Business Ethics Definition

The business ethics definition encompasses a lot more than just right and wrong. Business ethics is not just about telling a lie or fibbing either. It encompasses everything and person in the company or corporation. A company can be destroyed for having a lack of business ethics and many companies will be tarnished forever by its actions.

What is business ethics? Business ethics is the sole core of a business’s existence. Ethics is the business’s moral character. Moral character encompasses many things. Once a reputation is lost, there is little chance of recovery in the future. Business ethics must include three areas. In following business ethics the company must:

  • Avoid anything illegal.
  • Avoid any action that may result in a lawsuit.
  • Do what is best for the company image.

Business ethics definition must include its history and future in the market. The Society for Business Ethics was started in the 1980’s. By the mid 1980’s there were more than 500 courses being taught in universities all over with more than 40,000 students studying the philosophies. As the 1990’s appeared more and more were becoming familiar with how important business ethics was.  

When the market suffered from bankruptcies and foreclosures, the thoughts of ethics went to the side line for many. The true righteous company that survived the hard times and maintained their ethics was the company to be watched very careful in the future for potential growth. Business ethics in today’s time is different than before.Times are different and so are the CEO’s with million dollar paychecks in some cases. Business ethics and the “Golden Rule” are very much the same and should be applied no matter what the financial condition of the company is.

Wal-Mart has been in court numerous times over business ethics. A well known company named, Wal-Mart was involved in a scandal involving its workers and the treatment they received. The workers claimed that Wal-Mart had no business ethics and was treating them unfairly and paying them very low wages? In addition to the employee scandal, Wal-Mart had other problems including being accused of “predatory pricing.”  Wal-Mart is accused of drowning out local businesses with below market pricing, mass marketing, hiring workers at low wages and doing everything to hurt the community.  Business ethics means helping your company image, not hurting the image.

Personal ethics Vs business ethics. Can a person who is ethical in his personal life be ethical in his business life? Ethical business practices may be different than just treating people fairly. In large corporations, business ethics must include guarding the rights of the share holders and the employees. If the corporation is owned by share holders, the officers of the corporation may not disregard the profit margin without contemplating the consequences first.

Is fair and honest competition ethical? Microsoft was a name well respected my millions and who in the world did not own a computer with Windows installed? Microsoft saturated the market and there was no competing with them and they too were accused of predatory pricing. Is it wrong to be competitive?Bill Gates is a highly recognizable business man and a star in the donation field. Although he was sued in court for predatory pricing and swallowing up the market competitors, is he an unethical man? There is a fine line between personal and business ethics though. Many will agree it was time for him to step down from Microsoft when he did.



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