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Andrew White
Andrew White

Learn Business Ethics with Case Studies and Interviews: A Canadian Perspective 3rd Edition PDF


Business Ethics: A Canadian Perspective 3rd PDF Free




Business ethics is a topic that has gained increasing attention and relevance in the contemporary world. Businesses are expected to not only be profitable, but also to be responsible and accountable for their impacts on society and the environment. In this article, we will explore what business ethics is, why it is important, and how it relates to Canada. We will also examine some of the theoretical frameworks, key issues, and challenges that inform business ethics, as well as some case studies of ethical and unethical business practices in Canada. Finally, we will provide some recommendations for ethical business conduct in Canada and answer some frequently asked questions.




business ethics a canadian perspective 3rd pdf free



Introduction




What is business ethics?




Business ethics is the study and practice of moral principles and values that guide the decisions and actions of businesses and their stakeholders. Business ethics applies to all aspects of business conduct, such as marketing, finance, human resources, production, operations, and strategy. Business ethics also considers the impacts of business activities on various stakeholders, such as customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, competitors, regulators, communities, and the natural environment.


Why is business ethics important?




Business ethics is important for several reasons. First, business ethics can enhance the reputation and trustworthiness of a business, which can lead to increased customer loyalty, employee engagement, investor confidence, and social license to operate. Second, business ethics can help a business comply with relevant laws and regulations, avoid legal penalties and fines, and reduce the risk of lawsuits and scandals. Third, business ethics can foster a positive organizational culture that promotes ethical decision-making, innovation, collaboration, and learning. Fourth, business ethics can contribute to social welfare and environmental sustainability by addressing the needs and expectations of various stakeholders and minimizing the negative impacts of business activities.


How does business ethics relate to Canada?




Business ethics relates to Canada in several ways. First, Canada has a diverse and multicultural society that values pluralism, tolerance, democracy, human rights, and social justice. These values influence the ethical standards and expectations that Canadians have for businesses operating in Canada or abroad. Second, Canada has a complex and dynamic legal system that regulates various aspects of business conduct, such as consumer protection, competition law, labour law, environmental law, privacy law, corporate governance, taxation, and trade. These laws reflect the public interest and provide guidance and enforcement for ethical business practices. Third, Canada has a vibrant and competitive economy that offers opportunities and challenges for businesses in various sectors and industries. These opportunities and challenges require businesses to adapt to changing market conditions, customer preferences, technological innovations, global trends, and ethical dilemmas.


Main Body




Theoretical frameworks for business ethics




There are different theoretical frameworks that can help us understand and evaluate business ethics. These frameworks provide different perspectives on what constitutes ethical or unethical behaviour in business contexts. Some of the most common frameworks are utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, and stakeholder theory.


Utilitarianism




Utilitarianism is a consequentialist framework that judges the ethical value of an action based on its outcomes or consequences. According to utilitarianism, an action is ethical if it maximizes the net happiness or utility of all affected parties. In other words, utilitarianism aims to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. For example, a utilitarian business might decide to outsource its production to a low-cost country if it believes that the benefits of lower prices and higher profits outweigh the costs of lower wages and working conditions for the workers in that country.


Deontology




Deontology is a non-consequentialist framework that judges the ethical value of an action based on its adherence to universal moral rules or duties. According to deontology, an action is ethical if it respects the inherent dignity and rights of all rational beings, regardless of the outcomes or consequences. In other words, deontology focuses on the means rather than the ends. For example, a deontological business might decide to not outsource its production to a low-cost country if it believes that doing so would violate the human rights and dignity of the workers in that country.


Virtue ethics




Virtue ethics is a character-based framework that judges the ethical value of an action based on its expression of moral virtues or excellences. According to virtue ethics, an action is ethical if it reflects the character and values of a good person, who acts with wisdom, courage, justice, honesty, integrity, and compassion. In other words, virtue ethics focuses on the agent rather than the action. For example, a virtuous business might decide to not outsource its production to a low-cost country if it believes that doing so would compromise its integrity and reputation as a responsible and trustworthy business.


Stakeholder theory




Stakeholder theory is a relational framework that judges the ethical value of an action based on its impact on various stakeholders or groups that have an interest or stake in a business. According to stakeholder theory, an action is ethical if it balances and satisfies the needs and expectations of all relevant stakeholders, such as customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, competitors, regulators, communities, and the natural environment. In other words, stakeholder theory aims to create value for all stakeholders. For example, a stakeholder-oriented business might decide to not outsource its production to a low-cost country if it believes that doing so would harm its relationships and reputation with its stakeholders.


Key issues and challenges in business ethics




Business ethics is not a static or simple concept. It is constantly evolving and facing new issues and challenges in response to changing social norms, legal regulations, market conditions, technological innovations, global trends, and ethical dilemmas. Some of the key issues and challenges in business ethics are corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, diversity and inclusion, whistleblowing and transparency.


Corporate social responsibility




Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the voluntary commitment and contribution of businesses to social welfare and environmental sustainability beyond their legal obligations and economic interests. CSR can take various forms, such as philanthropy, community involvement, ethical sourcing, fair trade, human rights protection, employee welfare, corporate governance, and stakeholder engagement. CSR can benefit businesses by enhancing their reputation and trustworthiness, attracting and retaining customers and employees, reducing costs and risks, increasing innovation and competitiveness, and creating social value. However, CSR can also pose challenges for businesses by increasing their expectations and responsibilities, requiring more resources and investments, creating conflicts of interest or trade-offs between different stakeholders or goals, and exposing them to criticism or scrutiny.


Environmental sustainability




Environmental sustainability




Environmental sustainability is the ability of businesses to meet their current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in terms of natural resources and ecological systems. Environmental sustainability can involve various practices, such as reducing waste and emissions, conserving energy and water, using renewable and recyclable materials, adopting green technologies and innovations, and mitigating and adapting to climate change. Environmental sustainability can benefit businesses by improving their efficiency and productivity, saving costs and resources, enhancing their brand image and reputation, complying with environmental regulations and standards, and creating competitive advantage and differentiation. However, environmental sustainability can also pose challenges for businesses by requiring more investments and changes in their operations and strategies, facing uncertainties and risks in the market and policy environment, balancing environmental and economic objectives, and dealing with stakeholder pressures and expectations.


Diversity and inclusion




Diversity and inclusion is the recognition and respect of the differences and similarities among people in terms of their identities, backgrounds, perspectives, experiences, and abilities. Diversity and inclusion can apply to various dimensions of human diversity, such as gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, education, and socio-economic status. Diversity and inclusion can benefit businesses by enhancing their creativity and innovation, improving their decision-making and problem-solving, expanding their market reach and customer base, increasing their talent attraction and retention, fostering a positive and inclusive organizational culture, and complying with anti-discrimination laws and regulations. However, diversity and inclusion can also pose challenges for businesses by requiring more efforts and resources to manage diversity effectively, overcoming biases and stereotypes, resolving conflicts and misunderstandings, ensuring fair and equal treatment and opportunities for all employees, and aligning diversity goals with business goals.


Whistleblowing and transparency




Whistleblowing is the act of exposing or reporting wrongdoing or misconduct within or by a business to internal or external parties, such as managers, regulators, media, or public. Whistleblowing can involve various types of wrongdoing or misconduct, such as fraud, corruption, bribery, theft, embezzlement, tax evasion, human rights violations, environmental damage, health and safety hazards, or ethical breaches. Whistleblowing can benefit businesses by preventing or correcting wrongdoing or misconduct, improving their accountability and integrity, protecting their reputation and credibility, reducing their legal liabilities and penalties, enhancing their stakeholder trust and confidence. However, whistleblowing can also pose challenges for businesses by exposing them to negative publicity and reputation damage, facing legal actions or retaliation from the wrongdoers, losing competitive information or trade secrets, creating conflicts or divisions within the organization, and discouraging employee loyalty or commitment.


Case studies of ethical and unethical business practices in Canada




To illustrate some of the issues and challenges in business ethics discussed above, we will present some case studies of ethical and unethical business practices in Canada. These case studies are based on real events that have occurred in recent years and have attracted public attention and scrutiny.


SNC-Lavalin scandal




The SNC-Lavalin scandal is an example of an unethical business practice that involved fraud, corruption, bribery, and political interference. SNC-Lavalin is a Canadian engineering and construction company that operates globally. In 2015, the company was charged by the RCMP with paying millions of dollars in bribes to Libyan officials to secure lucrative contracts between 2001 and 2011. The company faced a possible 10-year ban from bidding on federal contracts if convicted. The company sought a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), which is a legal tool that allows a corporation to avoid a criminal trial by admitting wrongdoing and paying a fine. However, the DPA was rejected by the former attorney general of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, who claimed that she faced pressure and interference from the Prime Minister's Office and other senior officials to intervene in the case and grant the DPA to SNC-Lavalin. The scandal sparked a political crisis and controversy that led to the resignation of several cabinet ministers and senior advisors, as well as an investigation by the ethics commissioner who found that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly trying to influence Wilson-Raybould's decision.


Volkswagen emissions cheating




The Volkswagen emissions cheating is an example of an unethical business practice that involved fraud, deception, and environmental damage. Volkswagen is a German automaker that sells vehicles worldwide. In 2015, the company admitted that it had installed software in millions of its diesel vehicles that could detect when the vehicles were undergoing emissions tests and alter their performance to meet the regulatory standards. However, in normal driving conditions, the vehicles emitted up to 40 times more nitrogen oxides than the legal limit, which are harmful pollutants that contribute to smog and respiratory diseases. The company faced a global backlash and legal actions from regulators, customers, and investors. In Canada, the company pleaded guilty to 60 charges under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and agreed to pay a $196.5 million fine, which is the largest environmental penalty in Canadian history. The company also agreed to compensate Canadian customers who bought or leased the affected vehicles by offering them buybacks, repairs, or cash payments.


Loblaws bread price-fixing scheme




The Loblaws bread price-fixing scheme is an example of an unethical business practice that involved collusion, price-fixing, and consumer harm. Loblaws is a Canadian grocery retailer that owns several brands and chains. In 2017, the company admitted that it had participated in a scheme to fix the price of packaged bread products in Canada for more than 14 years, from 2001 to 2015. The company claimed that it was coerced by a major bread supplier to increase the price of bread products by a fixed amount at regular intervals, and that it coordinated with other retailers to do the same. The scheme resulted in higher prices for consumers who bought bread products from Loblaws or other retailers. The company faced a class-action lawsuit from consumers who sought compensation for the overcharged bread products. The company also faced an investigation by the Competition Bureau who charged several individuals and companies with criminal offences under the Competition Act. The company offered a $25 gift card to eligible customers as a goodwill gesture, but also required them to sign a release form that could limit their ability to participate in the class-action lawsuit.


Tim Hortons franchisee dispute




The Tim Hortons franchisee dispute is an example of an ethical business practice that involved stakeholder conflict, labour relations, and social responsibility. Tim Hortons is a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain that operates through franchisees who own and operate the stores. In 2018, the company faced a dispute with some of its franchisees over the minimum wage increase in Ontario from $11.60 to $14 per hour. The company claimed that it could not afford to absorb the increased labour costs and asked its franchisees to find ways to cut costs. Some franchisees responded by reducing employee benefits and hours, eliminating paid breaks, and requiring employees to pay for their own uniforms. These actions sparked public outrage and criticism from customers, employees, unions, politicians, and activists who accused the company and its franchisees of being greedy, unfair, and irresponsible. The company tried to distance itself from the actions of its franchisees and urged them to reverse their decisions. The company also faced a boycott campaign and protests from customers who demanded better treatment for employees.


Conclusion




Summary of main points




In this article, we have discussed what business ethics is, why it is important, and how it relates to Canada. We have also examined some of the theoretical frameworks, key issues, and challenges that inform business ethics, as well as some case studies of ethical and unethical business practices in Canada.


Recommendations for ethical business conduct in Canada




Based on our discussion, we can provide some recommendations for ethical business conduct in Canada. These recommendations are not exhaustive or definitive, but rather general and suggestive. They are: - Adopt a stakeholder-oriented approach that considers the needs and expectations of all relevant stakeholders, such as customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, competitors, regulators, communities, and the natural environment. - Comply with relevant laws and regulations that govern various aspects of business conduct, such as consumer protection, competition law, labour law, environmental law, privacy law, corporate governance, taxation, and trade. - Develop and implement a code of ethics that defines the values and principles that guide the decisions and actions of the business and its stakeholders. - Provide ethics training and education for all employees and managers to raise their awareness and understanding of ethical issues and dilemmas in business contexts. - Establish and maintain an effective ethics management system that includes policies, procedures, mechanisms, and incentives for promoting, monitoring, reporting, investigating, and resolving ethical issues and concerns. - Engage in corporate social responsibility activities that contribute to social welfare and environmental sustainability beyond legal obligations and economic interests. - Communicate openly and transparently with all stakeholders about the goals, strategies, performance, impacts, and challenges of the business. FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about business ethics in Canada.



  • What is the difference between business ethics and corporate social responsibility?



Business ethics is the study and practice of moral principles and values that guide the decisions and actions of businesses and their stakeholders. Corporate social responsibility is the voluntary commitment and contribution of businesses to social welfare and environmental sustainability beyond their legal obligations and economic interests. Business ethics provides the foundation and framework for corporate social responsibility.


  • What are some of the benefits of being an ethical business in Canada?



Some of the benefits of being an ethical business in Canada are: - Enhancing the reputation and trustworthiness of the business, which can lead to increased customer loyalty, employee engagement, investor confidence, and social license to operate. - Complying with relevant laws and regulations, avoiding legal penalties and fines, and reducing the risk of lawsuits and scandals. - Fostering a positive and inclusive organizational culture that promotes ethical decision-making, innovation, collaboration, and learning. - Contributing to social welfare and environmental sustainability by addressing the needs and expectations of various stakeholders and minimizing the negative impacts of business activities.


  • What are some of the challenges of being an ethical business in Canada?



Some of the challenges of being an ethical business in Canada are: - Increasing the expectations and responsibilities of the business,


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