4/23/2017

MoneyMatters101.com Home
Information About Business
A Bad Economy
Advertising
Are You Ready
Back To Basics
Brand Your Business
Breathe Life Into Business
Business Definitions
Business Ethics
Business Instincts
Business Insurance
Business Questions
Business Structure
Buying A Business
Confront Your Fears
Copyrights
Corporations
Cost Control
Cost Budgeting
Cost Estimating
Cost Management
Customer Service
Determine Value
Due Diligence
Employer/Employee
Effective Leadership
Entrepreneurship
Franchises
Friends In Business
General Partnership
GenY Entrepreneurs
Great Companies
Innovative Practices
Investing In Fads
High Tech Products
Hobby To Business
Home Businesses
Learn Not To Flinch
Limited Partnership
Loyal Customers
Making A Profit
Mission Statement
Money And Profit
Overnight Success
Partner With Family
Patents
Personal Branding
Products/Services
Selling A Business
Selling Yourself
Setting Goals
Sole Proprietorship
Starting A Business
Start From Scratch
Surety Bond
The Buck Starts Here
The Competition
The Ethical Dilemma
Trademarks
Types of Businesses
Visability Is Power
What Is Success
What Makes Success
Links

Email Us

Job Interview
Buying Insurance
Solar Power

Business Quotes

MoneyMatters101



 

The Ethical Dilemma

There's No Such Thing As "Business" Ethics
by John C. Maxwell

Our disgust is now turning to discussion. People want to know: Why is ethics in such a terrible state? Although there are many possible responses to that question, I believe when people make unethical choices, they do so for one of three reasons:

1. We Do What's Most Convenient

An ethical dilemma can be defined as an undesirable or unpleasant choice relating to a moral principle or practice. What do we do in such situations? Do we do the easy thing or the right thing? For example, what should I do when a clerk gives me too much change? What should I say when a convenient lie can cover a mistake? How far should I go in my promises to win a client?

As human beings, we seem prone to failing personal ethics tests. Why do we do something even when we know it's wrong. Do we cheat because we think we won't get caught? Do we give ourselves permission to cut corners because we rationalize that it's just one time? Is this our way of dealing with pressure?

2. We Do What We Must to Win

I think most people are like me: I hate losing! Businesspeople in particular desire to win through achievement and success. But many think they have to choose between being ethical and winning. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that a group of executives came together recently at a leading company in Atlanta to brainstorm ideas for a three-day national conference to be attended by several thousand sales employees. As the team shared ideas for different sessions, a senior vice president of the corporation enthusiastically suggested, "Why don't we do a piece on ethics?"

It was as if someone had died. The room went silent. An awkward moment later, the discussion continued as if the vice president had never uttered a word. She was so taken aback by everyone's reaction, she simply let the idea drop.

Later that day, she happened to run into the company's CEO. She recounted to him her belief that the subject of ethics should be addressed at the conference. She expected him to agree wholeheartedly . Instead he replied, "I'm sure everyone agrees that's an important issue. But there's a time and a place for everything. The sales meeting is supposed to be upbeat and motivational. And ethics is such a negative subject."

That CEO isn't alone in his opinion of ethics. Many people believe that embracing ethics would limit their options, their opportunities, their very ability to succeed in business. It's the old suspicion that good guys finish last. They agree with Harvard history professor Henry Adams, who stated, "Morality is a private and costly luxury." Ironically, in today's culture of high debt and me-first living, ethics may be the only luxury some people are choosing to live without!

I I believe that I have only two choices: (1) to win by doing whatever it takes, even if it's unethical; or (2) to have ethics and lose--I'm faced with a real moral dilemma. Few people set out with the desire to be dishonest, but nobody wants to lose.

3. We Rationalize Our Choices with Relativism

Many people choose to deal with such no-win situations by deciding what's right in the moment, according to their circumstances. That's an idea that gained legitimacy in the early 1960s when Dr. Joseph Fletcher, dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in Cincinnati, Ohio, published a book called Situation Ethics. In it he said that love was the only viable standard for determining right from wrong. The Executive Leadership Foundation states,

  • According to Fletcher, right is determined by the situation, and love can justify anything--lying, cheating, stealing...even murder. This philosophy spread rapidly throughout the theological and educational worlds....Since the 1960s, situational ethics has become the norm for social behavior. After spreading rapidly through the worlds of education, religion, and government, it has penetrated a new area--the business world. The result is our ethical situation today.

The result is ethical chaos. Everyone has his own standards, which change from situation to situation. And that stance is encouraged. A course entitled "The Ethics of Corporate Management," offered at the University of Michigan, says in its description, "This course is not concerned with the personal moral issues of honesty and truthfulness. It is assumed that the students at this university have already formed their own standards o these issues."

So whatever anyone wants to use as the standard is okay. Making matters worse is people's natural inclination to be easy on themselves, judging themselves according to their good intentions-- while holding others to a higher standard and judging them by their worst actions. Where once our decisions were based on ethics, now ethics are based on our decisions. If it's good for me, then it's good. Where is this trend likely to end?

About the author:

Bestselling author and expert on leadership John C. Maxwell shares the only rule that matters—in business and in life. How does a person judge what is ethical? Sometimes it's clear. In the past year or two, ethical lapses in corporate America have been well documented. But is it always easy to see where the line is in life? What's the standard? And can it work in all situations? John C. Maxwell thinks it can. In There's No Such Thing As Business Ethics, Maxwell shows how people can live with integrity by using the Golden Rule as their standard—regardless of religion, culture, or circumstances. Along the way, he delves into the desires of the human heart, reveals the five most common pitfalls that throw people off the ethical track, and teaches how to develop the Midas touch when it comes to personal integrity.

 

Book of the Month

Book about investing

Advertise on MoneyMatters101.com

 

Share


Accessibility Policy| Terms Of Use| Privacy Policy| Advertise with Us| Contact Us

Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Use.

We are looking to create more mutually beneficial partnerships. If you are interested in partnering with MoneyMatters101.com, send us your proposal.

MoneyMatters101.com™

Link to MoneyMatters101.com