Ethical decision making in small businesses: the example of Health private practices

Author: Timothy H. Williams

Abstract: Private health practitioners, such as general medical practitioners and physiotherapists, are involved in small business. Their professions offer training and extensive guidance on ethical decision-making about clinical situations but offer limited guidance on business ethics. The business ethics literature offers very little research or guidance on ethics for small businesses. This paper describes an in-depth study of the day-to-day ethical decision making of a group of private health practitioners. Practitioners maintain a dynamic tension between business, personal, and professional values. A strong influence in how individual decisions are made is their perception of the patient. Conclusions are drawn on the relevance of these findings for research and practice in small business ethics.