Ethical issue - situation or problem that requires a decision whether something is good (ethical) or bad (unethical). Issue of ethics identify with universal rules and practical basis which help to set which actions, motives or intentions are valued. Ethical judgments are often based on humans own experiences but also rooted in principles of reason or nature. They let people create their perception of life. Ethical issues fulfill the role of a signpost in the decision-making process (Pozgar G.D., 2016, s.6). Two key words are used to clarify the nature of ethical issues. These are 'morality' and 'ethics'. The morality term comes from the Latin word 'mos' which means 'custom'. 'Ethics' drived from the Greek ethikos comes from the word 'ethos' and identify with words : custom, habit, conventional but also manners, character. That meanings let us associate ethics with rules of a sociaty which not only control humans behaviour but also people's feelings and the reasons they act in a specific way (Bouwer J., 2019, s.8).
Important features regarding to ethical issues
There are several universal functions regarding ethical issues (Butts J.B., Karen L.R., 2013, s.5):
- Nobody can avoid making ethical and moral decisions because the social connections with people demand considering ethical and moral decisions.
- Private morality does not exist. There is always others involvement when it comes to somebody's.
- Moral decisions always matter. Every decision has an impact on somebody's life, happiness or self-esteem.
- In ethical debates will never be reached definite conclusions.
- Moral reasoning is used by people to discover right actions or make moral judgments.
- In the areas of ethics and morals people without being given a choice cannot make moral judgment.
Ethical issues in business
Nowadays, ethics in business is not just a concern of management boards or a set of alleged restrictions on free entrepreneurship. Ethics is the base of our working life and society as a whole, by defining the public opinion of the community and the way in which individual people or companies behave. What people do at work and the way they think about it determines their aspirations and attitudes, influencing and shaping their habits and even their personal lives. (Ciulla J.B., W.M. Clancy, Solomon R.C., 2011, s.3). Influence on the members of organization on ethics can be very diversified. It usually depends on the attitude of the employee to the organization, the attitude of the organization to the employee, and the attitude of the organization to other business entities (client, cooperating companies). Thanks to these relationships companies shape ethics of the company towards employees and contractors. Business ethics create positive image of the company among clients and boost operational efficiency through established work patterns. It is related to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which i.a. helps organizations to increase consumer and stakeholder loyalty (M.S. Schwartz, 2011, s.30).
- Bouwer J. (2019) Ethical Dilemmas in the Creative Cultural and Service Industries, Routledge, s.8
- Butts J.B., Karen L.R. (2013) Nursing Ethics. Across the Curriculum and Into Practice, Jones & Bartlett Learning, s.5
- Ciulla J.B., W.M. Clancy, Solomon R.C. (2011) Honest Work: A Business Ethics Reader, Oxford University Press, s.4
- Pozgar G.D. (2016) Legal and Ethical Issues for Health Professionals, Jones & Bartlett Learning, s.6
- Schwartz M.S. (2011) Corporate Social Responsibility: An Ethical Approach, Broadview Press, s. 30
Author: Kamila Nosalska, Małgorzata Maziarz, Paulina Korpała