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Financial executives insist that there should be no separation between an individual’s personal ethics and his or her business ethics. “It’s a jungle out there” and “business is business” should not be excuses for engaging in unethical behavior. Many firms have ethics codes which are based on economically rational concepts such as integrity and trustworthiness, which guide the decision maker in attempting to increase shareholder wealth. Of course, some employees sometimes choose to not comply with their firm’s ethics code.
How do ethics codes apply to project selection and capital budgeting? What are the potential risks to a company of unethical behaviors by employees? What are potential risks to the public and to stakeholders?