Monthly Archives: January 2008

Ethics or Bust.

Michael Mifsud asked:

ETHICS OR BUST

How can one forget the business of those scruples and the perplexed looks in peoples faces when asked as to what they had done with them. The same goes with ethics except that it does not sound as close to other hidden possibilities as the other word does. The effect is not the same. We talk about an unscrupulous person but not about an unethical one merely subscribing this to activities. Perhaps that is why it is rendered something that is not worth pursuing with respect as to what it has to teach us.

The political speaker, a disillusioned dissident, in one of the Latin European countries, spoke very freely about the need to introduce ethics into daily lives, much to the santimonious satisfaction of nodding heads in this Jesuit organised public debate.

“It is easy to be a Christian with a fat balance in the bank behind you”, said one alarmingly.” “A choice between ehics and feeding your ailing child..”said another with equally disapproving gestures.

In fact it renders the whole thing a little beyond social capability as ambition instinctively overrides ethics and the bulk of the much abused public expects it, fully intending to do the same if ever capable of getting to those corridors of  lucrative licence.

But is it a dead issue even in the modern European Countries – a chimera where much is swept underneath the carpet and higher levels of emerging power create added personal survival interests ? Apparently not, according to the Jesuit University in the United Sates dedicated to the propagation of Bioethical studies.

Yet again, can it be taken seriously when both politicians and religious leaders sepak bluntly in favour of issues and behaviour that decry the very existance of something as ephemeral as ethics.  In fact lamentably, even in strongly puritanical countries of the higher echelons of the European family, the doubt begins to emerge as to whether ethical values have not only disappeared but have been superseded by a new type of quantum politics and social behaviour now geared to basic survival with or without the electric toothbrush and the bijou residence.

The obvious paradox emerges when it becomes clear that ethical values and conduct have been and are necessary for a modern democracy to function. Also, for extended family reasons where freedom from aggression and clear sense of direction are taken for granted. But is this understood by the politicians and the tired looking religious figures who appear to have lost their definition of sin ?  The public may ride rough shod over ethical standards but it very much expects other not to, which like many other things in modern life, seems to be a one way thoroughfare.

The British Queen made a curious plea in her recent Christmas talk to the vast Nations she represents. It included a philosophical touch to the nature of service to others rather than taking from, acknowledging the former to be a mayor source of happiness. This criteria although once again difficult to absorb by those unacceptably high,  underprivileged members of modern developed societies who have been marginalised by successive insensitive governments, should be,  indisputably, the very base of all monetary and social systems. It is difficult to imagine how that piece of  bake could emerge edibly from that oven, otherwise.

Why this is so is not too difficult to understand even at its most primitive level. In its absence, delinquency could become as it does in some countries, a matter of personal choice, by the public or its leaders. If  smah and grab appears to work for those without the means or without belief in the ones who rule their collective destiny, then the choice is made early in the game.  Public example is therefore, like that demanded of credible Justice, to be seen in its ethical context and all behaviour free of doubt or hidden motivation. For the average and sensible member of the public a correct choice of direction follows, even if only to appear correct, and always if the message from above  is very loud and clear.  It is lamentably increasingly difficult to detect the clarity of the image  through the paper barricades and empty signals of those who should constantly set obvious examples.  And even more so, when the world appears to be falling apart in every direction and self mutilated giants like the financial institutions, like spoilt children,  make demands on all but themselves.

Ethical values precede democratic demands and one cannot essentially, however closely examined, do without the other.  Those who assume otherwise appear to be fated to get what they deserve – receding freedoms and eventual slavery.  Totalitarian government in pursuit of its own highly sectarian survival,  once consolidated, can impose political or religious shackles that could take much bloodshed and often centuries to shake off. Standing in defence of ethical standards would have been a better way of avoiding it.

Ethical values appeal to those with noble sentiment and whose consideratons within business transactions include principles like fair play and the aim to establish goodwill on both sides of the contracting fence. In business, leaving margins for both to play with and benefit from, is a sure formula for repeat sessions during the course of time.  Bad, opportunistic and imbalanced contracts serving the interests of one crafty side,  often provide the basis for a great deal of future aggression and bitterness which add venom and insecurity to the ripples of perceptive awareness which flow across all societies.

The creation of the yuppie, whilst stimulating personal,  positive advancement, literally unleashed an attitude based on false principles which served a very limited purpose. A purpose which victims of the exaggerations and inaccuracies of the selling jargon, if  not for those who perpertrated the abuse, would  forge the shortcomings of future decades to come. The pressure tactics,devoid of all ethics, in the main, fed people into economic bottlenecks, like property bubbles or accumulation of useless products. Those who applied it, would have not survived within markets requiring an ethicial approach to the establishment of the buyers needs. Unfortunately,truth at the bottom line depends on whether the buyer necessarily wants to hear it. If so, could one equate an ethical society with a firm inherited base, or one with a tactical defensive training based on do’s and don’ts. To eat or be eaten as some would say, but can values be taught and applied in this cut and thrust melee ?

Ethical standards some, would say, depends on upbringing which is not essentially the case as modern governments often sacrifice genuine interest for its governed in pursuit of narrow, party politically inspired benefits.  Finding ways and means of extracting the ultimate essence in unwilling contribution from the electorate, appears to feed most of the motivation. Additionally, it often bends the truth short of 360 degrees to ferment non existing needs or establish a nebulous base for a line to follow.  Public consciousness is often late in reacting to such pressures but curiously it misses little and gladly,  albeit rather tardily,  often reacts with apprehensive reponse, for a change. The sorry side, is that it nearly always has much to do with the pocket rather than the heart and often things and values have changed for better or for worse.

Legislation however clumsy,  in its pursuit of the protection that would otherwise be served by general public standards, is often a blunt instrument that perverse elements often find the loopholes to outwit, depending mainly in the already questionable legal profession,  to do its dirty work. Again, it takes li
ttle study to see that abuse of public confidence by national monopolies too politically related, has increased alarmingly.  So much so, that even basic need industries like energy and water suppliers  the profit balance precludes any and every attempt to obtain market applaud – often at the expense of the shareholder – always to the benefit of a few at the top of the fence. Any peripheral study of the market games of this sector would find one glaring omission – one that provokes a public sense of outrage if not helplessness – social concern. In other words, low ethical standards.

Ethics therefore one would assume should belong to the category of those utopian nostalgic sentiments bred out, by realistic hardline practice, but the sorry state of the institutions and economic hardware which should therefore still stay in place, urgently says otherwise. How to bring it back into line is something that deserves not only the close evaluation of those intending to restore the so called balance but the urgent reappearance on the political and religious field of those with values that speak of courage and determination.  Values that speak of eyes and not of lips.

Business Ethics: Three Tips to Stay in Integrity with Yourself

Sally Rhys asked:

Wow — every day seems to bring us a new story about business ethics wrongdoing! Is America headed to hell in a hand basket because of a serious lack of ethics at the highest level in American business? Or, it is just that ethical transgressions are more visible now? Or is it that the media reports more? Whichever it is, I urge you to be concerned about business ethics, even if simply for yourself.

A few facts will raise your awareness about the current state of ethics in American business. The Ethics Resource Center notes that the number of ethics programs is on the rise in corporate America. Unfortunately, the center also notes that ethical misconduct is high. (Google “The National Business Ethics Survey” for more details.) Other research shows that a majority of people in America have quit a job due to an ethical concern at sometime in their lives. (Google “lrn” for more details.)

You may believe there isn’t much you can do about ethics in American business. But, you can choose to follow a high standard of ethics for yourself.

Here are three simple tips to stay in Integrity with Yourself:

1. Listen to your gut. If it doesn’t smell right, it probably isn’t. Don’t risk your reputation by going along with something that is fishy. Sometimes in the work place, what the policy says to do and what people are doing are two different things.

For instance, if you go to lunch with a co-worker to discuss business and you each spend $11.95, which is all you can claim on your business expense forms. But, your coworker may encourage you to submit a claim for $23.95 (since the policy says you don’t have to submit a receipt until the amount is over $25.00, per IRS rules.) Your coworker may even say everyone pads their expense report. This action would be a quick way to double your cash back, but you know it isn’t right. Don’t cave-in to the peer pressure or temptation. Just don’t do it!

2. Ask questions. Sometimes what you know is not the whole story. Ask questions to fill in the gap. Don’t assume. Something you don’t know may make what looks wrong actually be a good thing. As the former Director, Ethics and Compliance for a $1.5B company, I learned to ask questions before forming a judgment.

For instance, I know of a case where a manager became aware that his employee had lied about his whereabouts during the work day. One appropriate action would have been to discipline the employee or maybe even fire him. Another appropriate action would have been to extend a little compassion for the employee, who was under some external stresses, and work more closely with the employee to help him manage his time better. Asking a few simple questions revealed the external stresses, which opened doors to alternative resolution of the problem.

3. Keep an open mind. There is rarely an unequivocal right or wrong answer in any ethical issue.

For instance, an employee reported to me that he believed a co-worker was falsely claiming an important professional certification. I asked him why he thought that, and he said that the person didn’t seem to demonstrate the knowledge base required for certification. He also said he had checked the certifying agency’s website to find the co-workers name without success. Since falsification of job qualifications is a serious offense, I went to the website to check for the name too, and asked an internal recruiter to verbally check with the certifying agency.

As it turned out, the person under suspicion had registered at the website with his formal name, not the nickname he used at work; as a result his name wasn’t recognizable at the website. Only by triple checking the website and making a phone call to the certifying agency were we able to get the whole story.

Stay in integrity — do what YOU think is right and stay in good conscience.

Business Ethics and Unethical Practices

Verena Veneeva asked:

The study of business ethics and its implications for different stakeholders have seen tremendous growth in the past few decades. There has also been a rise in the use and development of codes of ethics and announcements for ethical practices by many firms; however companies are still criticized for their unethical practices at different levels (Papers4you.com, 2006). Business ethics, according to the literature has been entrenched with the philosophical details of Ethics (Trevino & Nelson, 1999). Ethics has been defined as ‘the activity of examining the moral standards of a society, and asking how these standards apply to ones life and whether these standards are reasonable’ (Velasquez, 1998; p. 11).

The literature on business ethics is divided on its views about the motivation and reason for businesses to have an ethical dimension. Drawing upon Harrison (2001), there are two major schools of thoughts, firstly those who suggest that firms are profit generating institutions and therefore business ethics is yet another way to attract customers, secondly those who support corporate conscience and intrinsic motivation for the adoption of business ethics.

Business ethics has been considered very subjective in nature and according to Paul (2001) is considered a function of time and culture. It has been established that with the passage of time business ethics have evolved and also that the cultural values and norms drive business ethics within national and regional boundaries. One of the major studies regarding the national values has been conducted by Hofstede (1983). According to this research, which was only based on four indicators i.e. individualism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance and masculinity, there is a great deal of differences among values across different nations and consequently the business ethics. Globalization combined with standardization has made businesses financially efficient but at the same time poses questions regarding the standardized codes of business ethics across national boundaries.

Vinten (1991) has divided the business ethical issues at different levels i.e. international business, domestic business and professional ethics. At the international level ethical issues include free-masonry and socialism versus capitalism; at domestic level these include religious dimensions, social marketing and ethical education; and lastly at the individual level these include bribery, corruption and data protection (Papers4you.com, 2006).

There are many reasons and criticisms for the failure of adoption of ethics in the business world. Firstly, the concept is considered to be overly theoretical and it also negates the basic purpose of any business i.e. to create shareholder’s wealth. Secondly, it has lack of direction and unanimity across different cultures and academic groups. Lastly, it has many inherent unresolved dichotomies that according to Sternberg (1994) make it a case of rejected relativism.

References:

Harrison, J. (2001), Ethics for Australian Business, Prentice-Hall, French’s Forest

Hofstede, G. (1983), The Cultural Relativity of Organizational Practices and Theories, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp.75-89

Papers For You (2006) “S/B/92. What distinguishes ethical from unethical business activity and how significant are the principles of business ethics in modern business?”, Available from http://www.coursework4you.co.uk/sprtbus21.htm [17/06/2006]

Papers For You (2006) “S/B/49. ‘Should businesses strive to be ethical?’ Critically Discuss”, Available from Papers4you.com [18/06/2006]

Paul, S. (2001), Cultural and Business Ethics, Cross Cultural Management: An international Journal, Volume 8 No. 1, pp 22-35

Sternberg, E. (1994), Relativism rejected: the possibility of transnational business ethics, in Hoffman, W.M., Kamm, J.B., Frederick, R.E., Petry, E.S. Jr (Eds), National Conference on Business Ethics. Proceedings from the 9th Conference on Business Ethics Sponsored by the Centre for Business Ethics at Bentley College, Quorum Books, New York, NY, pp.143-50

Trevino, L.K., Nelson, K.A. (1999), Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right, 2nd ed., J. Wiley & Sons, New York, NY

Velasquez, M.G. (1998), Business Ethics: Concepts and Cases, 4th ed., Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ

Vinten, G. (1991), Business Ethics: Busybody or Corporate Conscience?, Managerial Auditing Journal, Volume 5, Number 2, pp. 123-144

Moral Law, Justice, and Evolution

Jerry Richard Boone asked:

We already mentioned intelligence. Remember in the article: How Do We Account for Instinct? we divided it up into two broad categories, one of which we call instinct and the other a type of decision-making ability? We grouped the lower forms of animals into the first category and humans into the second. Other creatures, we allowed, appear to operate using a combination of instinct and “thinking.”

But, of course, it is really more complicated than that. People have instincts too. The sexual drive, a mother’s love for her offspring, and a basic desire to survive are undeniable human instincts. Each of these traits are shared to one degree or another with animals. However, we seem to have something more than mere instinct.

Somehow or another we find ourselves with a moral sense of right and wrong. We feel as though we know somethings are right and others are wrong. But then again, is what we consider right and wrong merely a subjective whim? Or is it possible that there might be a real, honest-to-goodness, objective standard for good behavior?

Some people claim there’s no fixed standard for decent behavior. It varies over time and from one culture to another. Different civilizations and different ages have had very different ideas on morality, they say. And they seem to have a point.

Manners and Styles

Certainly manners, styles, and dress codes change over time. The past half century has seen considerable change in the United States. In 1960, most women worked in their homes raising children. They usually wore dresses, and those dresses were of a certain conventional length.

Men were expected to be the breadwinners. They wore their hair short and rarely had facial hair. Children addressed grownups as “Sir” or Ma’am” and in general were taught to be deferential to adults. Unless you were well acquainted, it was Mr., Mrs, or Miss whatever their last-name-was. Times have changed!

Much of what passes as normal behavior nowadays would have been socially unacceptable just thirty years ago. And it works both ways. Many of the things our ancestors did in the past would not be tolerated today. A few hundred years ago, capital punishment was the approved punishment for crimes ranging from petty theft to treason. Witches were hung or burned. And slavery was by and large considered an acceptable practice.

Moral Principles

Obviously some of the things our forefathers believed are social taboos today and vice versa. However, that’s not the whole story. While some values can and do vary, others evidently do not. In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis points out that if you take the trouble to compare the moral teachings of ancient Egyptians, Hebrews, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, you will be struck with how much they have in common with each other and with us today.

Fair play, unselfishness, courage, faithfulness, honesty, and truthfulness have always been admired, whereas treachery, murder, robbery, theft, and rape have always been condemned. Men have disagreed over whom you should be unselfish to – just your family, your country, or to everyone.

But none have advocated putting yourself first. Some cultures have allowed more than one wife, but none allow you to have just any woman you want.

Golden Rule

The most universal concept of all is also the most basic. We call it the Golden Rule. Most moral teachings state it in a negative form such as “Never do to others what you would not have them do to you.” This fundamental rule of conduct turns up in rabbinical Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

We also see it in Greek and Roman ethical teachings and even in Old Norse proverbs. Jesus Christ turned it around and put it in its positive form two thousand years ago. “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Is any other type of morality possible? Lewis challenges us, “. . . think what a totally different morality would mean. Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battles, or where a man felt proud of double-crossing all the people who had been kindest to him. You might as well try to imagine a country where two and two make five.”

The Moral Law

It sounds like the rule of right and wrong, the moral law, or whatever you want to call it, exists on two separate levels. One is arbitrary. Fashion, convention, or taste sets the tone for acceptable behavior on this level.

Then we see another moral level beyond the trends of society. Here we find a permanent core of values. These fundamental guides for human behavior seem to be deeply ingrained in mankind and are not swayed by time and place circumstances.

Everyday conversation suggests that most of us at heart believe in a real right and wrong. Take arguments for example. People young and old, educated and uneducated, often say such things as: “Come on, you promised.” “Hey, you broke in line ahead of us. That’s not fair.” “Why don’t you help me? I helped you when you needed it.”

C.S. Lewis tells us that remarks of that sort don’t just mean that the other fellow’s attitude doesn’t happen to please the speaker. There is something else involved. The one who makes the complaint is appealing to a certain standard of behavior which he expects the other person to know about.

And usually he is right. The other man rarely replies, “I don’t give a hoot about fairness.” No. He makes out that what he’s doing isn’t really unfair after all. He claims to have some special excuse which lets him off the hook for not living up to his promise this time, or for breaking in line, or for not helping you on this occasion.

It looks as though both sides really agree there is a law or rule of fair play. Quarreling means trying to show the other person is wrong. What’s the sense in trying to do that unless both sides agree as to what is right and wrong. Just as in basketball, to paraphrase Lewis’ example, there’s no sense in saying a player committed a foul unless there is an agreement on the rules of basketball.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Thieves cannot excuse themselves saying they didn’t know stealing was a crime. Murderers can’t get away with murder, claiming they didn’t know murder was wrong. The underlying idea is that all citizens are expected to understand that stealing and murder are wrong.

Can you imagine an attorney in a request that the case be dismissed against his client, saying, “No judge, I don’t think my client should be held responsible for murdering his wife and six children. After all, the defendant doesn’t have a law degree. Why should we expect him to know all the finer points of the law?”

On the other hand, lawyers do try to excuse their clients by pleading “temporary insanity.” Doesn’t that let the cat out of the bag? What they are saying is that for one reason or another, the accused was momentarily mentally unbalanced and didn’t understand he was committing an act which all of us know to be wrong. Had the defendant been sane at the moment, he would have recognized and upheld the same Rules for Right Conduct that all the rest of us sane people do.

They seem to be affirming that criminal codes are based on certain moral truths. In fact, federal and state criminal laws wouldn’t make sense unless there were a real standard of decent behavior which the “sane” criminal knows as well as we do and ought to have practiced.

Sometimes right and wrong are so obvious, no one seriously questions it. After World War II, Germany was widely denounced for their war crimes. But as Lewis observes: “What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we di
d and ought to have practiced?”

Earlier we asked, is our idea of right and wrong a subjective whim or a real objective standard for good behavior. Evidently it is both. Manners, styles, clothing, and opinions on any number of subjects vary over time and location.

Then again virtues such as courage, faithfulness, and honesty have always been praised. Likewise, vices such as treachery, murder, and theft have been universally condemned.

Civilizations throughout history have reflected these eternal values. And they are still with us today. Much of what we think, much of what we say, and much of what we do would be utter nonsense if there were not a true moral standard of right and wrong.

Now if we can agree that there really is an objective standard of right and wrong, we can go on to our next question. Namely where does this standard come from? Some say mankind invented the moral code because civilization couldn’t function without basic rules for getting along. Through education, they passed these rules for right living on down from one generation to the next.

Others say the same Outside Source which designed the human body also produced the moral code as a guide for our behavior. The moral law was imprinted in humans much the same as instinct. Who’s right?

Before we take up that question, let’s first consider an entirely different subject – mathematics. Math, as we know, is based upon certain objective truths. Algebra, calculus, and trigonometry are all derived from solid mathematical principles which have been around long before mankind discovered them.

And if we somehow lose knowledge of them again, those principles would still be there awaiting future generations to rediscover them. Therefore, we can say that mathematical truths exist separate from any human knowledge of them.

Notice we say such things as: Pythagoras discovered the principles governing the right-angled triangle. Or Descartes discovered the principles behind analytical geometry. We don’t say they “invented” the principles. They were already there. In the same way we speak of people discovering other scientific facts.

In 1781, William Hershel discovered the planet Uranus, and in 1930. C. Tombaugh discovered Pluto. Uranus and Pluto have probably been around as long as our own planet. They would still be there even if we had never learned of their existence.

Bearing that in mind, let’s return to the moral law. The most reasonable assumption is that individuals down through the centuries discovered and rediscovered certain fundamental truths of right and wrong. They didn’t invent them any more than Pythagoras invented the principles governing the right-angled triangle or William Hershel invented Uranus.

The moral law for decent behavior was already there. Men and women merely looked into their own hearts, their own conscience, and there they found a bundle of “oughts.” “Oughts” such as: I ought to keep my promises, even if I would rather not. I ought to tell the truth, even if it makes me look like a fool. I ought to finish my assigned duty, even though I would rather do something else. I ought to remain true to my spouse, even if I am attracted to another. I ought to be honest, even if it would be easy to cheat. I ought to treat the other fellow the same way I would like to be treated, even if I think he is a jerk.

Apparently, none of us made up this moral code of “oughts.” Sometimes it would be rather convenient if they would just go away. But they don’t. They continue to press in on us whether we like it or not.

One thing more, if man created the moral law himself, we would expect to find each society and each civilization developing their own set of basic principles. Our clue is that they did not. While they came up with widely different customs, conventions, and manners, every civilization, past and present, discovered the same bundle of inconvenient “oughts” to direct their lives. Isn’t that curious?

It looks very much like the Outside Source is behind all of it. What does the moral law tell us about this Outsider? Obviously, he’s not a create-’em-and-let-’em-run-amuck sort of being. He’s not a neutral, hands off, passive creator. Instead we find a Moral Agent who has loaded the dice trying to influence our thinking.

Freedom of Choice

He implanted basic instincts in us much as he did the animals. But he gave us something other creatures apparently didn’t receive. This Moral Agent programmed a series of “oughts’ into us to guide our behavior. Clearly, he wants us to keep our promises, tell the truth, do our duty, remain faithful, be honest, and to do to others the same way we would have them do to us.

Notice though, however much the Moral Agent wants us to act in a certain way, he does not force us. He allows us free choice. We can chose to obey the moral law, or we can reject it.

Justice

Before we leave the moral law, I would like to draw your attention to an enigma. Our natural desires in life seem to be satisfied by one means or another. We thirst; water quenches our thirst. We hunger; food quenches our hunger. We want sex; our mate quenches our desire. Our human nature appears to be in close harmony with what life has to offer; so much so, it looks like someone planned it that way.

Give them a desire, then give them a way to satisfy it, seems to be the idea. It keeps us busy doing the things that Whoever-made-us wants us to do. And it all works well, up to a point. Then we run into something that doesn’t quite pan out.

Deeply embedded in our conscience we find a penchant for justice or fair play. We are not neutral observers; we are moral creatures. We want the good guys to win. We like happy endings. And we cheer when good triumphs over evil.

About the only place that happens, however, is at the movies, old movies at that. Real life isn’t nearly as accommodating. In fact, life often seems inherently unfair.

Consider the following: One baby is born to wealth, another to poverty. One is born to a family that loves him, another to a family that abuses him. One is aborted, the other is not. I don’t need to tell you, there is nothing fair about any of that.

Fortune seems to smile on some and frown on others. We see geniuses, and we see idiots; women with great beauty, and women who are downright ugly; people with many talents, and people with no talents at all; and those who are healthy, and those who are sickly or physically deformed. What’s fair about that?

Let’s take it a step further. Some people are endowed with good looks, sound nerves, wit, charm, and a pleasing personality. Popularity and admiration come fairly easy for them. They fit in naturally wherever they go. They don’t need to work at it. It’s a gift. They are the blessed. They are life’s winners.

At the other end of the totem pole, it’s an entirely different story. There we find the homely, dull, slow-witted, timid, warped, lonely people or the passionate, sensual, unbalanced people. By no choice of their own, many are born into homes filled with hatred, petty jealousies, and constant bickering. Others are tormented by sexual perversions or nagged by an inferiority complex. No matter how hard they try, they don’t fit in anywhere. They are life’s losers – unappealing, unloved, and often the object of ridicule and jokes. These folks will be quick to tell you, “life is unfair.” And they are right.

Notice, what we have mentioned so far are traits and circumstances over which we have little or no control. What about those things over with we do have control? Do we find fairness there?

Some people work long and hard, day in and day out, sunup to sundown. Others do nothing they are not forced to do. Both live out their seventy or so years and die. Memory of both soon fades away. All they had, whether plenty or little, is left to someone who did not work for it. Somehow that doesn’t strike us as fair either.

And what of the honest, the faithful, the kind
, and the generous? Do they not meet the same fate as the hypocrite, the unfaithful, the cruel, and the greedy? Death overtakes them all, good or bad. And soon they are forgotten. Certainly, that’s not fair. Where are the scales of justice?

But it is even worse than that. You and I know that as often as not, it is the bad man who prospers while the good suffers all kinds of afflictions. The bully wins, and the weak pays the price. The cheater gets off scot-free, while the innocent is accused. Crime all too often does pay. The criminal really does get away with murder. His victim suffers the loss. Justice is stood on its head.

We know life is full of injustices. No one denies it. They spring up everywhere. Our sense of fair play tells us something is fundamentally wrong. Something is out of kilter. We long for a world turned right side up. We want those who have been forced to suffer to receive their just compensation.

We want those who have benefited others to receive their just reward. We want those who have abused others to receive their just punishment. Anything less would be a travesty of justice.

Our True Home

Why then, are we given a longing for justice and forced to live in an unjust world? Has the same Agent who provided so generously for all our other needs, created an elaborate hoax just to frustrate our desire for justice? Or could it be that this world is not our final destination?

Perhaps we were made for a better world, a world without death, suffering and injustice. We might find our ingrained sense of fair play to be in complete harmony with the reality of our true home.

Evolutionists have nothing to say about justice or fair play.

Questions to Consider:

1. If we are nothing more than the chance meeting of random atoms of matter, why are we concerned about justice?

2. One more question: If we are nothing more than the chance meeting of random atoms of matter, how did we ever acquire the intelligence to figure out that we are nothing more than the chance meeting of random atoms of matter?

What are Business Ethics and What is Their Importance?

William King asked:

Business ethics are a matter of much debate. Every MBA entrant is taught the meaning of them, and yet many will never follow these guidelines in their real life careers. It has become a vast and complex field, and is the subject of much research. Business ethics encompass a large and significant portion of what it takes to do business today. Under the umbrella of business ethics comes:

• The social responsibility that a business is supposed to have towards the community in general, particularly the one in which it operates or has any interests. An example of this would be the Exxon Mobil oil spill. It is the responsibility of a business to protect the interests of the people, animals and environment where it uses resources. Due to improper handling of the issue, it became a public relations nightmare for the company. Exxon has now been ordered to clean up the area which it should have taken care not to damage in the first place. Indifference to business ethics in this case, caused a negative public image for the company and a huge lawsuit.

• Issues regarding a company’s responsibility towards its shareholders. This is a heavily regulated area but one that requires a lot of government intervention due to certain unethical practices adopted by many companies in the past. The concept of increasing shareholder value is part of the fundamental principles of a company and if business ethics are not brought into play here, the business can collapse due to the pressure exerted by shareholders.

• Inter-company dealings and negotiations. Often rivalries in business can turn ugly due to the amount of money and ego riding on them. Hostile takeovers and business espionage are some of the examples of unethical behavior within the business world. If discovered, these deeds can be punishable by law or simply public opinion. To allow for fair play and keeping the best interests of the consumers in mind, the government regulates a great deal of what goes on in company dealings. Microsoft has been the target of much abuse and outrage due to its allegedly monopolistic techniques of doing business. While this has not sunk the IT giant, many say that it may have long term repercussions. The government has also stepped in to make sure that other businesses and consumers are not harmed.

• Stakeholder protection. Every business has stakeholders other than its owners – the employees, the stockholders and the general public. The business has to ensure that the rights and interests of all of these groups are adequately protected in the course of its operations. The recent outcry about the harassment and bad working conditions of employees in Wal-Mart led to the generation of a lot of negative press about the outsized department store. This gives the competition the lead and rivals take the opportunity to get ahead while the company is busy trying to do some damage control.

• Fundamental business practices of a company. Underhanded dealings, the use of substandard products, spreading misinformation about the product, hiring illegal workers at lower than minimum wage, etc. prove that a business is run in an unethical way and that it is not a high quality work place or service provider. For instance, cigarette companies that spent most of the seventies telling people that it was not unhealthy to smoke, though they knew this to be untrue. In a recent judgment, one such company was forced to pay out $28 billion.

Ethical Search Engine Optimisation Services

Pradeep Gupta asked:

Concerned about not getting an adequate amount of traffic to your site? Want to boost your visibility on net? One answer to all such questions! Your site needs SEO services.

SEO (search engine optimization) means optimization of a site to increase its visibility & usability to search engines like google. SEO services help in generating more traffic to your site which means more interested customers, which will convert to increased sales for your business.

A SEO consultant would guide you about what all should be done to get a higher ranking on a search engine. We, a seo company uk, provide a complete solution to all your SEO services need.

Key benefits of SEO services can be summed up as below. Read on to find out why you need search engine optimization…

Increased Traffic – Search Engines do better than all other media in encouraging visitors to a website. As about 85% of Internet users prefer search engines as the crucial method to start their search. Traffic from search engines is the most considerable traffic as it is comprised of experienced visitors. These are the people who actively look for a product, service information or solution. So, your seo services uk will make certain that you have valuable traffic.

Improved Competitive Edge – if chances of finding out your website are more, it means your competitors are less likely to be found out. It directly means that if you have more customers, the more online market distribute you get. This is where we, uk seo company help you cut down your competition so that your profits will go higher.

Larger Customer Base – a SEO consultant can help you locate the best search terms to target which will not only attract more visitors to your web site, but ensures that those visitors are more likely to be strong potential customers for your business. Millions of searches are conducted each day; sites appearing at the top of the search results certainly get free web site promotion. In this way, your online market expands. By escalating your market online you expose your products and services to more motivated and interested customers.

Excellent Return-on-Investment – an affordable SEO package has been proven to acquiesce a higher Return on Investment in terms of generating more traffic to your website, qualified sales leads and customer acquisitions. It provides a very low cost of internet advertising with a probable high rate of return, giving you a high Return-on-Investment.

It works Non – stop – your SEO partner works for you non-stop 24/7. It saves your time & effort. After you submit your site, it will continue to be crawled and indexed by search engines and is maintained with minimal endeavor.

Besides being an efficient online marketing tools – they’re also cost effecive. High level SEO services also make possible online marketing of the site. For a SEO program that can help you locate the best search terms to target more visitors that are strong potential customers for your goods and services, you need to look for a SEO partner who provides premium SEO services with own originality.

In simple terms, SEO services make a web site generate traffic from relevant search term queries. An affordable SEO package will take care of aspects like effective search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), internet marketing strategies and execution to bring persistent visitor traffic to your site. Our seo services uk esures correct implementation of search engine optimization that will significantly affect where your web site is positioned against your competitors.

For more information about Search Engine Optimization services UK , visit::

www.brickblue.co.uk

Ethics in the Workplace

Natalie Rhoden asked:

We’ve all heard these rules to live by: Don’t hurt, don’t steal, don’t lie, and the more famous “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” In our personal lives most people try to follow these rules. Ethics are often thought of by many as something that is related to the personal side of life and not to the business side. In some businesses, having ethics may actually be frowned upon. This is usually due to the fact that business is about doing what’s best for the bottom line and not always about doing the right thing.

It is commonly understood that there are ethics and then there are workplace ethics. Often we don’t stop to realize that there is no difference between personal ethics and ethics in the workplace; ethics are the same whether at work or in personal life.

After all, ethics are about making choices that may not always feel good or seem like they benefit you. Ethical choices are the “right” choices to make and are examples of rules to live by.

Practical Impact

Executives typically want the answers to two key questions about ethics in their offices: “How do workplace ethics apply to practical goals of my organization and the work of my employees?” and “Is there reliable data to support these assertions?” The Ethics Resource Center (www.ethics.org), a nonprofit organization, assists leaders to impact their organizations by identifying ethical risks and establishing systems to emphasize higher standards for business conduct.

The Ethics Resource Center annually conducts a National Business Ethics Survey (NBES) – a rigorous telephone survey of 1,500 U.S. employees. The NBES findings are encouraging for organizations that have an emphasis on positive workplace ethics. For example, employees have high expectations for ethics within their organizations. Nine in ten respondents say that they “expect their organizations to do what is right, not just what is profitable.”

This suggests that most employees are not cynical about ethics at work, encouraging news when considering the implementation or development of ethics initiatives as the long term success of any program rely on the active support of employees.

Formal ethics programs and informal ethics practices were shown to affect certain key outcomes. Employees who work in companies with active ethics programs who observe leaders modeling ethical behavior, and also observe the application of values such as honesty, respect and trust applied frequently at work, report more positive experiences that include the following:

·         Less pressure on employees to compromise ethics standards

·         Less observed misconduct at work

·         Greater willingness to report misconduct

·         Greater satisfaction with their organization’s response to misconduct they report

·         Greater overall satisfaction with their organizations

·         Greater likelihood of “feeling valued” by their organizations

Findings of Concern

The NBES uncovered a substantial gap between senior and middle managers and lower-level employees. A consistent finding with management was the perception that their organizations have a positive ethical environment. This conflicts with the perception of lower-level employees however. This suggests that executives may underestimate the importance of specific ethics issues and concerns facing employees.

This disconnect may also position executives to fail to address these issues adequately within their organization’s ethics programs. Therefore it is important for executives to include input from employees at lower levels in the development of ethics programs and to continue to seek out their input and feedback on a regular basis.

In addition to the communications gap between employees and executives, one in three employees believe that their coworkers will perceive them as “snitches” if they report misconduct. This is roughly the same proportion of employees who believe that management will see them as “troublemakers” for reporting ethical concerns. A key element to take away from this discovery is the need to address and eliminate retaliation systemically, at the management and peer levels throughout the organization.

Questions Answered

Let’s go back to our two key questions: “How do workplace ethics apply to practical goals of my organization and the work of my employees?” and “Is there reliable data to support these assertions?” There are a variety of practical reasons for executives to focus on workplace ethics and reliable data that supports these efforts. The NBES findings consistently link ethics programs to more positive organizations outcomes and increased employee satisfaction.

It would be naïve to suggest that an emphasis on ethics will improve the work environment and solve the company’s problems overnight. In many cases a well developed and organized effort to target key ethical issues sends an important message. It tells employees that your organization is moving in a positive direction, one that is positive for them as individuals.

Establishing an Ethics Program

Establishing an ethics program is not an exact science. As with any organizational program, it will involve the input and cooperation of many people. The effectiveness of any organization’s approach will depend on characteristics that are unique to its culture, the leadership styles, proper planning, and so on. Since some people may be uncomfortable talking about the issues of ethics it can be helpful if management first asks, considers, and then responds to the following questions:

·         Why might good people in this organization do unethical things?

·         What are our organization’s values?

·         Have we adequately articulated these values internally and externally?

·         Does our organization have written ethics policies, procedures, or structures?

·         To whom is our organization accountable?

·         What do we mean by “success”?

·         Does the leadership of our organization support the idea of an ethical workplace?

With the feedback obtained by discussing the questions above, management will have a better idea of the perceptions their employees have on how the company is performing ethically.

In the end, it’s all about beginning with our personal and collective understanding of ethics. The second step is awareness of, and solutions to, questions concerning ethics as applied to the workplace. Many universities are now heavily applying the teaching of ethics to their curricula. Graduates of these programs take this information into the workforce with the understanding that solid, positive ethics need to be applied there as well as in the private sector.

In a perfect world, corporations will be better able to avoid embarrassing scandals that appear and reappear in both national and world-wide news scandals. Small businesses will be able to keep and attract more clients and customers. Negotiations between businesses could be accomplished with increased consideration for the other company. This is something for which we can all strive.

Blue Collar Business Ethics For Your Small Business Will Provide Global Oppurtunities

Nick Bauer asked:

I started FCP Groton in 2001 with a simple goal, to sell auto parts on EBay and our website. I had no business plan, no direction, no employees only the sources to obtain the parts and the knowledge of where to sell them. I had been selling some auto parts via my parent’s local store on the side and it was starting to take off. I knew with a lot of hard work and some imagination that it would become bigger. The first employee was hired followed by the second, third, fourth, and fifth. In the blink of an eye, 7 years passed and revenue went from 250k to 7M a year, yet we were still doing the same thing each day, only on a grander scale as when this was first established.

My parents and grandparents were old school business people, blue collar workers. I saw that work ethic growing up and that became instilled in me and then my employees for the first 7 years. I mean we worked, worked hard on selling auto parts as that the only goal. Most of the close minded thought process was due to our environment; small leaky building, ancient computer system, and lack of employees (due to the space). We never stopped for a second to step back and see what we needed to do different to get to the next level.

Our whole mentality changed in April 2008. We moved to a larger facility and went on a new software platform. The space enabled more employees and the software freed up time. We had time to think and analyze what the business was for the first time ever. We drafted a business plan, gave ourselves a little direction. We saw that we were no longer a company that could just sell auto parts, we would need to be more than that if we were to expand and survive in the new age of business.

We needed to offer a free service to our customers to compliment the physical products. We needed to become more active in the online community. We needed to communicate directly with our customers in an open manner. We needed to become better listeners when problems arose. We needed this all to be transparent to everyone. The more and more information you provide about your company, the more and more trust you will gain from your customers. There are thousands of places to buy auto parts online; this was our niche as to how we were going to differentiate ourselves from the rest.

We made our first venture into this transparent society last summer when we sponsored a few forums to communicate to offer our knowledge and support in their communities. From there we created this blog and our social networking pages to communicate and interact with the day to day lives of our customers who in turn became part of our community. Not only did this have a profound effect on customers, our employees were actually excited about the buzz and wanted to participate, and added side effect. They felt and realized for the first time that they were part of something special.

There are thousands of companies selling auto parts on the Internet fighting for your business. Having the lowest price or the best customer service can only get you so far if they don\’t compliment each another. If you can\’t back up your great price with a speedy shipping service or a customer service team when there is a problem, you will not get the reviews and support in the online community that you need to survive. Our goal is to touch our customers and their lives so they come back to us the next time. We try to do our job so well that they have no choice but to tell their friends and social networks about us. Word of mouth in the today\’s society is your most valuable advertising asset yet is something that you can\’t pay for, you have to earn it, the blue collar way.

For more information please visit FCP Groton

Improve the Ethics of Law Enforcement Through Ethics in Policing

Vikram kuamr asked:

There is such a thing as improving the ethics of law enforcement within the country. This is possible through Ethics in Policing Ltd, a non-governmental and non-profit organization. EiP or Ethics in Policing has been established with the ideal to supply and support the philosophy of transparency and openness in the law enforcement and policing community. This aim is possible by offering a forum worldwide, discussing the ethical issues which are inherent within policing and law enforcement. This aim is regarded as significant because not only does this affect various law enforcement organizations, it also affects the entire community. EiP will make sure that this objective is carried out.

If you are interested or involved within the system of criminal justice or policing, Ethics in Policing invites you to take part in this goal. The entire bodies of law enforcement are also urged to join this cause. You can share your knowledge regarding law enforcement. You can also share your different experiences regarding the ethical problems which affect the whole community. If there are certain things which you want to know more about, the online site of Ethics in Policing has an information Room where you can learn the things you want to know.

This section of EiP’s website puts up information and web links to world policing bodies and other related agencies. Through the info room of EiP, you will be able to search easily for a specific policing organization within a specific country. You can also browse information by continent. Other than information, you can also read policing news which pertains with ethical issues. This news is derived from all over the world and updated each day. What is more, the news is filed for possible references in the future. If you have research projects, you can support these by referring to the policing news update of EiP.

The vision of Ethics in Policing is the openness of the international law enforcement. EiP aims to develop, support, and uphold the philosophy of transparency and openness within the law enforcement’s international community. Forums are provided, wherein issues related to law enforcement are being discussed. This is done in order to fortify policing integrity with the help of proper ethical practices and leadership. The strengthening of police integrity will greatly benefit law enforcement members and the entire civilian community.

The development of the discussion forum aims to assist law enforcement organizations, agencies, and members who like to raise and discuss ethical matters related to policing. The ethical decisions made by law enforcement agencies are monitored. What is more, there is also an establishment of ethical benchmarking. There is a development of project and research so as to teach and uphold comprehension of ethical matters which influence and affect policing. The exchange of law enforcement concepts and practices are facilitated. This is done in order to improve the process of learning, thereby creating an ethical atmosphere within the community of law enforcement. Police training consultancy is also possible through Ethics in Policing. If you think that policing bodies seem to be getting corrupt, you can uphold the ethics of the international law enforcement by joining the cause of EiP.