The 21st century to no small extent has positively impacted business management activities due to extensive and rapid developments in inventions, technologies, computer practices, software systems, the internet, and digital media. However, these advancements have also complicated business management (Lashley, 2016). The ethical issues in organizations have always been present; however, in recent years, their type and degree are changing in the current dynamic and digital society. Globalization and digitalization associated with the 21st century have not only changed the ethical issues that organizations experience but also the magnitude of these issues (Nuseir & Ghandour, 2019). Indeed, the broadening of problems and grievances associated with ethical issues in business management pinpoint to the contemporary moral issues (Gunkel, 2015). Business management in the 21st century is more complex, thanks to the fact that a multitude of ethical problems often co-occur. The paper argues the changes associated with the 21st century necessitate responsible, sustainable, and ethical behavior in the management of business activities.
Business practices, including but not limited to the tactics, techniques, sales and promotion, advertising, procurement, communication, bookkeeping, and consumer consultation, have become modernized in the past three decades. Undeniably, currently, most of the business activities are conducted online with the assistance of the internet and other digital devices (Institute of Business Ethics, 2011). Additionally, businesses across the globe irrespective of the size are globalized and consider the whole world as a single village. Majority of the service centers and customer consultation are automatized with instantly available feedback (Brimmer, 2010). Online payments and sales are the way to go in most businesses. Business reports are computerized, and most period reports are in fact generated automatically. For instance, different accounts, including the organizations’ revenue and profits, are updated within time through the mere application of the relevant software. In the human resource department, all information of the employees, including their progress and performance, is available on the office computers and can be assessed through a mere click. All stakeholders, comprising the owners and the managers of the organization, can monitor the progress of the business from any location.
However, while technological advancements support convenience and speedy work, there are many issues associated with these changes, particularly those related to ethical aspects. In addition to the recent developments in business management, ethical concerns have widened in forms and scope. Corporate responsibility and ethics are currently some of the prominent issues in businesses (Hetch & Fiksel, 2015). Indeed, the current ethical climate in organizations cannot be attested to be exemplary. Legal accountability, workplace safety, child labor, corruption, cybercrimes, and privacy threats are some of the examples of extensive ethical problems in the current business environment. Indeed, issues such as cyber ethics have profoundly expanded in the past decade due to development and subsequent popularization of social media and associated technologies (Enderle, 2015). Indeed, the 21st-century advancements imply that managers are often under ethical pressure from different stakeholders including the owners, government bodies, staffs, consumers, contractors, rivals, and other managers to be accountable and behave ethically.
Business ethics describe a set of moral codes that often direct how businesses operate and how business decisions are made in addition to monitoring how different stakeholders of the company behave. Therefore business ethics to no small extent encompasses observing rules and moral values in conducting business (Nuseir & Ghandour, 2019). It entails keeping the legal rights of persons, society, and companies in addition to the business environment itself. It ensures the safety of the workplace. The entirety of the concept of business ethics is grounded on uprightness, trustworthiness, honesty, transparency, a set of principles, and the protection of legal rights of different entities.
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