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Chapter XV. Ethics and E-Business: An Ox... > The Changing Nature of E-Business: E...

The Changing Nature of E-Business: Ethics and Trust

E-business has many definitions, but it is essentially “the use of networks and information technology to electronically design, market, buy, sell and deliver products and services worldwide” (Maury & Kleiner, 2002). Maury and Kleiner (2002) also suggest that e-business is in its “infancy” and that it is currently taking its first steps which are “tentative” and “unsure”. This is perhaps a little dated in some respects because the e-business rate of change would suggest that it is growing up quickly, albeit with ethics trailing behind somewhat. There is still a great deal of excitement and buzz about e-business, perhaps due to its unregulated nature – “a free marketplace for the exchange of ideas and products” (Maury & Kleiner, 2002).

All businesses operate in a climate of insecurity, be that financial or otherwise, and are under increasing pressure to report on the ’triple bottom line’ – “in which financial performance must be matched by environmental sustainability and social responsibility...and so on” (Longstaff, 2003). In traditional businesses, an element of trust is apparent - from dealing with other businesses, to suppliers and even customers. The notion of trust is tied to the ethical framework of the business because trust implies individual morality and values and a business is made up of individuals. To have trust in an individual and to be trusted in return is a part of society’s expectations.


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