Economic Criteria Versus Ethical Criteria. Toward Resolving a Basic Dilemma in Business

University of San Diego
Journal of Business Ethics (Impact Factor: 1.33). 12/1993; 13(1):71-78. DOI: 10.1007/BF00877157


Today''s headlines suggest that economic criteria alone is the basis for business decision-making. This paper argues that while profitability is a legitimate end of business, it must be moderated by ethical considerations. But can business be both successfuland ethical? Practical examples highlight individuals who chose profitability over ethical responsibility and those who chose and continue to choose both. The authors propose that there is an ethical person profile. Corporate managers can resolve the profits vs ethics dilemma by modeling ethical behavior.

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    • "Sex , age , income , category , and education level were all measured using self - selected categories , along with information about how investments were purchased and the types of investments held . Orientation and impor - tance of financial return were measured using two seven - point Likert scale items , the former being adapted from O ' Neil and Pienta ( 1994 ) "
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    ABSTRACT: Socially responsible investment is a rapidly emerging phenomenon within the field of personal investment. However, the factors that lead investors to choose socially responsible investment products are not well understood, especially in an Australian context. This study provides a comparative examination of conventional and socially responsible investors, with the aim of identifying such factors. A total of 55 conventional investors and 54 ethical investors participated in the study by completing mailed questionnaires about their investment and general behaviour and their attitudes and beliefs. Results indicated some important differences between socially responsible and conventional investors in their beliefs of the importance of ethical issues, their investment decision-making style, and their perceptions of moral intensity. These results support the notion that socially responsible investors differ in critical ways to conventional investors, and are discussed in terms of theoretical and practical implications.
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