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Business Law Ethics

Essay by   •  February 19, 2013  •  Essay  •  915 Words (4 Pages)  •  770 Views

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Corporations owe a social responsibility to not harm society. This includes acting ethically in the conduct of their affairs. In this paper I will discuss how different theories of social responsibilities are affected by one company's business strategy. The company's plan is to promote its services heavily with telemarketing. They are already aware that most of the people they will be calling will be strongly against receiving telemarketing calls. The business is also aware that many of the people they will be contacting are elderly and may purchase the product even though they can't afford it or don't need it. This brings forth an ethical problem and can affect the public in a negative way. They will potentially be funding their business while taking advantage of old people. This plan has different levels of appropriateness under each theory of social responsibility in business. These responsibility theories include maximizing profits, moral minimum, corporate citizenship and stockholder interest. Each theory has different views on the company's business strategy.

The theory of maximizing profits states that a corporation owes a duty to take action that maximizes profits for their stockholders. This theory entails a lower level of responsibility than the others. The individuals making the decisions are really only looking out for themselves and the people that they represent leaving the general public on their own. The only relative ethical guidelines are to do what helps the stockholders the most. Outside this the company doesn't have to follow any other guidelines with regards to the people that they are calling. This includes taking advantage of and harming them financially. Taking advantage of elderly customers isn't viewed as ethical but, isn't forbidden.

The second theory involves the company to follow a level of moral minimum. The corporation's duty is to make a profit while avoiding harm to others. Telemarketing is an ethical practice in this theory. Although the people that are called may dislike your call, the phone call isn't harming them. A phone call is just that and doesn't directly follow harm other than possibly violating someone's personal privacy. However, taking advantage or getting an elderly person to buy their product even though they can't afford it isn't ethical. Taking money from someone that doesn't necessarily know what's happening is causing harm to them and society. Retirees have fixed incomes and don't have much money to spend on things other than the necessities. I would also say that this theory follows along with Kantian ethics. Kantian ethics involves people doing to others what they would want others to do to them. No one wants to be taken advantage of and this company needs to put themselves in there customer's shoes. Under moral minimum telemarketing is ethical but, taking advantage of a customer is unethical because it causes harm to them.

The responsibility theory of stakeholder interest states that a corporation must consider the effects its actions have on persons other than their stockholders. This includes employees, suppliers, creditors and the local community. The company has to balance its decisions along the ethical lines of both parties

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