Ethics in the Business Environment
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My uncle’s family came for a visit one weekend. They had a 12-year old son, Joe, who was known for mischief despite his parents’ constant efforts to discipline him. Joe feared his mum since she would slap him often whenever he made a silly mistake. On that weekend, Joe was running around the house while with our neighbour’s kid. He accidentally dropped a thermos flask that was on the table from where I was taking my tea from. At the sound of the breaking thermos, his mother came from the kitchen to find out what happened. I could see the terrified look on Joe’s face and could not help but pity Joe. I knew of his mother’s fury but at the same time I was concerned if covering up for my cousin would help him correct his behaviour. I could see that his mother was already convinced that her son was responsible and I could sense a beating coming. I quickly stepped in and told my aunt that it was my fault I accidentally dropped the thermos flask. I knew that lying was wrong, but in this case I could tell that Joe was in need of a friend and not another parent from me.
I believe that ethics can be taught in business schools. Research has proved that ethics can be taught in the same ways morals can be inculcated in people during their lifetime. Most young adults, between the ages of 20 and 30, deal with many ethical issues and it is at this age that even business ethics can be taught. Ethics is about making sound and moral judgments, making it extremely relevant in business since students learn about making right business decisions in school. Studies have also proved that education that is tailored to improve the moral behaviour of students has been effective over the years. The same case would apply in teaching ethics in business schools (Carroll & Buchholtz 2011).
Top managers and board memberscannot be taught business ethics. Teaching such big-shots ethics would require an astronomical amount of effort. History is filled with numerous cases of CEOs who amassed fortunes through fraud such as Jeffrey Skilling and Raj Rajaratnam, both of whom had graduated from the best business schools in the country (Culham 2013). After the age of 30, most CEOs would have developed a strict work ethic centred on taking them to the helm of success making it virtually impossible for them to be taught ethics.
I would consult with my fellow senior at my workplace on the course of action to undertake. For me, the principle of Consequence would take preference since telling on my supervisor could be potential suicide to my career if I do not handle the matter wisely (Brooks & Dunn 2009). If my Supervisor did not care to lie about entertaining a client, who was in fact his girlfriend, then I am scared that he could use underhand tactics to fire me were he to discover I reported him.
I would exercise duty with caution by approaching my supervisor on a light note and inform him of the conversation I overheard. If he is willing to take advice, I would caution him that using the company’s resources for personal benefits would eventually led to his downfall. If my supervisor becomes annoyed by my reproach, I would indiscreetly report the matter to another senior in the company since publicity would mean the loss of my job. Employing both principles of Consequence and Duty, I would be sure to indiscreetly insist that the matter be addressed since he could take me down with him for writing the cheques for his unethical plans (Fernando 2011).
Business has relied heavily on feedback from consumer stakeholders over the years. Since the fall of the monopolist companies back in the early 1900’s where the Rockefellers andd Carnegies had little regard for the middleclass, businesses have now tailored their production to meet consumer needs. Most, if not all businesses, are focussed on producing quality products for their customers (Hopkins 2012). They do not compromise quantity for quality. Businesses are now striving to bring into market durable and customized products to consumers. In terms of service, new services such as door-delivery systems have been implemented so as to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Businesses have realised that consumers care a lot about the quality of products and services they purchase and that they rarely have time to visit repair shops. The internet has revolutionised communication such that consumers globally can talk about the services or products offered by a company. It is critical for business to therefore ensure that their image is not damaged by convinsing that they pay attention to consumer needs. Businesses have also decided to respond more effectively to consumers to avoid potential problems. Consumer feedback has also helped many businesses save time and resources to focus on profitable products while stopping the production of unwanted commodities (Hopkins 2012).
Currently, there exist laws that ensure consumers receive safe products. Companies are faced with financial liability for the safety of consumers who use their products. In addition, there exist numerous rights activists that are sure to take down companies that produce products that harm the consumers. Businesses are thus faced with legal obligations to produce safe and quality products for its consumers. Today, businesses are also forced to consider the effects of its productions on the environment. Consumers tend to demand that businesses dispose off their waste in an environmentally-friendly manner and also limit their emissions of greenhouse gases.
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