Is it true that business ethics can be perceived to begin where the law ends?
In a way then, business ethics can be perceived to begin where the law ends. It is predominantly focused on societal concerns that are not safeguarded against by the law, or in the case of there not being a clear agreement on whether an issue is right or wrong. Debates encompassing the ethicality of specific business procedures could eventually lead to legislation when there is majority agreement attained, nevertheless, for the majority of Controversies concerning business ethics, the law does not usually provide us with direction to create change. As a result, business ethics is often said to concern the ‘grey area’ between ethics and law, or as Trevino and Nelson would put it, where ‘values are in conflict’. Consequently, a recurring problematic theme within business ethics is trying to make decisions in the grey area, or where ideologies conflict, meaning that numerous questions, regards to the ethicality of decisions are equivocal. This means that finding one conclusively ‘right’ answer is near enough impossible for most business ethics problems. However, the importance of business ethics has never been more crucial, as the influence and authority of business have never been greater in society. Academic literature suggests that several individuals in society area are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with this issue. For example, a poll conducted by Cywinski, of more than 20 prominent economic countries publicised that approximately 75% of citizens considered that large companies had too much influence on the judgements of their government. Therefore, business ethics is needed to aid in rationalising why this is occurring, what this may result in, and how people might overcome this predicament.