Business ethics starts with the understanding of the different
principles and "goods" that are involved in judging what to do.
Human freedom, individual self-interest, the best interest of the
business, and the public good are four main principles. A business
also needs to choose which of these priorities or principles should
be subordinated to another.
Ethics, then must explain the goals of these ideals and set
priority principles for conflict resolution. One approach to
contemporary corporate ethics emphasises personal honesty, focusing
on conflicts of interest; another approach emphasises social
responsibility, focusing on the effects of business policy on
society's groups and individuals.
In industry, the majority of attention to conflicts of interest
focuses on the conflict between the self-interest of the employee
and the interest of the corporation. Healthcare organisations can
need to reflect on possible contradictions between the needs of the
patient and the interests of the agency or doctor. Physician
referrals and marketing strategies of pharmaceutical firms are two
fields of potential conflicts.
Not-for-profit organisations have been quicker to accept social
responsibility than the corporate world. However, in many respects,
the social effect of healthcare policies and decisions has not been
addressed as thoroughly as it should be. Institutionalizing
deliberation on clinical ethical problems has helped increase
awareness of medical care's ethical aspects.
The institutionalisation of commitment to corporate ethics in
healthcare will also be useful.