This course covers a range of ethical issues arising in today’s business operations. If a company’s purpose is to maximize shareholder returns, then sacrificing profits to other concerns is a violation of its fiduciary responsibility Corporate entities are legally considered as persons in USA and in most nations. Sir Philip Green, the company’s former proprietor, is due to meet the business committee this week, although he has been arrogantly trying to avoid this.
When Ed Miliband drew that line in a speech in 2011 he found himself in the press pillory reserved for politicians of the left whose rhetoric is insufficiently deferential to business. In this sense, the action of the business is influenced by the perceived future action of the intended customer.
Hsieh, N.-h, 2004, The Obligations of Transnational Corporations: Rawlsian Justice and the Duty of Assistance”, Business Ethics Quarterly, 14(4): 643-661. That a person may act in a way that harms himself is a less comfortable notion, but still seems to be beyond the scope of ethics.
Aside of the roles described above, there are individuals who are members of the community in which a business operates and in which its products are used. Facing the pressures from social media, some companies are boosting the transparency of their compliance efforts and are publicly sharing what has been learned from stumbles.
The licensing strategy used by the Trump organization may, in part, limit liability under both domestic bribery statutes and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act because licenses do not involve operational responsibility. And while the decision was made in the context of the institution, and for the benefit of the institution, the responsibility for the decision rests with an individual.