business ethics

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The study and practice of appropriate behavior, regardless of the behavior's legality. Certain industries have professional organizations setting and promoting certain ethical standards. For example, an accountant may be required to refrain from engaging in aggressive accounting, even when a particular type of aggressive accounting is not illegal. Professional organizations may censure or revoke the licenses of those professionals who are found to have violated the ethical standards of their fields.

In investing, ethics helps inform the investment decisions of some individuals and companies. For example, an individual may have a moral objection to smoking and therefore refrain from investing in tobacco companies. Ethics may be both positive and negative in investing; that is, it may inform where an individual makes investments (e.g. in environmentally friendly companies) and where he/she does not (e.g. in arms manufacturers). Some mutual funds and even whole subdivisions are dedicated to promoting ethical investing. See also: Green fund, Islamic finance.

business ethics

moral guidelines for the conduct of business based on notions of what is right, wrong and fair. Most business people rely upon their own consciences in making business decisions, falling back upon their own moral and religious backgrounds for guidance. However, business people are also affected by their superiors and immediate colleagues when making business decisions and may feel pressurized to behave unethically when seeking to make profits. Over recent years many firms and industries have attempted to develop codes of conduct which can be used to guide managers when making decisions.
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