What role does ethics play in business today? How can today's business professional reconcile personal ethics with professional behavior? Is such reconciliation even necessary? In his book Ethics from a Theocentric Perspective, James Gustafson does not focus on ethics in business; instead, he considers ethics from the basis of an individual's theological background. The importance of this topic to business professionals is that it provides an understanding of how a person's theological foundation influences their ethical behavior within their personal and their professional lives. This research considers the influence of theology on ethics, and examines the importance of understanding that influence on successful business professionals.
Until recently, ethical behavior in business was not a formal topic of discussion in most business schools. In today's highly litigious society, however, business professionals and business students are coming to realize that sales and profits are no longer sufficient factors, in and of themselves, on which decisions can be based. Instead, it is vital that decisions take into account ethical issues.
Among the ethical questions that companies face are those that relate to safety. The Ford Pinto as marketed during the 1970s had a fuel system which made it susceptible to explosion when involved in rear-end collisions. The decision to market the vehicle despite this flaw was based on the economic decision of whether it would cost more to pay legal fees and penalties associated with a lawsuit, or whether it would be less expensive to modify the fuel system. In that case, the decision was made to go ahead and market the car. Such a decision can be made on strictly economic terms, but ignores the question of responsibility that is associated with putting an item on the market which the company knows to be unsafe.
Ethics come into play within organizations because decisions such as whether o...