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Business ethics is the system of laws and guidelines by which business professionals and corporations operate in a fair, legal and moral fashion. It’s a broad topic, covering everything from a corporation’s responsibilities to the public (corporate social responsibility), to specific laws prohibiting illegal practices in the workplace.

When ethical guidelines are followed, trust develops between workers and management, as well as between the public and the corporation. Thus, business ethics lead to a more productive workplace.

Most corporations have a policy limiting the size of gifts given to customers to a small monetary amount. For example, you can give a customer a dozen golf balls, but not a new set of golf clubs. This is to prevent kickbacks or bribes. If the customer is going to do business with you, it’s because your product or service is needed, not because you gave them incentives outside the core business of the company.

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was created in 1977 in response to a rash of U. S. companies bribing foreign government officials to award contracts to their businesses. The act forbids corporations and business executives from paying money or other valuables to foreign governments and officials in order to secure business. 

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