Business Ethics – Essay Example

Corporate culture is the “set of values, beliefs, goals, norms and ways of solving problems that members (employees) of an organization share” (Ferrell, Fraedrich, Ferrell 127). These cultures build up gradually, but in any organization that has been around for a while there will be a culture that is complicated and well entrenched. These cultures can influence the ethical decision making process because the people who work at an organization, as well as its stakeholders and decision-makers, “come to view the company as a living organism, with a mind and will of its own” (Ferrell, Fraedrich, Ferrell 127).
Basically, corporate cultures can also have ethical aspects which reflect how the company’s founders felt about ethics, or possibly how the company has dealt with ethical issues as they came up over time. Once there is an existing ethic in place, employees are more likely to follow it because they will feel it is required from working in a place with such a corporate culture. The people in charge of hiring are more likely to hire employees who do fit in with the corporation’s perceived culture, as well, reinforcing the ethic again.
This is not always a good thing, however, as if an organization has a bad ethical culture, that means its employees will be less likely to act ethically than if there was no culture at all. The corporate culture of an organization, then, can influence its employees in bad ways as well as good ones.
Ferrell O.C., Fraedrich J., Ferrell J. (2009). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. (7th ed.) Mason, OH : South-Western Cengage Learning.