The Problem of Taking a Moral or Ethical Stand in Business

Some believe that a business must not take moral and ethical positions because
customers will be scandalized or annoyed. The business will suffer; so let’s stay
away from the problem. Of course even the most radical purveyor of that position
will realize that some kind of ethical standard must be adopted. You can’t have an
anything goes philosophy even in a post modern society.

Others believe that a business must take moral and ethical positions regardless of the personal opinions of the owners, employees or leaders. So what if the business suffers. Even if you take that approach to its logical extent (i.e. a confused but huge array of competing ethics and views of right and wrong) people get all uncomfortable and nervous.

What to do?

The law defines what is “legal” but not necessarily what is “right”. In the search for an answer, more business leaders want guidance.

We see a trend towards the ordinary business leader (small, start-up, or growing) trying to signal a higher adherence to an ethical standard. They know the difference between something being “legal” and “wrong”. And I’m not speaking about religion. I’m speaking about ethical consistency and a search for a standard of some kind.

Many point to the practice of Greek philosophers even centuries before Christianity pointing to something called “the natural law” – written on the heart of every person.

Interesting. Is this a launching point towards a new business ethic?

Our great team assists clients daily with this and other leadership challenges. The Catholic CEO: we help principled leaders excel!

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