Business Ethics: moral guidelines for the conduct of business based on notions of what is right, wrong and fair. Most business people rely upon their own consciences in making business decisions, falling back upon their own moral and religious backgrounds for guidance. However, business people are also affected by their superiors and immediate colleagues when making business decisions and may feel pressurized to behave unethically when seeking to make profits. Over recent years many firms and industries have attempted to develop codes of conduct which can be used to guide managers when making decisions.
Corporate Social Responsibility: a business philosophy which stresses the need for firms to behave as good corporate citizens, not merely obeying the law but conducting their production and marketing activities in a manner which avoids causing environmental pollution or exhausting finite world resources. Some businesses have begun to behave in a more socially responsible manner, partly because their managers want to do so, and partly because of fear of environmentalist and consumer pressure groups and the media, and concern for their public image. It is argued that socially responsible behaviour can pay off in the long run, even where it involves some short-term sacrifice of profit.
SOURCE: Collins Dictionary of Business (2006).
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