Introduction to Business

Module: Business Ethics

Outcome: Moral, Legal, and Ethical Behavior

What you’ll learn to do: differentiate moral, legal, and ethical behaviors

Defining business ethics is challenging because, unlike laws, which are written down and usually predictable in application, ethics are norms that have evolved from our religious and cultural heritage and, as such, can be much harder to pin down or follow consistently.

In an excellent article written for the Harvard Business Review, Sir Adrian Cadbury, former chairman of Cadbury Schweppes PLC, summarizes the difficulty this way:

The possibility that ethical and commercial considerations will conflict has always faced those who run companies . . . There is no simple, universal formula for solving ethical problems. We have to choose from our own codes of conduct whichever rules are appropriate to the case in hand; the outcome of those choices makes us who we are (quoted in "Ethics in Business: Not Always an Easy Road, But Always the Right One").
You will learn more about this from the reading below.


The learning activities for this section include:

  • Simulation: Ethics
  • Reading: Moral, Ethical, and Legal Perspectives
  • Self Check: Moral, Ethical, and Legal Behavior

Take time to review and reflect on this activity in order to improve your performance on the assessment for this section.

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