honesty, integrity, promise keeping, loyalty, fairness, caring and concern for others, respect for others, law abiding, commitment to excellence, leadership, Reputation and morale, and accountability” I think these are exactly what can make the grey area of business ethics a more clear issue to deal with. Many people have been told to keep business and