Business Ethics Essay

2524 words - 11 pages

The Problem with Business
Thesis: In many businesses today ethical decisions take a backseat to profit, I believe businesses should follow a set of ethical standards and not focus solely on profit for four reasons: (1) to have respect for human dignity, (2) private lives and business lives cannot be separated, (3) ethical decisions can lead to more profit, and (4) unethical decisions can lead to serious consequences for the people executing them.
There are many decisions a business must make on a day-to-day basis. Many of these decisions will affect not only the business itself, but also every stakeholder in that business. Many times business will not take into account the number of ...view middle of the document...

A single decision made by a business can cause an enormous effect on the entire world. “Human vulnerability, caused by the lack of risk management and planning, the lack of appropriate emergency management or the unexpectedness of the event, leads to human, financial and structural losses. The severity of such losses depends on the capacity of the population to withstand the disaster – their resilience (Velasco)”. A lack of planning and research by a business can lead to catastrophes, both environmental and financial. It is important for businesses to thoroughly review each decision and protect the concept of human dignity. More companies should look to a utilitarian approach when decisions are made. They should be looking to help others, while also making money.
The second reason for businesses needing a set of ethical standards is that business and private lives cannot be separated from each other. Almost every action made in business will affect many other people, whether it is a customer, another employee, or any stakeholder. This means we must use the same ethical standards that we would in any other situation in our lives because we are affecting other people. Our ethical beliefs influence both of our private and business lives, therefore showing that these two lives cannot be separated. If a businessman begins making unethical decisions in the business world, those decisions could begin to leak into their personal lives. This could cause others to view them as a bad person and this could give them serious character questions that could affect them later in their life. Pravasan Pillay argues that the power of companies causes the inability to separate our lives, “it becomes difficult to draw distinctions between our business and private lives given the current economic and political power of companies today – for instance of the top 53 economies in the world, 41 are multinationals. The might and influence of companies are literally everywhere. With the lines blurred, it becomes virtually impossible to conceive of a neat separation between business and private lives as decisions taken in one sphere can have profound effects on the other (Pillay)”. This is a great argument made by Pillay and it further strengthens the argument that we cannot separate of business and private lives.
When a person starts a business, it is usually their goal to make as much money as possible. This longing for money is just part of human nature. There are many situations where a business may have an opportunity to make a great amount of money, but they must take a shortcut in one of their processes. Jennifer Sawayda states that BP showed a lack of safety and used shortcuts even before their oil spill. In 2010 BP was fined $3 million for a violation of safety codes in one of their Ohio factories. This fine was because BP exposed employees at that factory to dangerous explosives and chemicals illegally. After an explosion in 2005 at a Texas factory BP was fined...

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