What is Business Ethics?

Ethics is the code by which people govern their behavior. In everyday life, ethics determine honesty, integrity, discipline, and an individual's overall view of how to conduct their life. Why do ethics matter in business? Ethical business is not only a cornerstone of personal integrity but an important aspect of running a successful business. An absence of ethical behavior in business inevitably results in an array of unfortunate consequences, such as a ruined reputation or even jail time. It is easier to make good and ethical decisions in business if training has been provided. Further, it is easier to make ethical decisions in the heat of the moment when these issues have already been thought through.

The definition of business ethics is the morality and principles that businesses, and individuals operating within businesses, use to guide their transactions. There are three main levels of ethical behavior. Personal ethics, professional ethics, and organizational ethics all have an impact on the practices of any individual business. This sub-specialty of ethics is so important because it protects people conducting business and their consumers. For example, if a business person decides to break the law by manufacturing a good known to be unsafe, this creates various ethical problems. The law has been broken, the business person has broken their principles, and consumers have been hurt by using the product. Fortunately, most business ethics issues are more nuanced than the example above. The business ethics courses found at Study.com will give students forethought into many of the issues they might face in future endeavors and equip them to make more ethical decisions. While much of the knowledge is practical, these courses also provide helpful background to the field of ethics in its broader philosophical sense.

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Business Ethics Topics

Ethics in Business Resources

Study.com provides a plethora of courses that will help students conduct ethical business. These courses are full of examples of ethical businesses that will prepare students for upcoming exams and an ethical future. Content is available for secondary and post-secondary education students to augment classroom learning.

Business Ethics Courses and Video Lessons

Our lineup of business ethics training courses includes many of the main topics covered in most business ethics classrooms. These include information on management ethics, theories of business ethics, and ethical principles in business. Business ethics case studies and court cases are featured throughout the lessons to provide real-world context to these important topics. Many of these courses can be transferred to over 2,000 colleges and universities for credit.

Business 108: Business Ethics

Business 108 is a transferrable three-credit course that covers an introduction to ethics and how that information practically applies to business acumen. Students who engage in this course will have a solid understanding of how to conduct an ethical business.

Business 307: Leadership & Organizational Behavior

This is a fascinating class that delves into the relationship between leadership and organizational behavior. This three-credit transferrable course covers the science that impacts organizational behavior and also highlights Pixar as a real-world example.

Business 310: Advanced Business Ethics

Business 310 is a transferrable three-credit course that builds on the information in Business 108. This course delves deeper into practical applications, covering the six pillars of character and examples involving stakeholders' ethical considerations.

Business 318: Management Ethics

How do managers balance making good decisions for both the bottom line and the people they manage? Answer this question in Business 318. This class allows future or current managers to define their personal moral code and how to apply it to their subordinates.

Ethical Practices in the Workplace

This corporate training course teaches employees the importance of ethical behavior at work and the consequences of a lack of integrity. It covers the intersection of legality and morality and how the two are different concepts that often align.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the three basic levels of business ethics?

    The three basic levels of business ethics are personal, professional, and organizational. Personal ethical codes dictate how people behave in professional and organizational environments, which is why many of the courses found on Study.com begin with first defining a personal ethical code.

  • Why are ethics important in business?

    A lack of ethics in business has severe repercussions. Those who engage in unethical business might hurt themselves, their stakeholders, or their consumers, either intentionally or unintentionally.