Decision Making in Business Ethics

Individuals are often required to make decisions in the business environment every day. Working for a company often requires following an ethical model or framework when making these decisions. Business ethics outlines the acceptable behavior companies expect to see from their employees. Strong decision making and business ethics can also help companies select the best business opportunities.

Reputational Compliance

Reputational Compliance


Decision making in business ethics usually requires companies to identify specific ethical standards, which often means different things to different people. As organizations continue to grow and expand, new individuals are hired who may not have the same ethical standards as individuals already working in the company. A difference in ethics often changes how individuals approach the decision-making process. Companies often use the organization’s mission statement to build a framework for helping individuals make ethical business decisions.


There are five types of ethical standards: utilitarian, rights, fairness or justice, common good, and virtue. Utilitarian ethics is a standard that attempts to do the most good and limit the amount of harm for each individual. A rights approach protects and respects the moral rights of individuals impacted by decisions. The fair or just style seeks to create equality among all individuals while the common good method focuses on bettering society as a whole. The virtue tactic centers on the ideal virtues necessary for promoting individuals for the company.


Business ethics is a tool companies use to ensure managers, directors, or executive officers act responsibly in various business situations. Ethical decision making attempts to promote the company as a whole, rather than letting one individual profit from business decisions. Individuals who consistently make decisions based on their personal benefit may create legal liabilities for a company that can lead to bankruptcy.


Creating an ethical business environment does not happen overnight. Companies may need to spend time and money training and promoting business ethics among managers and employees. Companies may also find implementing an ethical decision-making process may lead to negative feedback from managers or employees. Combating this negative feedback may be a difficult part of implementing business ethics.

Expert Insight

Companies may use professional consultants, seminars, or other training methods to educate employees on decision making in business ethics. These outside sources may also be able to provide companies with an objective review of their current operations and offer advice on how to implement a strong ethical code in their business operations. While these professional resources may be expensive, it often helps companies develop an ethical business environment.

Source: smallbusiness


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