They should not engage in bribery. However, it is not always easy to create similar hard-and-fast definitions of good ethical practice. A company must make a competitive return for its shareholders and treat its employees fairly. A company also has wider responsibilities. It should minimise any harm to the environment and work in ways that do not damage the communities in which it operates. This is known as corporate social responsibility.
The law is the key starting point for any business. Most leading businesses also have their own statement of Business Principles which set out their core values and standards.
A business should also follow relevant codes of practice that cover its sector. Many companies have created voluntary codes of practice that regulate practices in their industrial sector. These are often drawn up in consultation with governments, employees, local communities and other stakeholders. Thus the Principles provide guidance on how both private and public security forces assigned to protect a mining operation or an oil and gas facility should be vetted, trained in human rights, monitored and controlled.
Anglo American also aims to ensure that it plays a role in protecting the human rights of its employees and local people in countries in which it operates.
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The company supports the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. All companies need to make a profit. Indeed a long-term business such as ours will only thrive if it also takes into account the needs of other stakeholders such as governments, employees, suppliers, communities and customers.
Most ethical dilemmas in the workplace are not simply a matter of "Should Bob steal from Jack? Many ethicists assert there's always a right thing to do based on moral principle, and others believe the right thing to do depends on the situation -- ultimately it's up to the individual.
Business Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Many philosophers consider ethics to be the "science of conduct. Philosophers have been discussing ethics for at least years, since the time of Socrates and Plato.
Many ethicists consider emerging ethical beliefs to be "state of the art" legal matters, i. Values which guide how we ought to behave are considered moral values, e.
Asian Journal of Business Ethics
Statements around how these values are applied are sometimes called moral or ethical principles. Ethics Value at Work Wallace and Pekel explain that attention to business ethics is critical during times of fundamental change -- times much like those faced now by businesses, both nonprofit or for-profit. In times of fundamental change, values that were previously taken for granted are now strongly questioned. Many of these values are no longer followed. Consequently, there is no clear moral compass to guide leaders through complex dilemmas about what is right or wrong.
Attention to ethics in the workplace sensitizes leaders and staff to how they should act. Perhaps most important, attention to ethics in the workplaces helps ensure that when leaders and managers are struggling in times of crises and confusion, they retain a strong moral compass. However, attention to business ethics provides numerous other benefits, as well these benefits are listed later in this document. Note that many people react that business ethics, with its continuing attention to "doing the right thing," only asserts the obvious "be good," "don't lie," etc.
For many of us, these principles of the obvious can go right out the door during times of stress. Consequently, business ethics can be strong preventative medicine.
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Anyway, there are many other benefits of managing ethics in the workplace. These benefits are explained later in this document. Organizations can manage ethics in their workplaces by establishing an ethics management program. They provide guidance in ethical dilemmas. Business people need more practical tools and information to understand their values and how to manage them. According to Wallace, "A credo generally describes the highest values to which the company aspires to operate.
Some business ethicists disagree that codes have any value. Usually they explain that too much focus is put on the codes themselves, and that codes themselves are not influential in managing ethics in the workplace. Many ethicists note that it's the developing and continuing dialogue around the code's values that is most important. If your organization is quite large, e. Codes should not be developed out of the Human Resource or Legal departments alone, as is too often done.
Codes are insufficient if intended only to ensure that policies are legal. All staff must see the ethics program being driven by top management. Note that codes of ethics and codes of conduct may be the same in some organizations, depending on the organization's culture and operations and on the ultimate level of specificity in the code s. Perhaps too often, business ethics is portrayed as a matter of resolving conflicts in which one option appears to be the clear choice.