Business Ethics & Responsible Management


Business ethics are considered as the code of practices that instructs employees the way in which they are required to perform business activities and behave in different organisational situation. It also includes some ethical values of company as well as its manager whose main objective is to attain organisational goals without compromising with their principles. This present report is based on case study of NHS regarding gifts receiving unethical from pharmaceuticalists and conflicts of interest. National Health services is healthcare industry is headquartered in England, United Kingdom and founded in 1948 by Aneurin Bevan. This report is going to discuss about stakeholders for NHS case study and ethical dilemma related to it. It also explains about ethical theories that will be helpful in judging ethics of the stated situations. At last, it also elaborates quality which are required by the ethical manager to manage with organisational situations..


A) Explanation of ethical dilemma and identification of Key stakeholders

The purpose of this report is to explore the latest trends in healthcare and medical centres. The major objective of this report is related to the concern about NHS being an ethical company and the dilemma involving conflict of interests. It has a specific reference to increasing awareness about employing ethics in medical practices after a number of scandals were exposed by the Daily Telegraph (NHS nursing staff face crackdown on perceived conflicts of interest, 2018). These scandals got under limelight after a number of healthcare and medical professionals were caught taking funds and having quality time and dinner with drug companies and professionals (Shen, 2011). These individuals from drug firms asked senior health professionals to switch the drugs being used by them while treating and prescribing patient with the medicines provided by these pharmaceuticalists. This ethical dilemma holds significance as many healthcare professionals, general practitioners and medical centre persons are now getting involved in dishonest practices and proposing and making use of such drugs which are given by professionals who offer them expensive gifts and luxurious experience. The ethical dilemma described herein is set in reflection of the role of business entity in relation to society and environment.

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This report is written from middle manager of NHS and is addressed to the senior managers with an aim to make them aware about a new trend of unethical practices in hospital and medical care centres by senior healthcare officials. This report revolves around the ethical dilemma “Should senior medical professionals who decide the drugs get taken out for a fancy dinner and ignore it later?”. Considering this dilemma is necessary so as to ensure that health care officials and doctors who makes decisions about which drug would be used in hospitals and medical centres do not get indulged in immoral and unethical practices (Trevino and Nelson, 2016). Also, this report is related to the ethical dilemma which questions the assurance by senior healthcare officials that they will not get engaged in any practice, process or technique that conflicts with the interests of stakeholders of NHS (NHS ban on staff receiving gifts worth more than £50 in crackdown, 2018). Furthermore, this is directed towards providing assistance to senior managers of medical institutions so as to make sure that nobody amongst the staff of hospitals and medical centres make use of ethical means to carry out practices and procedures.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an ethical act where businesses give their contribution towards sustainable development and producing an overall positive and everlasting impact upon society. This is done in a way that ensures maximum benefits for the various stakeholders of the organisation. In modern time, this concept is becoming increasingly significant in two folded ways: one is in terms of avoiding risks of indulging in unethical practices along with avoiding any legal or local community interference in the practices and conduct of operations of entity (Ulrich and Sarasin, 2012). The other is getting involved in CSR initiatives provides a strategic and competitive edge to businesses that are a part of society and are successful in gaining widespread acceptance from customers, local community, government, society and healthcare professional bodies. It is being largely noticed that nowadays, people are increasingly becoming aware of corporate social responsibility and the need and requirement behind entities, especially healthcare centres to understand the demarcation between what is right and wrong in terms of practices and procedures in hospitals and medical units. This aspect holds importance as complying with the ethical and legal requirements reflects that NHS is carrying out operations within the norms prescribed by law and society (Weiss, 2014). Although adoption of CSR initiatives largely help an entity in carrying out the functions of hospitals and medical centres ethically and legally and maintains the corporate image and position of company, it is also noticed that many professionals believe that engaging in corporate social responsibilities may have some counter effects. Indulging in social duties makes an entity accountable to society yet it gets diverted from the original objective of NHS to deliver health care services to a large number of people as adopting these practices will increase the overall cost of operations of organisation.

The unethical practice of receiving gifts from pharmaceuticalists and drug firm has affected many stakeholders of NHS. Such stakeholders are people, local NHS organisations, government, health and care federations, royal colleges and professional groups, patients, public groups, policy organisations and Medical Association etc. As the faith and belief of all these stakeholders lies in honest, transparent and fair practices adopted by NHS, the unethical practice of senior medical officers and professionals has defamed the whole medical industry. This impacted negatively on their image and also they led down stakeholders as well (Voegtlin, Patzer and Scherer, 2012).


With the help of above mentioned information, it is recommended that NHS needs to make modifications as per the requirements among policies so that nurses and other staff cannot get gift more than £50. With the help of this, it can easily be said that organisation may perform well and it will also aid in developing right amount of interests of clients that were previously gifted to staff more than £50. it is also recommended that, NHS also required to follow CSR in order to work in an most effectively considering all the ethics. Through this, maximum benefits could easily be gained by NHS in specific time frame. On the other hand, it is also suggested that healthcare providers needs to deliver every single information to government on their earnings. With the help of this, they might start delivering paying right amount of taxes.

b) Applying two ethical theories to the case study


Utilitarianism can be understood as a theory where an individual, organisation or a group needs to act in a way where maximisation of good needed to be delivered to a huge number of people. Since National Health Services (NHS), went through a number of scandals that were related to conflicts of interests (Amann and et. al., 2011). Here, many cases came in front where staff was rapidly taking gifts in monitory terms from their clients more than £50. Authorities (Sir Malcolm Grant) decided to ban people who were taking more than suggested amount. In this situation when it was much required for NHS organisation to run a register which lists potential conflicts of interest held by staff like hospitality received, involvement in sponsored events and private business interests.

Here, utilitarianism can be utilised which aid in considering both right and wrong solely on consequences that were linked with a few policy in order to reduce a number of other actions which could lead to increase in conflicts of interests. Apart from this, it moves beyond the scope of individual's own interests and takes into account the interests of others. Apart from this, idea which was being developed by authorities of National Health Services was to create a register so that data or the knowledge could be kept or stored for a longer period of time which was linked with involvement in sponsored events and private business interests.

Winners in present case could be identified as stakeholders that were getting affected the most by all the scandals, like those pharmaceutical companies that were not linked with healthcare providers or the private practitioners. Using this theory of utilitarianism of ethics, could aid directly in giving equal opportunities to every single pharmaceutical organisation to work with them (Crane and Matten, 2016). This could directly aid in reaching to an all new level and could help NHS in going through all the conflicts in specific time frame. On the other hand, the basic principle of utility is applied directly to each alternative act in a situation of choice. The right act is then defined as the one which brings about the best results. Here, authorities have kept their focus on offering right and equal amount of opportunities to pharmaceutical firms that were offering medication with low prices as well with same salts. Away with this, policy was also made by NHS to stop private practitioners who were working with National Health Services at a level where they can charge to patients in a limit. This could be considered as a loosing condition because, it has been analysed that doctors were receiving more than £100,000 per year from pharmaceutical companies with whom they were linked and their was no authentic information was also presented of the money made. This led authorities to develop strict policies against the wrong doings which increased conflicts of interests. This impacted negatively on overall ethics which were being followed by NHS in past.

Deontological Theory Of Ethics

Deontological theory of ethics emphasise on morality of human actions and duty. It helps to differentiate between what is right and wrong (Dierksmeier, 2011). Cost, uncertainty and subjectivity is not involved in this as certain rules are made which are meant to be followed. Checklist is created with certain points, if checklist is complete then it means work is successful.

NHS should apply this theory of ethics in which people follow certain rules and regulations to accomplish their duties. It helps to acknowledge whether a duty performed by employees is ethical or not. NHS can use this theory to focus on patients and their benefits rather then individual or employers benefits. Deontology states that some actions may not be morally right but result can be good, NHS can use this theory for sake of patients.

Let us suppose that patient is suffering from a disease and is cured by ailment given by doctor and gives him reward, for patient it is right as he paid reward when he got well but on behalf of doctor it is not morally right, if doctor every time received some reward then he will become habitual of this and will start demanding (De George, 2011). For such cases, NHS banned reward more than 50 pounds but some cases were found where reward was more than specified amount and it became important for them to eliminate such kind of practices. So NHS should use this theory to remove such kind of practices and should address all rules. Various scenarios occurred within NHS where employees are given reward beyond 50 pounds and doctors received a huge amount from pharmaceuticals. Payment of ten millions is received from doctors but it was not known from where it was coming. It was difficult for NHS to analyse bills of hospitality when large conferences were held and this all lead to morality issues. To avoid such kind of situations NHS should use deontological theories and all problems should be mentioned to attain stability and morality.

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Foremost concern should be on patients so rules should me made by taking them into concern. Well-being of humans should be top priority and should not be source of extra income for any employee not even from pharmaceutical industries. Patients should be treated as per disease and should not be given any kind of extra treatment for earning extra amount. All these factors should be highlighted by NHS while making use of this theory.

NHS should use this theory to determine what is right and do it because it is right, determines what is wrong and do not do it as it is wrong. This theory is based on principle of humanity in which everyone is considered equal and worth of protection,so NHS can use this theory as they also deals with well-being of patients (Godemann and et. al., 2014). Moral values do not change with time, they are recognised. NHS can make guidelines related with moral decisions rather than calculation of outcomes so that transparency, openness and consistency can be handled. Henceforth, it can easily be said that, using these two theories may aid in developing the belief of clients again which was impacted negatively because of a scandals.


The qualities recognised for ethical leadership and the creation of an ethical organisation

Ethical leader refers to the individual who gives priority to their own beliefs and values while execute their work responsibility. This concept is directly related to honesty, fairness, trust etc. which motivates an individual or leader to work but only within ethical boundaries. It has been analysed that there are numerous of situations in working environment which develops the need of ethical leader in order to attain their targeted goals and objective of business organisation (Hibbert and Cunliffe, 2015). As being an ethical manager of an organisation it is essential for me to own certain qualities which will help me managing my job responsibilities in business organisation. I have analysed that sometimes its difficult for me perform my responsibilities that creates a dilemma between me and my work. This problem generally occurs because of my some own ethical values which forces me to work within these boundaries but at the same time I have realise that it is not always possible for me to manage the situation according to demand of organisational work. I have realised that many times unwillingly I am adopting some unethical techniques to maximise profitability of organisation but when it comes to analyse overall ourtcomes I have observed that unethical working pattern also creates negative brand image of business organisation.

Some of these qualities of ethical leadership are described as below:

  • Honesty: It is one of the essential trait that reflects that it important for every ethical manager to remain honest and loyal with their work. It involves maintaining transparency with the follower in order to make them realise that every work is done in an effective manner.
  • Focus on team building: In this quality of a ethical leadership, it can be said that its important for the leader to mainly focus on providing best working environment to team mates. This can only be done by creating some team building activities which will create strong bond among team members. As a result, it will be helpful in attaining targeted goals and objective of employees in less period of time (Hoffman Frederick and Schwartz, 2014). Ultimately, it also contributes in the achievement of targeted organisation goals. It can be said that an ethical manager is required to not only focus on their organisational goal but they also focus on goals, objective and growth of team members.
  • Value driven decision- making: This quality of ethical manager states that decision should be taken by consulting with all team mates in order to take better decisions. All of the decisions are required to be taken in such a format that does not exceed criteria of ethical values.

As per the above stated qualities of ethical manager, it has been realised by me that according to the changing demand and requirement of organisation it is important for me to adapt these qualities in order to become an ethical leader with appropriate ethical leadership traits.

Apart from this, I have also observed that according to requirement of modern working pattern it is important for me as well as other ethical manager to develop high standards of personal values and organisational values in order to create an ethical environment for working staff. This environment will motivate employees to perform their business activities without compromising with companies values (Idowu, Capaldi and Gupta, 2013). For example: It is important for working staff of NHS to not sell expired medicines as it may harm user a lot. This may also lead to some high level of medical emergency or it may also cause death. It can be said that, it is the responsibility of ethical manager of this hospital to deliver right code of practices and conduct to employees. These code of conduct will guide each and every employee to execute their work role within the criteria of organisational value. As a result, employees will not perform any unethical which may impact negatively over the goodwill of same organisation.

In addition to this, as per overall analysis it has been realised by me that there are numerous of situation which develops the need of ethical manager in business organisation so that they could execute their planned activities in right manner (Myers, 2013). It can be said that negative brand image of company as well as wrong code of conducts generates the need of ethical manager as they are the only one who could business activities along with the coordination of profitability ratio. I have also observed that an effective ethical manager owns capability to execute business activities in right manner by maintaining satisfaction level of employees too.


As per the above specified report it has been concluded that business ethics refers to the corporate ethics that are considered by an ethical manager while dealing with organisational situations or problems. It has been realised Utilitarianism and Deontological are the two of main theory which contributes in dealing with the situation which are faced by organisation. Along with this, it can be said that an effective ethical manager is the one who owns quality of honesty, team building capability etc. These traits are beneficial in achieving organisational as well as personal goals of team members. As per evaluation it can be said that if an organisation is owning an ethical manager then they can achieve their targeted goals and objectives by maintaining decorum of brand name of company. It also contributes in influencing interest of team members in performing business activities in more effective manner without compromising with ethical values.


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  • Crane, A. and Matten, D., 2016.Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press.
  • De George, R. T., 2011.Business ethics. Pearson Education India.
  • Dierksmeier, C., 2011. The freedom–responsibility nexus in management philosophy and business ethics.Journal of Business Ethics,101(2), pp.263-283.
  • Godemann, J. and et. al., 2014. United Nations supported principles for responsible management education: purpose, progress and prospects.Journal of Cleaner Production,62, pp.16-23.
  • Hibbert, P. and Cunliffe, A., 2015. Responsible management: Engaging moral reflexive practice through threshold concepts.Journal of business ethics,127(1), pp.177-188.
  • Hoffman, W. M., Frederick, R. E. and Schwartz, M. S. eds., 2014.Business ethics: Readings and cases in corporate morality. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Idowu, S. O., Capaldi, N., Zu, L. and Gupta, A. D., 2013.Encyclopedia of corporate social responsibility(Vol. 21). New York: Springer.
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  • Shen, J., 2011. Developing the concept of socially responsible international human resource management.The International Journal of human resource management,22(06), pp.1351-1363.

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