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Business ethics can be defined as the applied ethics discipline that tackles the moral issues surrounding commercial activities. If an organization acts in an ethically questionable manner, the key problems the organization will face are, at first, hampered international exchange. This refers to the exchange of talented individuals from all over the world whose services will help a company to realize important goals and maintain high ethical standards. This will especially be the case when the company’s image is destroyed due to unethical business practice. In addition, delayed information disclosure as a result of eroded business ethics will be prevalent. Such companies will be unable to share information with the international community or their customers and this will harm the company in the long run. Other problems include termination of business permits because the business lacked transparency and consequently resisted investigation. Such businesses could also face numerous lawsuits because they may have manipulated customers psychologically by taking advantage of their vulnerabilities. These companies may incur massive losses because those in charge may have falsified documents to show an increase in profits. Customers to such companies may suffer due to invasion of their privacy. In addition, this could be used as leverage for acquisition of professional or personal gains. Secondly, harm to the environment due to unethical business practice directly harms the customers by affecting their health or the productivity of their land. Many of the customers who may have genuine legal rights for compensation from these companies usually suffer since these unethical companies find ways around fulfilling such requirements. The affected customers are then burdened by heavy medical bills if the products affected their health or hefty legal fees to pay lawyers who argue their cases.
Employees can accomplish this by practicing upward ethical leadership. This is a concept which describes a leadership behavior in the face of dubious moral conduct by those higher in authority. In these situations, many employees face two choices. They can either risk taking action or disregard this responsibility completely. The first step is for an employee to understand his or her sources of power. The first is employability. This reduces the employee’s dependence on the organization and when one removes an organization’s power over them by being willing to leave they will be able to act on their ethical and moral principles and thus correct a misdeed. The second source of power is the relationship an employee has with his or her peers, managers or other firms. A strong relationship with either of these parties will enable an employee influence others and gain support. This will allow easier consultation with those higher up with regard to the unethical practice and will also act as an opportunity to seek the support of one’s peers or coworkers. The third source of power is an employee’s competence and reputation. This will enable an employee to influence others because he or she is respected and thus stand up against any misconduct. The fourth source of power is an employee’s communication skills. Is he or she able to mobilize others for a worthy cause? Communication skills also help the employee communicate their problem in a way that evokes the least emotion and can help in resolution of the problem. Employees can face such a problem by developing proactive-solving skills. This helps an individual to develop self-control over such situations by expanding his or her options. This also reduces the feeling of powerlessness that many employees experience during such times. An employee can then think of other ways to take a stand or develop ideas on how to respond best.