Autism Education Project

Business Ethics and Virtue Ethics

In order for a business to trade with other businesses and the public, it needs to set out the standards by which it manufactures its goods and the ethical considerations it gives to its resources, workforce, investors and customers. A company that has little consideration for business ethics and virtue ethics will not last long in today's markets.

In recent years there is one toy manufacturer that can be held up as acting with sound business and virtue ethics, through the way it dealt with a situation that could have spelt the death knell of a company that has long had an excellent reputation in customer service through its trading standards and knowledge of the market.

One of the best ways to illustrate how a company operates with sound business and virtue ethics is to look at an example. The company in question had outsourced some work to a manufacturing company in China. They were assured of the quality of the materials that would be used and the quality of the product. However it was found that the finished article contained elements of lead that could lead to poisoning and also tiny magnets that could be swallowed and cause damage to small children. Acting responsibility as soon as the company knew about the defective products it immediately recalled all 21 million products. Normally in a situation such as this a company would actually avoid a major involvement of the media but in this case the company liaised with the media to help them warn and educate their customers about the product.

In business, ethical and virtuous ethics are seen as values that we would apply to people and their actions that are kind and honest and act in the best interests of others. Businesses are said to act with ethical considerations when they take on the responsibility for any concerns they have about a product they have manufactured, by alerting their customers to the fault and either rectifying the problem or recalling the product at their own expense which in the long run may cause the company to lose out financially and even fold.

But are businesses always acting in the best interest of their customers. If a business does not act in a virtuous and ethical manner, they could be held up to very expensive law suits. So, the question here is, is the business acting in a manner that puts the customer first or themselves as they fear a legal comeback?


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