Ethics in business and communication: common ground or incommensurable?

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Technická Univerzita v Liberci
Technical university of Liberec, Czech Republic
Do business and communication share common ethical ground or are they incommensurable notions? This paper explores the on-going conversation surrounding the role of ethics in business and communication and related practical issues. A critical approach has been applied towards the issues, and a historical approach applied by demonstrating the ethical ideas in the history of philosophy. The regional approach is used which appeals to such ethical regions as professional ethics as well ethics in the cultural rims. Through the analysis of the relationship between global and local ethics in business and communication, the paper examines problems and issues with particular reference to meta-discourse, media, market, and, significantly, propaganda. Part 1 considers the main problems germane to business ethics, which is followed by analysis of the issues pertaining to communication ethics. Part 2 draws a comparison between the two and develops a critical approach. Kantian analysis is applied to the generally accepted maxims of ethics in business and communication. Such maxims include the reminder that: “uniformity in global communication is not possible”; and “avoid conducting business by slavishly copying others”. Furthermore, “never seek either business or communication at any price”. Put simply, the aforementioned imply something that is both simple and direct: “know the limits of your communication” and “know the limits of your business”. The paper adopts a critical approach rather than euphoric discourses concerning business and communication ethics that are typical of much of the current literature. Beside this, the relationship between global (universal) and local (regional) in ethical level is developed.
business ethics, communication ethics, corporation ethics, metacommunication, ethical maxims