What are the different types of business ethics research?

Business ethics research involves examining how ethical decisions are managed within a company.

There are many different types of business ethics research and there are many different ethical systems in the world. Ethics does not necessarily help a company make more money, but it can promote company pride and maintain a sense of personal morality. Business ethics research often investigates how ethics is applied today, which is a descriptive type of research, but it can also be used to examine the role ethics should play in business, which can be considered a prescriptive form of research. Almost all researchers understand, to some extent, that behavior qualified as ethical depends on culture and society, therefore, it is not necessarily a universal truth.

Among the different types of research on business ethics, one of the most important is research on effects on a macro scale. While almost anyone can understand that operating a business that breaks the law or exploits human life is wrong, it can be more difficult to see how decisions made about how to run a business can affect people all over the world. Deciding who to hire and from where, for example, can be considered an important ethical decision. Money can save or ruin lives, and unethical business practices can ruin entire areas.

Another type of business ethics research involves examining how ethical decisions are managed within a company and in what contexts ethical standards can be violated. It has been shown that people who feel powerful have a tendency to act in ways that even they themselves find unethical. Likewise, people who don’t feel responsible for their actions often violate their own moral standards. Research into when and why people act immorally can be used by companies to implement checks and balances in the decision-making process, making it harder for people to feel empowered to act unethically.

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Business ethics research is often divided into areas such as sales, marketing, and human resources, but these different types of research all ask the same questions about ethics and morality, although they approach the subject from different perspectives. Even with each business area covered, only a perspective that looks at the company as a whole, both from an internal and an external perspective, can truly tell whether an action is ethical. No company can predict every possible outcome of a potential decision, but companies can make a good faith effort to do their research and act in a way they deem moral. One of the most important steps that business ethics research has taken is the widespread acceptance of the idea that ethics and good business are complementary and not incompatible values ​​for a company.

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