History is littered with organisations that collapsed because of unethical practices, affecting not only their shareholders, but national economies.
The importance of ethical behaviour is crucial in today’s business environment cannot be gainsaid. People not only expect ethical behaviour in your business dealings, but also want it reflected in the decisions you make in your personal life as well. It is expected that your character will be the same on a personal and professional level. Basically you can’t be ethical in business, but not in your personal life.
It was the case with former California Governor Arnold Shwartzenegger, who enjoyed good public approval making the important decisions in the State. However, his reputation was diminished after the media revealed an extra martial affair.
Since morals and virtues are not innate and are created by society, people can learn to be morally responsible human beings. We can also see that being honest is a huge part of being a good leader. It enables subordinates or followers to trust, have respect for the office bearer. When a leader is dishonest, followers tend to lose faith in them because they are undependable.
However, what do you do when you have a business and you get scammed out of money? Where do you draw the line in these cases?
Take the example of scammers who come into an hotel and unknown to the management bring with them items such as condoms among other inappropriate things. They place them in the room and enjoy their night stay. But the next day before checking out they call the front desk and complain that there was a used condom in the hotel room and therefore won’t pay for the room.
The management weighs its options. It can stand its ground and insist that its room was in the best condition and thus must get its pay. However that comes with some consequences. The guest can tell others about their bad experience and ruin the hotel’s reputation. He can also respond to online customer feedback survey give negative review.
To avoid all of those consequences the teleological approach would be to overlook the pay. The scammer in this case is not acting ethical. However what if this scenario happened more frequently than once a month or a few times a year?
The answer would be to put policies in place that would reduce the risk of scams. It could explicitly state that there are no refunds if such items are found the following day. My question, however, is that an ethical business response to an unethical situation? Where do you draw the line of ethics when you are dealing with large sums of money? Do you let others steal from you, because that is what such guests are in essence doing?
I would say that as a person you should act ethically as much as possible. In business, however, you need to determine what is in the best interest of the business when you have been taken advantage of.