1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Business ethics is defined by the interaction of ethics and business. At its broadcast level, it studies the possible moral justification of economic systems. At a secondary level it studies the business corporations as entity with conscience. Thirdly it evaluates the morality of individual and their actions in economic and business transactions. A corporation can only be as the people who own, manage and work for it, but its organization and practice which can in turn be reinforced or impeded by the larger systems of which it is part.
Business is a social activity and like all social activities cannot function unless certain moral pre-requisites are fulfilled. The dissociation of management from ownership took place at the same time that laws regulating business proliferated. As a result, it was natural for those who were managing firms to feel that what society and stockholders of their company required of them a compliance with the law. If they complied with the law, they began to feel that morality was personal, that is varied from person to person and from group to group, and that all that could be expected of managers of business as well as it self was mere adherence to the law. Equating what is required of business a convenient and norm to adopt. It made clean one’s duty and limited what one had to consider.
This view fails to consider carefully the relationship between law and morality. One of the ways to agree that the conduct of the law governs its immoral and seriously harmful to the society. For instance discrimination was immoral before it was made illegal but not all laws are moral defensible. Laws requiring racial segregation and discrimination are a case in point.
To abide by the law in practicing discrimination was, infancy, to act immorally. The retreat to law as a sole norm to guide business is in part a reflection of the fact that most managers do not know how to handle many moral issues in business. Having equated morality with personal opinion they understandably find it difficult to defend their moral judgments in objective terms.
The retreat to law, together with a disclaimer concerning moral demand, is frequent not a reflection to bad will or of a desire to be immoral. Rather, it often reflects the lack of internal structures within a firm to weigh moral as well as consideration. The promotion of ethics in business is basically a management duty. Conceded that the board of directors sets the tone for ethical practices, management sees it as application and promotion.
Taking a look at the Nigeria business environment, the presence or lack of ethics in business can be attributed to management. Drucker posts that the new tasks of management demand that the managers of tomorrow roots ever action and decision in the bedrock of principles that he leads not only through vision courage responsibility and integrity. Hence, for today’s manager the issue ethics is of utmost important, for individuals in business can no longer act as they choose.
Government regulations, decisions and guidelines temper the moves of the market place. In addition, corporations are asked if not forced to consider the impact of their decision and actions on the environment the public and the common good. Air and water are no longer resources to be freely used. No manufacturer today can ignore the safety of workers and consumers of products.
However, most business corporations are not structured to handle ethical demands. The management of most companies are not equipped, due to lack of structures to weigh values in non monetary terms.
The absence of these structures that promote ethics, has led to the death of ethics in business. The task of this research work is to examine the managerial perspectives in the promotion of ethics, through a systematic study of management structures that promote ethics.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM