Archive for the ‘Business Ethics’ Category
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It is unethical to have double standards in business, because it only encourages dishonesty. Dishonest personnel should be dealt with strictly.
Ethics demands to condemn them, since, allowed to continue it disrupts the working of business and exposes innocent persons to unnecessary losses.
Ethics regarding expense accounts demand that if a flat expense allowance has been allowed to an employee he need not make an accounting. Other expenses reasonably incurred must be reimbursed; but these must be satisfactory accounted for.
Theft of company’s property or temptation to steal can be reduced, if a worker is paid regularly and reasonably.
When some information becomes more and more vital to business, secrecy becomes a major ethical concern. A secret is a knowledge which a person has a right and/or an obligation to keep hidden. These obligatory secrets always involve situations in which revelation of the knowledge would cause serious harm or the violation of contract.
These secrets may be natural, promised and professional. The natural secret involves knowledge of something which by its nature will cause harm if revealed. Unless there is a proportionate reason, the secret should not be disclosed.
The promised secret involves a natural secret; the obligation to keep it arises from the contract or promise by which one binds it. These may be revealed when silence will cause more harm than good. The professional secret involves not only the above two types of secrets but also the reputation of a group, whose services are necessary for society. Only for a very serious reason, such secret may be revealed.
Secrets revealed must be made in such a way as to minimize harm; to protect the revealer from a proportionate harm, but not to gain some advantage to which he has no right; it can be revealed by action as well as by word or gesture. Non-obligatory secrets may be revealed if the person possessing such secrets so wishes.
The employer has an obligation to keep secret a great deal of information about the employee, regarding his health reports, psychological and psychiatric tests, secret investigations of the employee’s credit and activities, etc.
Such information must be used ethically, i.e., not made public without the employee’s permission or else the employer may be guilty of violation of privacy.
Relations with competitors should be governed by basic ethics and the rules of fair play rather than by the ethics of self-defense and warfare. Unethical competition turns rivalry into a ruthless battle.
Such competition is often done in many ways, e.g., harming a competitor by interfering with his production and distribution, encouraging labor disputes and work stoppages as well as boycotts of a competitor’s products, hiring away of key employees or use of market power to move the competitor’s products out of the market, extorting, bribing and the granting of discriminatory advertising allowances or brokerage fees, price-cutting, making disparaging statements about the competitor’s products or quality, etc. What is needed is that an ethical businessman must resist the temptation of retaliating against the rival, for such unethical attacks destroys confidence in business and introduces chaos in place of order; and substitutes tricks for real competence and leads to a weakening of all human ideals.
The correct solution is to secure through combined efforts such regulations as are necessary to protect honest businessmen.