Putting It Together


As a future business owner extraordinaire, you now know that you need to carefully read and research the Constitution, laws, and court decisions to ensure your business is on solid footing. You have started to learn how to focus on understanding all of that legal gobblygook. You have also started to learn how business problems can be resolved.

Let’s review these basic questions and the answers posed in the first “Why It Matters” section.

  • “Can I think like a lawyer does about the law?” Just how does a lawyer actually do that? And for beginners like me, what basically is The Law anyways?
    • You certainly know thinking like a lawyer means to: read the facts, carefully…all of them, large or small, favorable or not. It means to identify the issues, factual and legal and to create a solid, winning, argument.
  • What are the basic sources of law?
    • You learned that there are two basic main sources:
      • Natural Law coming from man’s natural yearnings to find and live by a universal order.
      • Positive Law just made and created human beings to establish and maintain a clear and positive order to society.
  • Are there theories of just where all of this law comes from?
    • Yes.  You have learned they come from the two different sources of law, natural and positive.  The theory of natural law tends to follow a religion or other discipline seeking universal natural truths.  The theory of positive law seeks to preserve and protect the established social order and power structure.
  • What are the real sources of law, the ones I can actually look up and see?
    • There are lots of laws readily available to you. You can find laws in the U.S. Constitution, federal and state statutes, federal and state court decisions and administrative laws and rulings.
  • Will I really learn how to read and understand all of that legal gobblygook?
    • You can, if you read carefully and analytically looking for key terms and specially defined words, effective dates of legislation, and determine if it is federal or state law.
  • Can I actually learn how the court will likely apply the law to resolving business disputes?
    • Yes, usually you can. Again, read carefully and analytically, understanding that any plaintiff can have his or her dispute heard by the court if the claim alleges actual damages recognized by law. You can also have your dispute heard and decided less formally outside of court by a arbitrator or mediator, if the other parties have agreed.
  • Is there more to guide business decisions than just the pursuit of profits?  What if any is the role of the law concerning ethical decisions?
    • You now know the answers to all three question.  Yes, yes, and yes.   The law sets a minimum required ethical and moral standard for decisions by business, just like it does for our personal and social decisions.
  • Are there theories on making ethical decisions? If so, what are they about?
    • Yes of course.  you have been introduced to several:
      • Utilitarian: seeking the greater good for the greatest number of people.
      • Social Contract: suggesting we adopt and follow together a set of rules.
      • Accepted Values and Virtues: seeking decisions that uphold the society’s virtues of honesty, honor, etc.
      • All three theories seek even higher ethical standards for business decisions than mandated by law.
  • Are there models or helpful processes I can learn to help me in making ethical and moral business decisions?  If so, what are they?
    • Yes. You have been introduced and learned something about three alternative models:
      • The Traditional Corporate Model of seeking to legally maximize profits for shareholders.
      • The Stakeholder Model which includes other interested and affected parties as stakeholders like the customers and citizens.
      • The Josephson Model specifically seeking to maximize the core moral values for as many different groups of stakeholders as possible.

Already, you’ve learned quite a lot, but it’s just a preview for the rest of the course. The big question this course seeks to help you answer is, “what does the law really have to do with business?” And the answer is, “just about anything and everything.” That being said, let’s get back to business and break that answer down into some manageable chunks.