Linked with morals, with deontology and right, ethics is a reflection towards the research of the Good, a moving concept by essence.
What deserves, nowadays, such an imminent questioning on ethics?
Because of the increased pressure of the governments, increasing awareness of the organizations and press coverage, business must take into account the obligations and duties that it has towards economic, social and environmental dimensions and must have a clean attitude. Ecology dimension turns the companies more human. Incriminated in the years 70/80, they must show today that they feel concerned about their environment.
With the assistance of driving forces, the ethical policies are thus developing formally or semi-officially within the organizations.
The internal and external actors of the company prove to be the very first driving forces of ethics in the company. If the management is generally at the origin of the establishment of an ethical policy, they must obtain the commitment of the employees so that ethics propagates and turns prosperous. The shareholders capital providers - the customers, the suppliers and the civil society are also invited to the table of the companies. The tendency is that all participate in the decisions taken in the company and the entire speech must be perfectly coherent.
The credit rating agencies measure the efforts taken by the companies with regard to ethics. The companies receive notes and are no longer evaluated on their financial effectiveness only. The reporting modes or rating formalize and put the emphasis on the companies considered to be socially responsible. These agencies take an active part in the diffusion of the ethical merits of a company.
Internet is presented in the form of a window of ethics in the company. The sites dealing with the subject are numerous. The information sources are inexhaustible. The data become public and the light is made on the involvement of the companies
In parallel, new functions appear in the company. Managers of sustainable development or leaders accountable for ethical best practices are nominated. Young graduates are the first concerned by these new positions in the companies.
The consumers are also proactive. Because they also are the protagonists of the practical application of ethical policies within the companies. We are more and more informed and educated, and our children are very early aware of the economic problems.
However, the application of ethics in the company is seriously restrained
The corporate concept of citizenship relies on the fact that the activity of a company is linked to the community within which it is working. And this causes the sceptical smile. To speak about ethics in management is for them nonsense. The commercial world obeys only to the law of profit and is free from ethical interrogations. To make money by stressing the ethical merits is contrary to ethics itself.
Whereas the young people seem to be avid of more ethics in the company, oldest one seems a bit disillusioned. More refractory with the change, our older seems largely influenced by the corporate culture dominating at the time of their arrival. And another restriction takes shape.
Each organization has a culture. Sometimes, this culture can be fragmented and difficult to perceive. In other cases, it is very strong, cohesive and is clearly perceived in-house as it is outside the company. On one hand the company culture fills in main functions in the company, on the other hand it can also be a serious obstacle to the rise of an ethical policy. Ethics can be in the heart of the corporate culture but myths, symbols, rites and habits - seldom incriminated - which build this culture can go against ethics. Indeed, a corporate culture is rigid and crosses time whereas an ethical policy is, by definition, in evolution.
Then, to modify mentalities, it is a matter of controlling its external image among its employees but also among the shareholders and financial circle, among the public authorities, the customers, the suppliers and the general public. Publicity is correlated with the image. Regarded as purely commercial, it proves to be turned over against the awkward organization that wishes to misuse it to publicize its ethical merits openly. Caution is thus important during the implementation of the communication level
The concept of ethical climate is very important. An ethically supervised employee will probably act in an ethical way. Each individual of an organization is influenced by his environment and more specifically by the behaviors of his supervisors. Corruption within the company then becomes a true obstacle to the implementation of an ethical policy recognized by all.
The concept of ethics indicates a complete philosophical reflection on the moral life and manners. The ethical funds draw their origin in religious habits banishing the investment in shares of tobacco, alcohol... Their nature evolved thereafter according to the historical and political context of the companies. Nowadays they are used for placing and investing in firms that adopt a respectful control towards the environment, the treatment of employees and the employment relationships.
Ethical Funds is a product made up of socially responsible securities, sticking for example to the citizen dimension of the firms and their contribution to sustainable development in particular. The ethical objective of the funds is thus to associate financial effectiveness and social investment.
Any investor, person or firm, or institutional investor, pension funds, provident fund, foundation, religious institution or organization with non-profit aim, can resort to practices of socially responsible investments, also known under initials SRI. Many more or less equivalent terms are usually retained to qualify this reality: responsible investment, social investment, Community investment, ethical investment, multi criterion investment, sustainable development investment, etc
[...] This idea formalizes the intuition of Friedman, for which corporate social responsibility is to increase its profits” (1970). Jean Tirole, in 2001, disapproved the positive effects of the theory of the stakeholders on the performance. He shows that the widening of the manager's missions to the satisfaction of the stakeholders can lead to a release of the incentive systems of the managers who will cut the company's efficiency. According to Jensen, the collective wellbeing is reached only if on one hand, all the values carried by each stakeholders are maximized, and on the other hand, that this maximization is done on long run. [...]
[...] It is rather about a mission of day before and prevention. He is charged to protect the firm from the external aggressions which could constitute of the legal actions on behalf of the dissatisfied consumers, of the media attacks, even of the attempts at corruption. As for the sustainable development Director, it has as a function to diffuse and supervise the social and environmental good practices. The decision-making power of the actors previously quoted remains weak and their relatively high average age because of the necessary experiment to exert this kind of task. [...]
[...] If the process of management differentiates clearly socially responsible funds from traditional funds, it is still too early to consider the socially responsible investment like a new style of management, characterized by a specific couple profitability/risk, following the example of or funds. For the moment the funds must primarily be transparent on the process, the objectives and the constraints. The question of the performance of the socially responsible investment remains outstanding today. Is it necessary that the socially responsible investment shows a better performance than a traditional investment to exist? The question is legitimate but complicated, especially if socially responsible investments and traditional finances converge gradually. [...]
[...] Krausz The association between corporate social responsibility and financial performance: The paradox of social cost, Journal of Business Ethics, vol nr March. Shefrin, H. and M. Statman Ethics, fairness and efficiency in financial markets. Sen, A Money and Value, On the ethics and economics of finance, Economics and Philosophy. Sen, A On ethics and Economics, The Royer Lectures, Basil Blackwell. Solomon, R.C., (1996), Corporate roles, Personal Virtues: An Aristotelian approach to business ethics. Van Staveren, I Caring for economics, an Aristotelian perspective. [...]
[...] It defines what is right, well. It constitutes a categorical imperative whereas ethics, a hypothetical requirement. Until the middle of XVIIIth century, moral teaches Man that it must yield to a whole range of rules that are inflicted by Religion. With the Age of Enlightenment, a laic morals is established, not based on Christian standards, but on the basic rights of men, in particular freedom. Nowadays, morals are erased on behalf of ethics, not for philosophical or conceptual reasons, but for media reasons Deontology Literally, the deontology is the science of duties, which is very close to the ethics concept that is defined as the science of morals. [...]
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