Answered By: Peter Z McKay Last Updated: Oct 29, 2014 Views: 52
- Encyclopedia of Business Ethics & Society
Commerce is by its very nature a normative enterprise. It is concerned with creating value for owners and other constituencies, ranging from the firm's immediate stakeholders, such as employees, customers, and suppliers, to the entire society within which the business operates. As a field of study, business ethics aims to specify the principles under which businesses must operate to behave ethically. Thus, business ethics focuses on issues such as those that have recently attracted so much public scrutiny: executive compensation, honesty in accounting, transparency, treatment of stakeholders, and respect for the environment. These are, in fact, perennial questions that accompany the long history of human economic activity and that will also be present through an indeterminate future.
Business and society is a distinct field of study closely related to business ethics. Business and society explores the entire range of interactions between business entities and the societies in which they operate. Almost all the questions addressed by business and society have a normative dimension. But in contrast to business ethics, the discipline of business and society relies much more strongly on the tools of the social sciences. Thus, business and society scholars frequently examine the effects of business on society using empirical tools such as surveys, empirical data, and statistics.