Tag Archives: Real World

Encouraging Ethical Behavior

Jonathon Hardcastle asked:

Most authorities agree that there is room for improvement in business ethics. One of the most problematic questions raised in relation to business ethics is whether or not businesses can become more ethical in the real world. The majority opinion on this issue suggests that government, trade associations, and individual firms can indeed establish acceptable levels of ethical behavior.

The government can do so by legislating more stringent regulations. But, rules require enforcement and when in many cases there is evidence of lack of enforcement even the ethical businessperson will tend to “slip something by” without getting caught. Increased regulation may help, but it surely cannot solve the entire business ethics problems.

Trade associations can and often do provide ethical guidelines for their members. These organizations within particular industries are in an excellent position to exert pressures on members that stoop to questionable business practices. However, enforcement and authority vary from association to association. Moreover, exactly because trade associations exist for the benefit of their members, harsh measures may be self-defeating.

Employees can more easily determine and adopt acceptable behavior when companies provide them with a “code of ethics.” Such codes are perhaps the most effective way to encourage ethical behavior. A code of ethics is a written guide to acceptable and ethical behavior that outlines uniform policies, standards and punishments for violations. Because employees know what is expected of them and what will happen if they violate the rules, a code of ethics goes a long way towards encouraging ethical behavior. However, codes cannot possibly cover every situation. Companies must also create an environment in which employees recognize the importance of complying with the written code. Managers must provide direction by fostering communication, actively modeling and encouraging ethical decision making, apart from investing in training employees to make ethical decisions.

Sometimes, even employees who want to act ethically may find it difficult to do so. Unethical practices can become ingrained in an organization. Employees with high personal ethics may then take a controversial step called “whistle blowing.” Whistle blowing is informing the press or government officials about unethical practices in an organization. Whistle blowing could have averted disaster and prevented needless deaths in the Challenger space shuttle disaster, for example. How could employees have known about life-threatening problems and let them pass? Whistle blowing on the other hand, can have serious repercussions for employees; those who make waves sometimes lose their jobs.

Business Ethics

John Cargo asked:

A business of any kind, whether online or on-site (“real world”), can be like navigating a mine field, especially where ethics are concerned, so some knowledge of law and a certain degree of fair-mindedness are necessary to conduct business professionally and equitably.Ethics keep business practices well-grounded and focused on what is really important; that is, the customers’ needs and wants come first.

Entrepreneurs must keep themselves informed on the terms of service and the interests of the population. This will allow customers to make informed and therefore confident purchases. No one likes business ventures that are oblivious to what is going on around them or that are behind-in-the-times; shoppers are not likely to feel comfortable with the judgment of those who have absolutely no clue or are doubtful regarding what’s expected and required to satisfactorily answer shoppers’ questions. Deception, or “pulling stuff out of one’s butt,” will not suffice; businesses are likely to be more successful when they stay on top of the research so they can offer honest and current feedback to everyone who needs it. Business representatives who can’t assist shoppers are useless. Taking this extra effort shows shoppers that businesses really do care about the customers.

Fair prices are always the best way to go. Despite what many business owners might think, providing services and merchandise at higher rates will not necessarily guarantee a profit; on the contrary, such outrageous costs will only drive the shoppers to go elsewhere and the business will ultimately lose money. When businesses compare given products offered by various competitors and then set appropriate prices, customers see that said businesses are cognizant of what typical shoppers are able and willing to to pay. In the long run, operations will be consistent or gradually growing, and profits foreseeable.

Honesty is the best policy, as the saying goes. Many think that’s a crock, but, in actuality, it isn’t. Those who are open and straightforward about their intentions and offer quality services and merchandise will inevitably find themselves in a successful venture. Why? Simple: shoppers and returning customers will know that businesses that play honestly and fair value them, and the trust factor is increased exponentially. Customers are not stupid, and so they should not be treated as such. Eventually, all underhanded schemes are discovered one way or another, and the scarred reputation that businesses acquire from such bad dealings will eventually lead to a downfall.

There are many ethical situations that lead behavior in business every single day. Knowing what they are and letting them lead the way through every circumstance will make interactions easier and more fulfilling. Such honesty and integrity will always leave a pleasant, trusting and indelible impression on everyone involved.

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