The author Robert Solomon argues that ethics has to an integral part with regard to business management. He does not believe that business management must include unethical or illegal methods to be able to succeed. Solomon preaches that business management is not as simple as obtaining revenue. “Businesses need to abide by fair policies and their owners have to be ethical in dealing with their customers”
The author acknowledges that while illegal practices in business management could bring positive results at first, eventually the business is bound to fail. This is why Solomon recommended eight important policies that can help businesses in integrating ethics into their operations. Solomon mentions that unethical practices can destroy the business and its employees.
Once the authorities are able to detect and stop these illegal activities of businesses, they get basically humiliated in front of the public. Their unethical practices are revealed along with the people responsible for these unacceptable acts. The problems do not stop here. The customers that they victimized would begin filing formal complaints and cases against the business owner and their employees. The lives of these people would never be the same again as they face the embarrassing consequences of their illegal activities.
The typical perspective of businesses that business and ethical practices cannot be integrated is something that is being disapproved by Solomon. He believes that it is definitely possible for business management and ethics to coexist within the business organization, but it depends on the willingness of the company’s commitment to avoid getting involved with illegal transactions and practices. Solomon also emphasizes that illegal practices slowly destroy the integrity of the business. As a company becomes corrupted, there is a possibility that the employees will become corrupted as well. The unethical activities eventually become a habit within the business and it is unfortunate that these people only wake up when they are finally caught by the authorities.
Solomon makes mention of the three C’s (compliance, contributions, and consequences) that are necessary for businesses to understand because these represent what being ethical is all about. However, he is saddened by the reality that most businesses do not really make strong efforts to integrate ethical practices into their operations. Majority of them only worry about how much profits they are going to obtain even if they do it with some illegalities and unethical practices involved.
Solomon expresses true concern regarding the state of business management if these illegal activities of businesses are not stopped soon. The existence of business scum and the example of Brake Breakers is truly a source of negativity, especially for businesses that are honest in their transactions and always stay away from unethical practices. Solomon gives praise to the businesses that focus on their ethical practices and criticizes those companies like Brake Breakers that are not fazed by their illegal transactions.
This does not mean that unethical businesses can always get away from these activities, and honest businesses should never be influenced by these unacceptable practices at any time. Lastly, Solomon suggests the eight rules of ethical thinking for businesses to serve as their guide towards maintaining ethical practices in their honest and transparent operations for success. Staying this way would help businesses and they will be rewarded by more profits due to the trust and confidence that their customers will bestow on them. Personal Opinion
I definitely agree with Solomon’s position regarding the importance of ethics in business management. It is the responsibility of the business owners not only to provide the needs of the customers, but to also do so in ethical and legal ways. There is no valid reason for businesses to engage in unethical activities and they have to face stiff penalties so the public would know that such activities are not being tolerated by the government. This way, businesses would really think twice with regard to getting involved in illegal transactions with other organizations.
It is easy to understand Solomon’s argument that unethical practices destroy the business and its key people. This has been proven by so many companies, such as Enron case, whose scandals have been unveiled to the public and the people who used to amass great wealth out of unethical practices are now behind bars. Even if they get out of prison, it will be difficult to imagine how they can recover from the negative image that the public already has on them.
The problem with unethical practices is that a company itself is not the only one will suffer from the consequence of its illegal actions. Most of the time, there are customers who get victimized by these unethical practices as they put their trust and loyalty on businesses that they have patronized for so long. At the end of the day, all they can do is file their complaints and vent out their frustrations over the betrayal they experienced from their trusted businesses, but the damage remains permanent.
The once excellent relationships are forever destroyed and victimized customers always carry with them the trauma and fear that they could be fooled again in the future. Unethical practices of business managements are also tough for the employees who get confused whether to do what is right or just avoid complications and go with the flow. Solomon states that “Being ethical is also-of course-doing the right thing, but what one does is hardly separable from how one thinks.” (page 43) When an employee discover co-worker(s) doing something that is wrong by the company’s standards, their own sense of what is right and what is wrong instantly comes into question.
That employee needs to consider how he or she feels about that particular activity, as well as informing about that activity, or turning a blind eye. Even by deciding to do something about it, the employee who has discovered the unethical behavior is presented with a number of difficult choices. Should the employee speak to the individual directly, or should the employee head directly to a company supervisor? I used to work for a consulting company. The finance manager hired a relative of his wife’s friend, Jen. This person was in a 40 hour a week job. However, she was in the office anywhere from only six to seven hours per day, sometimes less. She did not put any time off on her time card, so she was stealing time/pay. While in the office she was usually on the cell phone or on the internet shopping or surfing all other times.
This situation bothered other co-workers in the company, including me. Some of us talked about bringing this issue either to the manager or the Human Resources. One even suggested talking to Jen first. Nevertheless, because of Jen’s relationship with the finance manager, whom was our boss, we all hesitated. Jen’s actions caused me physical stress. I felt unfair. After leaving the company, I had never known if anyone ever brought up the issue. Sometimes when I thought about it, I still upset myself. Jen’s action was morally wrong and I should have done something to prevent but I did not.
I also agree with Solomon that business management and ethical practices can be effectively merged together. I believe the difficult part is how the business owners can resist the temptation of getting involved with illegal or unethical activities in exchange for huge profits. There are many business owners and managers at present that are able to stay committed to being honest and ethical with their policies and principles, and as a result they not only are profitable in their activities but they are also well respected even by their competitors. This is the reward that they get for being ethical, and they should serve as role models for other businesses to follow for success.
While it may be true that being ethical does not necessarily relate to success, it still remains an integral component that contributes to the eventual success of the business. Being ethical combined with the right qualities of hard work, perseverance and commitment can form the strong foundation that business owners can use to plan for their own path to success. The three C’s (compliance, contributions, and consequences) suggested by Solomon is something that I believe is very helpful in reminding the business owners and managers that part of their responsibilities to the public is being ethical.
By formulating the eight rules of ethical thinking, Solomon did a great job in ending his arguments with a bang. The eight rules are comprehensive and flexible enough to be able to adjust to the typical concerns of most businesses that find it difficult to execute ethical practices in their operations. The eight rules perfectly complement the three C’s and provide a certain sense of clarity and orderliness that businesses can attain once they are able to understand and follow these rules to the best of their capabilities
REFERENCESShaw, William. Moral Issues in Business. Wadsworth Publishing; 11th Edition, 2010