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In fact, Millennium Challenge Corporation, which provides assistance for poor countries, has excluded Bangladesh from the list of beneficiaries for the past two years, citing corruption as the reason.
Some studies have been conducted that rank nations and organizations according to their ethical conduct and stance.
A low level of ethics in the business sector is a part of wider socio-economic and political problems faced by many countries: often loopholes in legal and business regulation contribute to the corruption that can plague business operations.
Transparency International Bangladesh, which has been campaigning against corruption since 1996, estimates that the country loses about $1.5 billion which is about 2% of its gross domestic product (GDP) to corruption every year.
Our concern is that the business practices, observed in Bangladesh, indicate a general need for strengthening of business regulation and more stringent monitoring and control if the country is to meet international norms for ethical business conduct.
We commence with a review of the literature to outline relevant perspectives on business ethics.Appropriate regulatory structures and processes cognizant of the nature of organizations and considering the perspective of the country where the business process occurs should be developed, and be properly implemented if acceptable ethical standards in business are to be achieved.Introducing and adhering to strong government, organizational structures and professional codes of conduct that are designed to support ethical processes can have positive implications for perceptions about country-specific corrupt practices.Generally, emerging economies such as Bangladesh do not rank highly.For example, the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” indicators Problems and Perspectives in Management, Volume 8, Issue 4, 2010 (World Bank, 2009), that are constructed, based on ten different component factors for about 180 countries, show Singapore as having the best ranking while Bangladesh is ranked quite unfavorably in 119th place.There is often a conflict between the pursuit of profit and the exercise of ethical conduct in business as managers pursue profit to maximize returns to investors and often to maximize their own self-interest.Carr (2004) argues that most executives, from time to time, are almost compelled in the interests of their companies or themselves, to practice some form of deception when negotiating with customers, dealers, labor unions, governmental officials, or even other departments of their own companies.This ranking does not paint a good picture of business ethics in the country and indicates that further improvements in its institutional, structural and policy environments are needed.A wide range of stakeholders, including international capital providers, investors and regulators, pay attention to these studies and, so improving the rankings, should be of concern to managers when they make decisions considering the conflict between profitability and ethical business conduct.Under competitive conditions when a free market economy prevails, managers make choices to maximize short-run profit, but to be sustainable in the long-run business organizations must usually satisfy both profit expectations and acceptable norms of ethical business practice. The United Nations (UN) (United Nations, 2003) has produced a document proclaiming norms for conduct and operations of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.These norms cover general obligations to promote human rights as well as recognizing international and national law, including the rights of indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups such as consumers and workers, and also have regard to environmental protection.