September 22, 2020

Business Ethics – An oxymoron?


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samuel-rosenbergBy Samuel Rosenberg From Caribbean 360

NEW YORK, United States, Thursday October 2014 – During a recent discussion I held at a college on business challenges and opportunities, a student raised his hand and asked about the role ethics play in business. This question coincided with a lengthy recruiting process our company held in which I had asked each candidate to define “ethical behaviour.” To my surprise, none of the dozens of candidates were able to properly answer this seemingly simple question. For many, ethical behaviour corresponds with coming to work on time with a clean and tidy uniform. It is therefore very encouraging to hear the young people starting to think critically about such topics.

When you read the press both locally and internationally, it is easy to believe that most businesses are prepared to operate unethically to close a deal, increase their profits or sell a product; fortunately this is not always the case. In reality, companies who are prepared to treat their employees and their customers ethically are more likely to have a long-term future with that business.

People Working and Business Ethics ConceptThere will always be some dishonest behaviour within a business or an organisation; those people who feel free to operate, with the lowest of morals or ethics, to spin their business methods to increase their individual take-home pay at the expense of anyone who gets in their way. Where these are individuals, a business will eventually out them. Where this methodology stems from the highest ranking person, a company can quickly breed poor ethics as everyone believes it is the right way to do business.

Where you intend to stay with your company and industry and live in your community, only the highest ethical standards will allow you to sleep at night. If you do cheat on your colleagues and customers, you will lose sleep wondering who is going to catch you first.

Seeing examples of unethical business can be found regularly, almost anywhere you look. From the vegetable seller who doesn’t display prices and tries to charge a few more cents when the purchaser wears good quality clothing, to the taxi driver who overcharges foreigners because a few dollars more won’t make any difference to them, are the everyday examples you may see. Where a doctor performs an unnecessary procedure to increase their income significantly to where a company is prepared to sell food too close to its expiration date, some unethical behaviour is kept out of sight of the general public.

Where you work for a company or employ people in an ethical environment, those workers are likely to offer more to the company over the long term and it is no coincidence that the company is more likely to achieve enduring success.

The responsibility for operating ethically is down to the individual. Even where there is not a short-term benefit to you, doing the right thing by the people you deal with, colleagues and customers, will put you in the right frame of mind for doing business properly over the years.

By respecting other people and never compromising on your integrity, you will be dealing with people in the way that you would like them to deal with you.

Where colleagues and customers learn to trust you because of the ethical manner in which you conduct business, word will spread and you will attract customers for your business’s products and this will in turn increase both sales and profits. For a company that operates in this manner it will become easier to attract similar employees and you will reduce the cost of persistent recruitment and your most talented employees will stay with you.

When the core values of your business and your people are high in integrity and ethical standards, you will be able to hold your head high in your local community and you will find it easier to mix with people of a similar demeanour.

Samuel Rosenberg – The writer is the founder and CEO of Axcel Finance Ltd., the leading regional microfinance institution. Share your thoughts and email your questions to [email protected]

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