Ethics and Social Responsibility Essay

1738 Words 7 Pages
Ethics is concerned with the study of morality and the application of reason to elucidate specific rules and principles that determine right and wrong for a given situation (Crane & Matten, 2010). Since law does not necessarily cover the morality of many controversial issues, moral reflection ought to be performed on any action, regardless of its lawfulness. The growing power of business in today’s society has enabled businesses to significantly impact the world. Hence, business ethics is highly relevant as it could determine whether businesses contribute or cause harm to the society at large.
Using ethical theories to guide moral reflection, business ethics can help businesses avoid scandalous conduct that could harm the society.

Utilitarianism places high emphasis on the consequences and outcomes of one’s action. It is premised on the general principle that an action is right and ought to be performed insofar as it leads to overall happiness or benefits, as opposed to pains or costs (Chan & Shenoy, 2010). However, many businesses have a sole objective of maximizing its profits and shareholder value. While focusing on the interest of its internal stakeholders, the interest of its external stakeholders is often neglected.
The subprime mortgage crisis of 2007 highlights how financial institutes acted out of their self-interests and neglected the consequences of their actions on the community and society at large. Investors pursued after higher…