Much of the focus this semester has been on professional ethics in organizations, though it has been acknowledged that your own personal ethical paradigm strongly influences your workplace choices. At the periphery, the social responsibility aspect of ethics has been hinted at; that is, to what degree are you obligated to others (regardless of who they are or where they live) to act in an ethical manner? Paying taxes, voting, obeying stop signs, pulling your cars to the side of the road when an emergency vehicle passes—these are all demonstrations of a personal commitment to social responsibility and ethical behavior.
Focus your discussion on the following:
To what degree should organizations (non-profit and for-profit) bear social responsibility? They provide jobs, pay taxes, provide services and goods—but how much profit is enough?
At what point should they be societally obligated to give back, or to give back more than they currently do?
At what point should they stop producing products that contribute little to society’s welfare, even if it means fewer profits?
If organizations are people, too (as stated by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election [Huffington Post, 2011]), can they be trusted to do the right thing?