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Business Ethics Assignment: Research Proposal

Question

Task Description: Please provide an outline of a research project that you intend to use as the basis for your ?nal assessment task 3, full project proposal. You should brie?y write:

  • Title of the project
  • A brief statement of the problem that you would like to investigate; and research aim and objectives that can solve the problem you have identi?ed.
  • A brief methodology: Provide details about what type of methodology you will choose such as quantitative or qualitative or mixed methodology;
  • Clearly identify secondary data source(s) and data that require for your research; also identify the methods and tools that you will use to analyse the collected data.

This is an individual research task. As a Masters student, you are required to engage in research and demonstrate your understanding of the relevant body of works that have discussed recent developments in a discipline and/or area of professional practice. You are also required to demonstrate knowledge of research methods applicable to a real-life business research. We expect you to read and re?ect on at least ten recent refereed journal articles on your topic supported by any other evidence or information that can help identify the problem of your research and the methods of data collection and analysis.

Answer

Introduction:The importance of business ethics has increased manifold in the knowledge society which calls for higher social responsibility from business organizations. This demand is particularly observed from the perspective of stakeholders in this business ethics assignment. It is observed evidently that an organization’s performance levels and sustainability are considerably dependent on its ethical compliance in different operational aspects as well as its recognition of the different stakeholders of the organization as the source of effectiveness and productivity (Andriof et al., 2017).

The basis of business ethics in an organization have been found to impose considerable influence on stakeholder relationships which has been outlined distinctly with prominent references to corporate social responsibility of organizations (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). Therefore, the following business ethics assignment aims to outline specific methods which could be used for investigating the influence of business ethics on stakeholder relationships through utilization of conceptual framework for understanding the research topic. The business ethics assignment would also outline the specific methodology that can be implemented for addressing the research question.

Problem statement: The problem statement for this business ethics assignment is to identify the extent to which business ethics have the potential for influencing stakeholder relationships and the varying perception of business ethics from the viewpoint of different stakeholders.

Research aim: The aim of the following business ethics assignment is to present a guideline to conduct investigation into the role of business ethics in the management of stakeholder relationships.

The research objectives could be considered as benchmarks for distinct stages in the research process. The research objectives could be presented as follows.

  • To ascertain the definition of business ethics and its impact on a business
  • To define stakeholder relationships and their significance
  • To establish an interrelationship between business ethics and stakeholder relationships
  • To determine the significant inferences identified in the interplay between business ethics and stakeholder relationships from different perspectives

The research questions that can be identified in this proposal would be derived from the research objectives to maintain uniformity in the investigation on the research topic. The research questions are:

  • What is business ethics and why is it important for an organization?
  • What are stakeholder relationships and their significance for a business?
  • How are business ethics and stakeholder relationships related?
  • How do different stakeholders perceive the relation between business ethics and stakeholder relationships?

Justification for the project: From a theoretical perspective, the choice of project topic is important because it can provide the opportunity for building future research apart from presenting unique insights into the influence of business ethics from the perspective of stakeholders. Practically, the research could help in drawing insights into the potential measures for improving stakeholder relationships alongside focusing on business ethics both of which are essential for sustainability of an organization (Clarkson, 1995). The potential outcomes of the research would imply particularly towards the social responsibilities of an organization and how the best practices of CSR could be employed for strengthening stakeholder relationships.

Conceptual framework: Ethics can be considered as the foundations on which communities and organizations are built alongside being the major determinants of changes in human behaviour. The definition of ethics in the domain of business has been associated with variability owing to the references to various bases of human behaviour. However, the crux of all definitions is identified to be vested in questions about what is appropriate and what is not for accomplishing different business objectives (Crane & Matten, 2016). Ethics could be defined as a particular set of standards which dictate the standards, literature, behaviour and values for different professions according to which the employees should base their actions and behaviour. The significance of business ethics for an organization could be largely anticipated across three domains. First of all, business ethic imply that there should be no violation of criminal law during any work-related activity, refrain from actions that can negatively influence company image and avoid any actions that can lead to civil lawsuits against the company (Jamali, 2008). Therefore, it can be observed that the general perception of ethics in the domain of business is primarily to avoid the loss of money or company reputation.

The differences in perception of the significance and definition of business ethics according to different authors are prominently observed in their emphasis on distinct dimensions of business ethics. Apart from the variations in perspectives of authors on business ethics, various religions and cultures in different locations of the world have created notable disparities in the perspectives on ethics. It is also evident to note that the understanding of employees, business owners and interest groups also create differences in ascertaining the meaning of business ethics. However, the course of the last decade there have been profound reforms in the domain of world economy and business ethics in the international market in unison with the various social changes emerging during the same period.

The intensification of international competition, prevalence of mass mergers, economic recession and sudden downturn in markets are some of the events that have been noted explicitly in the recent years. It is also essential to note the ambiguity experienced by organizations in anticipating the significance of addressing the needs and expectations of customers owing to the requirements for dealing with new business issues and development of new competitive strategies (Goodpaster, 1991).

In this context, the concept of ethics pertaining to business, management and marketing take the backstage albeit remaining an integrated assortment of options for accomplishing value in the long term. Furthermore, the concerns of profitability have become prominent after the financial recession in 2008 and 2009 for which organizations are less likely to focus on value generation in the long term. On the other hand, it is also essential to focus on the role of business ethics as a competitive force since various investigations have suggested that compliance with business ethics has a formidable influence on performance of a company. The relationship between business ethics and competitive elements as well as the effect of certain segregated elements of business ethics on the competitive advantage of companies has been outlined in different research literature. Most of the time, the role of business ethics in promotion of efficiency has been considerably associated with references to corporate social responsibility. Initially, the concept of ethics was meant for the development of a socially responsible organization in order to have a particular sensitivity that can be leveraged by the brand for outrivaling competition.

One of the notable principles described by Koch i.e. the 80/20 principle suggests that an organization is able to obtain 80% of its profit from 20% of its clients (Harada, Osman & omar, 2014). This implies that the competitive advantage of an organization is dependent on communication of clear values and strategies alongside reinforcing the values in all business activities and allowing people to act flexibly with the trust and commitment to execute activities in line with the values of the organization.

According to the imperatives of management theory, the success of an enterprise in global markets is considerably dependent on the indicators of product quality, low pricing as well as elements of professionalism and speed in the services (Maignan, Ferrell & Ferrell, 2005). However, the theory also refers to the necessity of effective ethical marketing and management according to business ethics along with the ethical dealings of experts in various geographical areas and countries. Application of business ethics for accomplishing competitive advantage has been substantially associated with pitfalls because of the opposition of various competition theories for distinct theories in the history of business ethics. On the other hand, it can be aptly stated that the lack of compliance with ethics have provided examples of corporate scandals which have resulted in various formidable losses for organizations. The losses include disruption of moral routine, increased turnover, loss of confidence in the firm, major fines, increase in turnover, lower employee morale and concerns of internal fraud.

Stakeholder relationships: The emergence of the stakeholder theory has redefined the conventional perception of firms since it stated the crucial role played by stakeholders in the activity of an enterprise alongside depicting managers in simplistic terms. The theory presented firms as entities seeking profits and aimed at serving the interests of a specific group known as stakeholders. For a business organization, stakeholders could be identified in the employees, customers, investors, government agencies, suppliers, communities and any individual or group having vested interest in specific aspects of the company’s products, services, markets, operations, and industry and business outcomes (Purlys, 2010). While the stakeholder groups are influenced by the business, it is also imperative to note the fact that the stakeholder groups are also able to exert influence on the business itself. Prior to the definition of stakeholder relationships, it is essential to focus on the two types of stakeholders i.e. primary and secondary stakeholders.

The primary stakeholders of an organization are those individuals and groups that are considered mandatory for the continued survival of an organization such as employees, shareholders, customers and investors. The secondary stakeholders are identified among those individuals and groups that do not engage in direct intervention in the company. Hence the secondary stakeholders are not considered essential for the company’s survival. Coming to the definition of stakeholder relationships, it can be explained as the extent to which a firm is able to understand and address the demands of stakeholders. Stakeholder relationships are associated with three distinct sets of activities (Crane & Matten, 2016).

First of all, the collection of data throughout the organization regarding stakeholder groups and the influence of the organization on these groups is implemented in stakeholder relationships. The next step involves distribution of the information throughout the organization and finally involves the organization’s response to the information obtained. The different steps involved in stakeholder relationship could be elaborated further to establish interplay between business ethics and stakeholder relationships.

The data collection from stakeholders is based on identification of stakeholders who are relevant to the organization and their analysis should be based on the power vested in them alongside the relationships between them. It is also imperative for the organization to outline the concerns that each stakeholder group has regarding the conduct of business operations (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). Stakeholder relationship management is practically rendered null if it does not include any activities for addressing issues perceived by stakeholders.

An organization’s response to the stakeholder intelligence obtained through relationships could be accounted as a notable determinant for positive influence regarding stakeholder issues. Ethical responsibility is also identified among the different responsibilities such as economic, philanthropic and legal that an organization has towards its stakeholders for improving positive impact on them and minimizing the negative impact. Hence, the importance of stakeholders for the survival of an organization as well as the role of stakeholder relationships in obtaining legible insights into the stakeholder intelligence that can support many organizational improvements.

Relation between business ethics and stakeholder relationships: There has been considerable amount of research pertaining to the elements leading to corporate reputation albeit with limited research for determining the prospects of stakeholders increasing their active support on the grounds of ethical conduct of the organization. For example, customers are likely to review the ethical practices of organization and research evidence points out to the awareness of customers about the significance of environmental issues, responsibility issues influencing purchase and consumption of products and the level of service quality provided by the company (Crane & Matten, 2016).

Organizational dis-identification could be observed noticeably in stakeholder relationships when there is perception of disparity between the defining attributes of stakeholders and the attributes which define an organization. This process generally relates to the dissociation of a person’s concept about self from the concept of the organization thereby leading to negative perceptions regarding the organization. Examples of companies such as Enron could be taken as evidence for validating the effect of a business’ unethical practices on the relationships of stakeholders with the organization that was noted in the dis-identification of employees and investors (Harada, Osman & omar, 2014). Therefore, business ethics could be accounted as prolific instruments for developing a favourable perception of the firm for stakeholders especially customers.

In some cases, organizations could also leverage business ethics for addressing the concerns of specific stakeholder groups such as customers by neglecting the interests of employees. Hence, it is important for an organization to understand the potential conflicts that are evident among stakeholder groups regarding stakeholder relationships which calls for the need to evaluate the factors responsible for the conflicts. The concerns of diversity in each stakeholder group due to the varying requirements of different individuals in the group should also be assumed as a notable determinant of approaches that should be followed by an organization to maintain business ethics compliance.

Methodology: The research method to be followed in the case of this business ethics assignment is qualitative in nature and data collection would be realized through interview with the participants. The selection of different employees of a multinational corporation by implementing random sampling would be the preferred approach in the research activity. This would enable selection of employees from different departments and hierarchical levels in the organization. Random sampling would also be applied to the customers of the organization and two distinct questionnaires would be administered to the groups (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014).

The data collection method is chosen to be interview because it is essential to draw a subjective impression of the factors that come into play during the perception of stakeholders about the ethical validity of the organization’s conduct. The secondary sources of data would be in the articles, journals and research publications related to business ethics, their role in the performance of an organization as well as their relevance with stakeholder relationships.

The evaluation of secondary data could provide credible insights into the conceptual aspects related to the research topic (Harada, Osman & omar, 2014). The data analysis would be based on thematic analysis approach that would comprise of assessment of the responses of participants to find out specific themes that can address the research question effectively. Business ethics assignments are being prepared by our business assignment help experts from top universities which let us to provide you a reliable study help online service.

Schedule of the project:

Activity

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Selection of research topic

 

 

 

 

 

Secondary research

 

 

 

 

 

Definition of research problem

 

 

 

 

 

Evaluation and selection of research methodology

 

 

 

 

 

Literature review preparation

 

 

 

 

 

Primary data collection

 

 

 

 

 

Data analysis

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion on the analysis findings

 

 

 

 

 

Documentation of the research findings

 

 

 

 

 

Final formatting and submission

 

 

 

 

 

References
Andriof, J., Waddock, S., Husted, B., & Rahman, S. S. (2017). Unfolding stakeholder engagement. In Unfolding stakeholder thinking (pp. 19-42). Routledge.

Carroll, A., & Buchholtz, A. (2014). Business and society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Nelson Education.

Clarkson, M. E. (1995). A stakeholder framework for analyzing and evaluating corporate social performance. Academy of management review, 20(1), 92-117.

Clarkson, M. E. (1995). A stakeholder framework for analyzing and evaluating corporate social performance. Academy of management review, 20(1), 92-117.

Jamali, D. (2008). A stakeholder approach to corporate social responsibility: A fresh perspective into theory and practice. Journal of business ethics, 82(1), 213-231.

Goodpaster, K. E. (1991). Business ethics and stakeholder analysis. Business ethics quarterly, 53-73.

Harada, Y., Osman, A. B., & omar Aldalayeen, B. (2014). The impact of business ethics in the competitive advantage (in the cellular communications companies operating in Jordan). European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 10(10).

Maignan, I., Ferrell, O. C., & Ferrell, L. (2005). A stakeholder model for implementing social responsibility in marketing. European Journal of Marketing, 39(9/10), 956-977.

Purlys, ?. (2010). Influence of Business Ethics for Enterprise Competitiveness

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