In the Beginning: Ethical Perspectives of Business and Non-Business College Freshmen

By Luthy, Michael R.; Padgett, Barry L. et al. | Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues, July 2009 | Go to article overview

In the Beginning: Ethical Perspectives of Business and Non-Business College Freshmen


Luthy, Michael R., Padgett, Barry L., Toner, Julie F., Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues


INTRODUCTION

In the last decade stories of questionable, and at times criminal, corporate activities have dominated the U.S. business press. Beyond the most well-known case involving Enron Energy, Cendant's "creative earnings," Archer Daniels Midland's price-fixing, Bankers Trust's leveraged derivatives and use of customer funds, and LongTerm Capital's high-risk bets with others' funds are all examples of unethical and/or illegal actions by North American managers. We can also cite Rite-Aid and Wal-Mart, who have been profiled for their charge-back policies that leave suppliers confused and temporarily or permanently underpaid. Sears Roebuck's disregard for bankruptcy laws, debtors' rights, and creditor priorities led to a $63 million fine-the largest in U.S. bankruptcy law history (Jennings, 1999). More recently, one can look to the U.S. Department of Education's administration of student loans and practices tied to preferred lenders as well as significant violations of the honor codes at several U.S. Military Academies.

Ethics represent the moral principles and values that govern the actions and decisions of an individual or group (Lazniak and Murphy, 1993). Results of public opinion studies indicate that 58% of American adults rate the ethical standards of business executives as only "fair" or "poor," 90% believe white-collar crime is "very common" or "somewhat common," and 76% say the lack of ethics in businesspeople contributes to plummeting societal moral standards (Krohe, 1997; Dallas Morning News, 1998; Walker Information, 1998).

In the essay, "The Myth of the Amoral Business," DeGeorge (1999) discusses a commonly held view of American business. One of DeGeorge's major assertions is that the American public does not view businesspeople as unethical or immoral, but instead, as being amoral due to the fact that ethical considerations are often seen as inappropriate in business situations. "Business is not structured to handle questions of values and ethics, and its managers have usually not been trained in business schools to do so," (DeGeorge, 1999, p. 7). The re-examination of this line of reasoning has begun as a result of three significant societal trends: (1) more reporting of scandals and the public reaction to these reports; (2) organizing of consumerists, environmentalists, and other socially-conscious groups, and (3) emerging corporate codes of ethical conduct and ethics programs in addition to ethics conferences, and magazine and newspaper articles on the subject (DeGeorge, 1999). Although all three of these trends are important to the understanding of business ethics, the first two lie beyond the scope of the present paper. A brief account of the third, the corporate ethics movement and its impact on American society, follows.

THE CORPORATE ETHICS MOVEMENT

Prior to the 1960s, business ethics were discussed in U.S. culture but not in a widespread manner. During the decade of the 1960s, however, businesses came under increasing attack for a general lack of social consciousness and unwillingness to address questions related to consumerism, the environment, and the build-up in the U.S. military-industrial complex. Corporations often found themselves on the defensive. American business schools then began to offer "social issues" courses to explore allegations against business practices as well as to discuss possible solutions and remedies.

As the demands of students and consumer groups spread to the general population in the 1970s, the business ethics movement gained strength. Corporations and institutions of higher education responded to this growing widespread disapproval of infamous business practices by sponsoring conferences on business ethics. Over time, colleges and universities established business ethics as a discipline separate from the more general field of philosophy. Courses, textbooks, professional societies, and journals related to business ethics began to form. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In the Beginning: Ethical Perspectives of Business and Non-Business College Freshmen
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.