Business Ethics in America Today



Business Ethics in America Today



Tutor’s Name

20th, December 2012


The American business environment comprises a variety of ethical business codes. This is because of the American diversity. The American people have been socialized to embrace a higher degree of individualism as compared to other world areas. This therefore means that the ethics and values in the American society emanate from various moral standpoints. The ethical business codes present in America are originally American; however, a few are those that have been adopted by most countries in the world. The ethical business standards in America are mainly based on people’s social responsibility, as well as other standards of ethics.

To familiarize more Americans, and especially the professionals with ethics, American business ethics was taught in American institutions of higher learning as a course, starting the period before 1970s. This led to America becoming a society that highly relied and employed business as well as social ethics in its different operations at the state and community level. In 1976, the Social Issues in Management Division of the Academy of Management was founded, out of the need and awareness of the aspect of business ethics. Similarly, in 1980, the Society for Business Ethics was founded, and the period after this has been marked with great awareness of business ethics among the American population. This business ethics consciousness molded a culture of ethics that has revolutionized to become the contemporary American business ethical environment (Petrick, Cragg & San˜udo, 2012).

Since the American business ethics greatly borrows from social ethics, it is therefore, largely involved in social issues as well. However, greater reinforcement in business ethics falls on the actions and activities of the players in the business environment. These include companies, both small and big, as well as the employees of companies, as these act as representatives of the companies they work for. The overall actions and operations of companies are guided by the laid down standards of ethics, to which, most companies subscribe to more than one of them. In addition, American business ethics involves the theoretical parts, which companies must also adhere to. One of these areas is concerned with environmental protection. Each company must prove that it is responsible for the environment. This is through participation in activities that promote environmental safety. The companies must as well engage in practices that will not contribute to environmental degradation. This includes tree-planting activities, among others (Merz, 2006).

Honesty in business practices is another requirement in American business standards. This mainly requires business practitioners to be transparent with their clients and entire public in their business interactions. This includes honesty in company’s financial reporting, so that the public and stockholders are aware of company’s financial health, so that they can make wise decisions. This draws from social norms, and ensures that no one is conned. Quality leadership with integrity is emphasized, as this will result in fewer cases of unethical operations in companies and by employees. Similarly, quality services by companies to their clients are a mandate, so that clients get value for their hard-earned money (Merz, 2006).

People from different world countries occupy America; therefore, American business ethics is guided by this diversity. In addition, ethical benchmarks, with official ethical codes are essential as they help managers and the public to analyze the progress of a company in terms of business ethics (Jones, Parker & Bos, 2005). Therefore, in America, some business ethics are company-specific. For instance, legal ethic for law firms, medical ethics for medical institutions, and management ethics for managers. However, the broader moral climate in the world of business comprises corporate ethics and workplace ethics.




Jones, C., Parker, M. & Bos, R. (2005). For Business Ethics: A Critical Text. London: Routledge.

Merz, R. (2006). A Declaration of American Business Values: Ethics, Equity, and Efficiency in

the New Millennium. New York: Values of America Company.

Petrick, J., Cragg, W. & San˜udo, M. (2012). Business Ethics in North America:

Trends and Challenges. Retrieved from

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