Business & ManagementIB

Purpose of ethical objectives

Purpose of ethical objectives....Altruistic attitude: the company genuinely does it for social benefits, they actually care about the impact of the company.....Strategic attitude: businesses ought
Purpose of ethical objectives

Altruistic attitude: the company genuinely does it for social benefits, they actually care about the impact of the company.

Strategic attitude: businesses ought to be socially responsible only if such actions help them to become more profitable.

Self-interest attitude: the belief that it is the government’s job to protect society.

The integration of ethical objectives within business operations and strategies has become increasingly prominent in the modern corporate world. Ethical objectives refer to the goals that guide businesses in conducting their activities in a manner that is consistent with moral principles, societal expectations, and sustainable practices. These objectives are pivotal in shaping a company’s approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR), environmental stewardship, and governance. The purpose of setting ethical objectives varies across businesses, often reflecting a blend of altruism, strategic considerations, and self-interest. Understanding these motivations is essential for IB Business & Management students, as it provides insights into the complexities of ethical decision-making in business contexts. This comprehensive analysis explores the purposes behind ethical objectives, using industry examples to illustrate the concepts of altruistic, strategic, and self-interest attitudes.

Altruistic Attitude

Definition: An altruistic attitude toward ethical objectives is characterized by a genuine concern for social welfare and the positive impact a company can have on society, the environment, and stakeholders. Businesses adopting this approach prioritize ethical considerations even when it may not directly contribute to profitability.

Example: Patagonia, an outdoor apparel company, exemplifies an altruistic attitude by committing to environmental sustainability and ethical labor practices. Beyond using organic cotton and recycled materials, Patagonia actively engages in environmental activism and dedicates a portion of its sales to conservation efforts. This commitment reflects a genuine desire to contribute positively to society and the planet.

Strategic Attitude

Definition: A strategic attitude towards ethical objectives views social responsibility as a means to achieve long-term profitability and competitive advantage. Companies with this perspective integrate ethical practices with business strategy, believing that doing good can also be good for business.

Example: Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan showcases a strategic attitude by aiming to decouple business growth from environmental impact while increasing positive social impact. Unilever understands that sustainable practices can drive consumer loyalty, operational efficiencies, and innovation, ultimately contributing to profitability.

Self-Interest Attitude

Definition: A self-interest attitude posits that the primary responsibility of businesses is to generate profit, with the belief that it is the government’s role, not the company’s, to address social and environmental issues. Firms with this view may adhere to ethical objectives only to the extent required by law or to avoid governmental intervention.

Example: A hypothetical company operating in a highly regulated industry, such as chemicals, may follow environmental regulations strictly to avoid penalties and government intervention but may not actively pursue environmental initiatives beyond compliance. This attitude reflects a belief in the primacy of profit-making, with ethical practices driven by regulatory compliance rather than voluntary commitment.


The purpose of integrating ethical objectives into business operations reflects a spectrum of attitudes, from altruistic to strategic to self-interest. Companies like Patagonia demonstrate how a genuine concern for social and environmental issues can guide business practices. In contrast, Unilever illustrates how ethical objectives can be aligned with strategic business goals to achieve profitability and sustainability. The self-interest attitude, while less focused on voluntary ethical practices, emphasizes the role of regulatory compliance in shaping corporate behavior. For IB Business & Management students, understanding these diverse motivations is crucial for analyzing business strategies and developing comprehensive approaches to ethical decision-making and CSR in a globalized economy.


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