The Role of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
Studies of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in East Asia series
Edited by Charles Harvie and Boon-Chye Lee
Chapter 8: Ethical Values in Business: A Study of Malaysian Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Za’faran Hassan and Arawati Agus 8.1 INTRODUCTION An important contemporary issue in the management of business organization is business ethics. With the increasing complexity in the business environment, the issue of business ethics has gained much attention among researchers in recent years. Contemporary business literature abounds with topics on, or related to, business ethics. Ethical behaviour has also been extensively discussed and accepted as an important component of managerial decision-making (Etheredge, 1999; Velasquez, 1996). In order to understand better the role of ethics in the business environment, we need to become familiar with the part ethics plays in the decision-making process. Business decisions are made by individuals or by committees. Therefore, the ethics of business is actually the ethics of the individuals making up the business and who make business decisions. Ethics are revealed through a decision maker’s behaviour when solving business problems that emerge from the environment. Such behaviour evolves from attitudes toward the condition within the environment that created the problems. Despite the proliferation of research on business ethics, there are as yet few studies examining the perceived importance of ethics on business operations and especially amongst Asian small and medium-sized enterprises and, particularly, those in Malaysia. SMEs account for more than 80 per cent of total manufacturing establishments in Malaysia; of these, 88 per cent are small-scale enterprises and 12 per cent are medium-scale enterprises (Singapore Productivity and Standards Board, 1997). The majority of Malaysian SMEs are concentrated in the traditional sectors of food and beverages (20...
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