Evaluation of Four Views of Ethical Behavior

By September 5, 2017 Accounting

Traditionally, the chief concern of concerns was net income devising. Businesss rarely devoted their concern to the chase of societal and environmental alteration. In the past 20 old ages, the corporate universe has realized that moralss is of import to their concerns. The instances affecting Enron, Global Crossing and WorldCom argue that these dirts of corporate dishonesty and cheating are considered as the unethical behaviour ensuing in the prostration on corporate finance and repute. Havers ( 1999 ) suggested that ethical image can construct company good will and trueness among clients. Therefore, it may increase the profitableness of a company. Furthermore, there is force per unit area on concern to acknowledge its duty to society. Businesss are required to believe about the impact of their determinations on stakeholders who are straight or indirectly affected by these determinations ( Havers 1999 ) . In other words,

“ if a concern does non move with unity in relation to its people, its clients or the community, it is non likely to bask the sort of repute that will maintain good people in its employ, to maintain clients coming back for its merchandises or services ” ( Ralph 2001, pp. 22 )

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This paper will measure the four alternate positions of ethical behaviour and explicate how these positions are related to definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility. First, this paper will lend to analyse and measure the four alternate positions of ethical behaviour from the position of theory and instance survey. Then, within the reappraisal of definitions of Corporate Social Responsibilities, this paper will measure these definitions from four positions. Finally, the decision will be given in the concluding subdivision.

Four Alternate Positions of Ethical Behavior

As concerns became cognizant of the importance of concern moralss, executives have put a great trade of attempt into making codifications of moralss ( Blake & A ; Carroll 1989 ) . Codes of moralss have been seen as a manner to decide ethical quandary because they perform a map of acknowledging ethical issues but codifications are non sufficient as an option for single judgement because they facilitate coordination of economic behaviour ( Thomsen 2001 ) . By subscribing those codifications, frontline workers and supervisory and direction staff may hold received their first message about what the CEO expects of them. However, it is non certain that a codification of moralss can excite alterations in ethical behaviour. This subdivision will measure the four alternate positions of ethical behaviour and give the specific illustrations to explicate these four positions.

Utilitarian View

Utilitarianism was the prevalent impression of justness in the late eighteenth and 19th centuries. In footings of Werhane & A ; Freeman ( 1997 ) , the theory of utilitarianism argues the thought that the good things are being done by making the right things. Utilitarians accept the thought that the public assistance of society as a whole can be maximized at the disbursal of some. This theory on ethical behaviour assumes that the determination and behaviour from directors and employees will significantly lend to the greatest good of the most people and the benefits for the whole society. Bentham, described as the laminitis of traditional Utilitarianism, proposed that value judgements would be accepted by the normally recognized norm for societal benefits and statute law ( Velasquez, 1992 ) . Freidman supported useful position since this position may be to a great extent based on the higher grade of freedom of market. For illustration, although useful position promotes the rapid development of developed states, such as UK, US and Australia, environmental pollution is considered as the neglected facet of development.

Individual View

The value of individuality is based on independency and doing picks for oneself. An person has “ the right to move as an independent agent ” ( Kitchener, 1984a, pp. 46 ) . The right to privacy illustrates that persons have the right to do determinations about their ain lives and the information relevant to it. There are two limitations to the rule of single. First, person does non intend limitless freedom and can non conflict the other rights, do so any injury or strip them of their rights. Second, person is related to competency. If an person is wholly unable to do rational idea and determinations or act on them, they are non independent. Whether we have to esteem an person ‘s pick depends on whether the decision-making procedure is a rational 1. However, there are no absolute standards to find reason and competency. For case, during the period of Industrial Revolution in Great Britain, single position consequences in the value creative activity and opportunism for houses ‘ proprietors. Child labour and environmental pollution are resulted from this position kept by houses ‘ proprietors ( Lenard, 1992 ) .

Justice View

Justice is frequently summarized as ‘fairness ‘ by moral philosophers ( Benn, 1967 ) . It refers to the committedness of directors and employees to supply equal and just intervention to all clients. This position implies that all people are entitled to equal entree to merchandises and service, irrespective of their age, sex, race, socio-economic position, faith, instruction degree, civilization, life style, disablement, and ethnicity. The issue of justness arises because the merchandises and service in our society are non limitless. As a consequence, we have to “ develop regulations and processs for judging claims and administering goods and services in a just mode ” ( Kitchener, 1984b, pp. 49 ) . Beauchamp and Childress ( 1979 ) traced the definition of justness to Aristotle that equal individuals have the right to be treated every bit and non-equal individuals have a right to be treated otherwise if the inequality is irrelevant to the issue in inquiry. Evidence has to be presented to warrant the different intervention. Justice becomes a legal issue if it involves people ‘s civil rights, physical or sexual torment and other incidents of illegal favoritism. For illustration, the fiscal accounting cheating and dishonesty Enron, considered as unjust and unethical behaviour, makes Enron take the advantages beyond other companies ( Fusaro and Miller 2002 ) .

Moral-rights View

This position concentrates on the cardinal rights of all human existences. Since the thought of human rights is complex and steadily germinating. There is no agreed-upon definition of “ human rights ” that covers all facets of the impression. Human unity, freedom and equality are considered as the three of import facets of human being. For illustration, in workplace environment, unethical behaviour may concentrate on sexual torment, and the limitation of freedom. For illustration, along with the extremist development of globalisation and outsourcing, transnational corporates in developed states integrated and transformed the production from fatherland to developing states with lower production cost. Nike and child labour in Pakistan has been considered as the remarked instance, which director of Nike or local contractors in developing states earnestly violate local state ‘s jurisprudence and challenge society norms and moral ( Boggan 2001 ) .

In decision, utilitarianism and individuality dressed ore on the positive consequence for the whole society and opportunisms. However, moral-rights and justness position incline to concentrate on the equality, freedom and equity during the procedure of action.

The Understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility

This subdivision will analyse and measure the definition of corporate societal duty and explicate the impact of corporate societal duty on definitions of corporate societal duty. First, the definitions of corporate societal duty will be explained and evaluated. Then, this subdivision will explicate the definitions of corporate societal duty from the ethical behaviour position.

The term corporate societal duty has been in usage since the early 1950s. Ackerman ( 1975 ) noted that concerns were excessively concerned with fiscal consequences, which was suppressing societal reactivity. Others observed that companies ‘ exclusive intent was to do a net income ( Friedman 1970 ) and that they did non hold any duty hence to “ work out the universe ‘s jobs ” ( Reinhardt 1999, pp. 53 ) . On the other manus, McDonald and Puxty ( 1979 ) viewed CSR as a societal duty. These different types of societal duties were conceptualized into three chief types: economic duties, legal and ethical duties and philanthropic duties ( Corroll, 1979 ) . In the 90s, the tendency headed towards the construct of CSR being regarded as a portion of administration. However, a figure of research workers reject the thought that CSR is a societal duty, get downing that it is unjust for corporations to be responsible for society as a whole and that CSR should merely concentrate on those who straight or indirectly affect or are affected by corporate activities ( Wood and Jones 1995 ) . Furthermore, Balabanis et Al. ( 1998 ) added that a company should be held accountable for any of its actions that affect people, communities and the environment in which those people or communities live. The term duty extends from strictly fiscal facets to environmental, societal and community issues. Corporations should non merely be responsible to their stockholders, but since companies exist within society they should hence hold duties to society as a whole.

CSR is a wide construct and it is still looking for a common definition ( McWilliams & A ; Siegel 2001 ; Garriga & A ; Mele 2004 ; Kakabadse et Al. 2007 ) . In order to grok the assorted points of positions of faculty members about Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR ) , Kakabadse et Al. ( 2007 ) have produced a list of definitions of CSR that covers the CSR argument over the last 50 old ages. Table 2.1 nowadayss definitions of CSR coined over a period of clip.

Table 2.1 CSR Definitions by Assorted Academias



Bowen ( 1953 )

CSR refers to the duties of concern to prosecute those policies, to do those determinations or to follow those lines of action which are desirable in footings of the aims and values of our society.

Frederick ( 1960 )

Social duty in the concluding analysis implies a public position towards society ‘s economic and human resources and a willingness to see that those resources are used for wide societal terminals and non merely for the narrowly limited involvements of private individuals and houses.

Friedman ( 1962 )

There is one, and merely one, societal duty of concern – to utilize

its resources and prosecute in activities designed to increase its net incomes so long as it stays within the regulations of the game which is to state, prosecute in unfastened and free competition without misrepresentation or fraud.

Davis and Blomstrom

( 1966 )

Social duty refers to a individual ‘s duty to see the effects of their determinations and actions on the whole societal system.

Andrews ( 1973 )

CSR is a balance between voluntary restraint of net income maximization, sensitiveness to the societal costs of economic activity and to the chance to concentrate corporate power aims that are possible but sometimes less economically attractive than socially desirable.

Arrow ( 1973 )

Firms ‘ought to ‘ maximize net income harmonizing to their societal duty since concern net income represents the net part that the house makes to the societal good. On this footing, net income should be every bit big as possible and merely be limited by jurisprudence and ethical codifications.

Sethi ( 1975 )

Social duty implies conveying corporate behaviour up to a degree where it is congruous with the predominating societal norms, values and outlooks of public presentation.

Carroll ( 1979 )

The societal duty of a concern encompasses the economic, legal ethical and discretional outlooks that society has of organisations at a given point in clip.

Jones ( 1980 )

Corporate societal duty is the impression that corporations have an duty to constituent groups in society other than shareholders and beyond that prescribed by jurisprudence and brotherhood contract.

Wood ( 1991 )

The basic thought of corporate societal duty is that concern and society are inter-woven instead than distinguishable entities.

Bloom and Gundlach ( 2000 )

CSR is the duty of the house to its stakeholders-people and groups-who can impact or who are affected by corporate policies and patterns. These duties go beyond legal demands and the company ‘s responsibilities to its stockholders. The fulfilment of these duties is intended to minimise any injury and maximise the long tally good impact of the house on society.

Baker ( 2003 )

CSR is about how companies manage concern procedures to bring forth an overall positive impact of the house on society.

Van Marrewijk ( 2003 )

CSR is associated with the Communion facet of people and organisations. Whilst corporate sustainability ( CS ) is associated with the bureau rule. Therefore, CSR relates to phenomenon such as transparence, stakeholder duologue and sustainability coverage, while CS focuses on value creative activity, environmental direction, environmental friendly production systems, human capital direction and so forth.

Crowther and Rayman-Bacchus ( 2004 )

CSR in its broadest definition is concerned with what is-or should be-the relationship between the planetary corporation, authoritiess and single citizens whilst in its more local context it is concerned with the relationship between a corporation and its local society in which it resides or operates, or with the relationship between a corporation and its stakeholders.

Beginning: Kakabadse et Al. ( 2007 )

The set of definitions given in the tabular array above can be segregated into two groups, one group comprises of the faculty members who attach importance to gain maximization while a bulk of faculty members in the other group hold the concern responsible to all the stakeholders, non merely to the stockholders. There are a figure of other definitions that emphasize the importance of making a balance in the involvements of all the stakeholders of a concern entity. Hopkins ( 2003 ) defines CSR as concern with handling the stakeholders of the house ethically or in a responsible mode. About all the definitions of CSR give a really general thought about the duty of concern towards its stakeholders.

From the ethical behaviour position, useful positions could to a great extent affect the definitions of CSR. For illustration, the definitions of Bowen ( 1953 ) , Frederick ( 1960 ) , Davis and Blomstrom ( 1966 ) , Baker ( 2003 ) , Wood ( 1991 ) , Arrow ( 1973 ) and Jones ( 1980 ) , which affected by Utilitarianism, slope to concentrate on the value and public assistance creative activity of the whole society and the good for the most people. However, Friedman ( 1970 ) emphasizes on the single position. However, from my apprehension, the spectrum of value creative activity of useful position is wider than single position. Mentioning to justness position, the definitions of Crowther and Rayman-Bacchus ( 2004 ) , Carroll ( 1979 ) and Sethi ( 1975 ) stress on societal justness. The Van Marrewijk ( 2003 ) , Bloom and Gundlach ( 2000 ) and Andrew ( 1973 ) inclined to concentrate on moral-rights.

Furthermore, in footings of Carroll ( 1979 ) , they are economic duty, legal duty, ethical duty, and discretional duty. However, merely the ethical and discretional duties are under the class of societal duty. As Table 2.2 shown, different sorts of duty serve different groups of stakeholder with different intent. Economic duties are to make value to clients by doing usage of its competitory advantages ( Afuah 2004 ) . Value generates net income, which is to be paid houses ‘ stockholders, creditors, employees, authoritiess and coopetitors. Legal duties are about obeying the regulations, ordinances and Torahs enacted by the authorities in the countries where it operates. Any misdemeanor of its legal duties perchance puts the house into a competitively disadvantageous place because it can confront penalties runing from simple mulcts to expiration of concern.

Table 2.2 Firm ‘s Responsibilities to Its Stakeholders

























Local Communities








Merely ethical and discretional duties are societal duties. Both are non required by jurisprudence but valued by society and stakeholders. The ethical duty is sick defined since different state has different acceptableness about unethical activities. For illustration, kid labour is regarded as unethical by developed states while developing states may hold opposite position. Discretionary duties can be seen as subscribers or attentions to the community done by houses. Although some bookmans province that societal duties create values and net incomes to house, there is another group of bookmans disagrees with this point of view. They argue that a house has no concern executing socially responsible activities which are supported to be the concern of the authorities alternatively. While bookmans on the other side insist that puting socially responsible activities is a good scheme to increase house ‘s stock value.


This paper has evaluated and explained the four alternate positions of ethical behaviour including useful position, single position, justness position and moral-rights position and construe the definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility from the position of four positions. As the old shown, utilitarianism may to a great extent influence the definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility. However, some writers, such as Crowther and Rayman-Bacchus ( 2004 ) , Carroll ( 1979 ) , Sethi ( 1975 ) , Van Marrewijk ( 2003 ) , Bloom and Gundlach ( 2000 ) and Andrew ( 1973 ) , concentrated on the justness and moral-rights positions, which focus on the equality and freedom of the ethical decision-making and action procedure.

However, single position could be paid less attending to in the development of the definition of Corporate Social Responsibility. The human rights of single positions are considered as the cardinal right of workplace environment.


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