The Development of Business Ethics in Russia The word “ethics” (the Greek ethika, from ethos – custom, disposition) is usually used in two senses. On the one hand, the ethics – an area of knowledge, scientific discipline studying morality, morals, their origin, dynamics, factors and developments. On the other hand, ethics is defined by a set of moral rules in any sphere of human behavior or the organization.
There are two main viewpoints on the relationship of universal ethical principles and business ethics: 1) the rules of conventional morality to business does not include or refer to a lesser extent. This view is consistent with the concept of so-called ethical relativism, according to which each reference group (ie groups of people to view where their behavior is focused on this subject) is characterized by its own special ethical standards, and 2) business ethics based on universal universal ethics (to be honest, do no harm, to keep the floor, etc. that are specified in the light of a specific social role of business in society. The system of rules and regulations adopted at the present time in the world’s business, not appeared in finished form. It evolved over a long historical period, with the development of civilization, on the basis of the non-people of certain traditions and customs. The development of business ethics in Russia has its own characteristics, due to the specifics of the historical path traversed by the Russian government. Considering the history of European civilization, P. J.
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Chaadaev, the Russian writer of 19th century, noted that “in addition to all the general shape, each of these nations has its special features, but all this is rooted in history and tradition and inherited status of these people”  The peculiarity of Russia was that it was often alone in its general path of development when the other countries intensively exchanged their traditions. Fundamentals of Russian norms of economic behavior arise in the Moscow kingdom in XV – XVI centuries when Russian princes realized the importance of entrepreneurship for the country development.
Crafts were the basis for economic strengthening of Moscow kingdom, a prerequisite for the domestic and foreign trade growth. The centralization of power and strengthening of estrangement from the West helped shape the behavior of the Moscow merchants, suspicion of foreigners, the propensity for deception to build trade relations with strangers, poor respect for the “letter of the law”.  A rapid expansion of trade relations in Russia began in the middle of XVII century during Peter the Great’s reform time.
Russian merchants started learning the Western traditions related to private property, contracts, exchange, trade, competition, profit. There was the first attempt to the legal registration at that time, the attempt to exercise state control over the quality of imported and exported goods, providing benefits and protection for trade people. The increased mutual trust between businesses and the government contributed to the expression and consolidation of the new features of the business relationship.
The next step of the business development and changing legal status of merchants was done by Catherine the Great. She revived the business with other countries alone with development of the first lending institutions, merchant shipping, and the establishment of foreign consular and commercial conventions. In early XX century Russia with its own traditions became one of the leading nations of the world. The names of Russian businessmen became world known: Mamontoff, Morozov, Tretyakov, Putilova, Alekseeva, Chizhova, etc.
At this time in Russia there was a mechanism to allow the “cut off” from the business of those who did not follow the moral and ethical standards. Every city had the Merchant Committees which had the right to recommend or not recommend an entrepreneur/businessman in the merchants’ guild. This right should have been earned through doing business with integrity and personal honesty. Each entrant in the guild announced his capital which greatly simplified the work of the state tax service. The Courts of Trust, another business supervision structure, could permanently deprive the merchant from the right to do business.
The relationship between employer and employees were built on trust, respect, and honesty. The employees valued their work and they were leaving the company only with the intention to start their own businesses. The fact that both business owners and workers were often from the same farmers setting played significant role in the formation of “family” type of the relationship. Some researchers note that such behavior of Russian merchants/businessmen was based on their commitment to the Orthodox faith and Christian ethics.
Regarding the current economic situation, the Orthodox tradition does not have a serious impact on the development of the ethics of the modern Russian business. The socialist period in Russian history has a much greater influence on the Russian business ethics moral latest submission than Orthodox traditions. If the business ethics in pre-revolutionary Russia was based on the basis of an ethics of Orthodox Christianity, the foundation of business ethics of socialism was based on Marxist Ethics .
Justifying the relative autonomy of morality as a form of social consciousness it claimed class of moral requirements and standards. According to that morality, the employment relationship has always prevailed over the personal one. A very tough ethics during Stalin’s totalitarian regime was the main core of loyalty to the system. In post-Stalin period bureaucratic and technocratic system has been often guided by the personal goals of the high top officials in the country. As a result of that system the socialism business ethics blurred ??double standard??.
The business ethics based on the foundations of Orthodox spirituality and education has being placed outside the law and basically has been lost. When the Soviet Union felt a part the system of values and ethical presentation of people began to change rapidly. The emerging new Russian business ethics has been influenced by just two crops of Business Conduct, which existed in the country under socialism. The first culture is linked to the above traditional administrative-command system that had dominated since the early 30’s.
Attitudes associated with it and brought to the ethics of business depend on the origin of the subjects – participants of business constituting a class of Russian businessmen. The following types of the new Russian businessmen were appeared: 1. Representatives of the party (Communists) nomenclature, as well as the people occupying the command positions in the industry for 80 years. These people are laid to the ethical values of old bureaucratic structures, including traditional “feeding” by the government, but some of them brought into the business the understanding of the service to society. , People who came to the business from the “normal” life. They are generally characterized by a high level of intellect and high moral principles. Their distinguishing features are the interest and attention to pre-revolutionary traditions of Russian entrepreneurship, the desire to restore this tradition taking into an account the world standards of business ethics. However, their activities are mainly in small businesses. The second culture is a tough “shadow” business culture, the semi-criminal and criminal business.
According to some estimates, by the early 90’s the “shadow” businesses produced about 20% of the gross national product, and employed approximately 25-30 million people . Activists of the “shadow” business, expanding the ranks of legitimate businessmen, brought into the resurgent Russian business own set of ethical demands and moral standards, a “tough” criminal one. They parasitize on the shortcomings of the new system (such parasitism – the only way of existence of the “shadow” economy in any country).
All of the above groups lack the historical perspective. Currently, unique processes of mutation, the search for new viable forms come at the intersection of behavioral traditions of these groups. Accordingly, the ethics of a new class of businessmen in Russia is a complex and contradictory phenomenon. It is influenced by different forces, different ethical traditions and values. Russian businesses employ many people of different nationalities, different religions and different ethical beliefs, with different economic basis.
The Russian business in 90 years came to the citizens of foreign countries that use the established canons of the Western ethics. Contacts with those countries provide the very unique opportunities for interlocking the Russian business with the global features which partly facilitate the acceptance of Russian business into the world of ethical standards for a business conduct. However, Russia does not fully operate on the main fundamental principle of contemporary Western society: the principle of the inviolability of private property. Private property in Russia is not sacred.
Socialist ideas are still strong in Russia. Also, in modern Russia a peculiar attitude was developed towards the law and the role of the state. The ethical paradox of Russian business is that ethical or unethical behavior often defines not by law or personal choice but by necessity for business to survive. Often the business would survive only if it would have a partnership with the corrupt officials in the form of oligarchy. It is hard to talk about business ethics, its development and enforcement when business does not play by the normal rules.
It could be done only when the state will fulfill its function and create a civilized environment for business, for its stability in Russia. The Russian business faces a new stage of the business ethics development. Now more and more often ethical be havior becomes more effective than a victory in a direct competitive collision using unethical means. It would take time. But Russia is going in the direction of ethical and civilized business development and Russian businessmen realized all the importance of doing business based on ethical principals.
As a prove of the above statement, check the Ethics Code of one Moscow company below: “10 principles of ethics, Moscow International Business Association: Sharing the belief that the major share of national wealth to the efforts of the Russian business that the laws and market drivers are necessary but not sufficient condition for national prosperity, that the Russian business community can and should be a conduit of necessary social change throughout society, we, the undersigned leaders and employees who voluntarily and consciously commit to follow in their professional lives to the principles of ethics of Russian business: 1.
Working with the business community to help create products, services, jobs, and hence social welfare. To this end, he must be responsible for policy, to avoid actions that might lead to increased social tensions, to ensure its own economic health and survival. 2. In cooperation with the authorities, the business serves as an equal partner, avoiding the use of illegal methods of direct and indirect influence on the representatives of all branches of government. 3.
In conjunction with the law, business must understand the need for compliance with applicable laws ensuring equal conditions for all business activities, as well as to assist law enforcement in the eradication of terrorism, arms trafficking, drugs and other forms of organized crime. 4. In relationships with clients, regardless of whether they are direct or indirect consumers of goods and services, the business ensures compliance with all applicable rules and regulations regarding their quality, value and security. 5.
In dealings with business partners based on mutual respect, observance of the agreements, seeking to avoid enforcement action. 6. In relationships with competitors business comes from the understanding that a healthy economic competition promotes a more equitable distribution of goods and services, and therefore respects the physical and intellectual property rights of competitors, avoid the use of illegal methods of influence on them, including and collecting commercial information by dishonest or unethical means. . In relations with the owners and / or business investors (in this case management) provides a professional level of management, full access to information, limited to only the law and the conditions of competition, as well as careful attention to the proposals, complaints and decisions of the owners and / or investors. 8. In relations ith the employees the business provides them with wages and working conditions, without prejudice to their health and dignity, avoiding discrimination, regardless of gender, age, race and religious belief, gives you access to information about the company’s activities, limited only the law and conditions competition to decide the issues of lay-offs associated with the terms of business conditions. . In collaboration with the outside world of business is focused on the pursuit of common progress and prosperity, as in the case of companies abroad, contributing to the provision of productive employment, in respect of human rights, education, welfare, and update the countries in which it operates.
In conjunction with the environment of business must understand the ultimate dependence of all life and the business processes of the natural environment and, therefore, protect and, where possible, improve the environment and to avoid wasteful use of natural resources. ”  Works Cited 1. Chaadaev P. J.. Philosophic Letters. Moscow, 1951. 2. Kleiner, G.. Business Strategy: Analytical Guide. Moscow: CONSECO, 1998. 3. Soviet Encyclopedic Dictionary. Moscow, 1987 4. Information and Instructional Materials. Moscow: MIBA, 2004