“American Business Values” by Gerald Cavanagh

A free market for ethical values 1-37

For successful running and proper coordination of an organization, it is important that ethics are observed and a proper plan that identifies the various aspects of the organization is essential. This helps overcome situations that are contrary to the code of ethics while the organization is operating to meet its objectives. A number of aspects that may see a business organization indulge in unethical practices so that it can manage to fully meet its objectives include marketing of its products which is greatly influenced by competition where a number of organizations are bound to use unethical mechanisms to overcome as evident in a company’s operations. Other than dealing with competition which can effectively be managed through quality production, internal operations such as acknowledged code of conduct and treatment of employees and coordination of financial aspects that reflect on the financial position of an organization should be properly and ethically handled in order that the organization does not fake its public reputation. Fair competition is acknowledged and attained through quality production (Cavanagh, 7-15).

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There is a need to adopt effective compliance and ethics model in reframing an organizations ethics.The effectiveness of which lies upon the management whose sole responsibility is seeing that the company’s objective is attained. They are also involved making sure that all the other aspects positively correlates with each other. It’s unpractical for there to be principles that are meant to be adhered to when the management is not in any way involved in advocating for them. Employees in any organization will only find it necessary to stick to the regulations that are highly recognized and upheld by their own employers. Thus compliance calls for full responsibility from the management alongside employees. This in turn calls for a mechanism of evaluating compliance that can be attained through monitoring. With such a tool within an organization, it becomes relatively difficult for any activity that may be contrary to ethical regulations to be practiced. This is because the objectives and interests of the firm are met through operating within ethical boundaries that are clear. This makes it is very easy for any individual associated with the firm to realize when he or she is working within or outside the boundaries (Cavanagh, 16-32).

Good company practices are meant to ensure a good company reputation and they are based on the ethics of production such that a company is obligated to ensure quality is met in its production without the violation of the law. Some companies have a strong reputation of good company practice while some are known to indulge in various malpractices in order to effectively compete or maintain a particular production regime. Ethical practices not only protect the company’s image and hence help in reframing the market available for its products but also help in establishing consumer confidence. The position and role of any company’s management is to ensure and oversee the perfect survival of the company’s public image in the competitive business world.

Maturity and moral development 38-68

One of the most important aspects of human living is ethics. For centuries, mankind have cultivated and developed industry, science, technology, music, literature, culture, tradition, art, and religion among many others. However, ethics is one of these aspects that profoundly affect us in every way. In everyday lives, we are faced with numerous challenges which may require the use of emotions, intellectuality, and critical judgment skills. But have we ever realized that deeper issues always call for our individual ethical beliefs.

To understand one’s personal basis of ethics, an individual must first understand what the four ethical perspectives are. Moreover, knowledge of their terms alone is not enough but rather, comprehending their principles is more important. Regarding the first perspective, which is character and virtue, history tells us that it stems from that of which Aristotle taught over two thousand years ago. According to modern interpretations, virtue is the state of appropriateness. For instance, if we are to act virtuously, then it is reasonable to expect that we possess the right emotions for a given situation. And in accordance with this emotion, our character reflects our virtue which, more or less to say, our actions reflect what we feel. For instance, the feeling of kindness to others is predominant in out virtue; therefore, our character should be marked with kindness, and not with something which conveys otherwise.

Moreover, virtue among people, to be regarded as truly perspectives, must be stable in any given situation. If an individual possesses the virtue of kindness, then it must be shown in his or her manners at all times, to all people, and even in situations wherein one finds it hard to be kind. Also, in different situations, virtue must reflect a right response rooted on ethicality. Virtues are developed as one progress and learn and therefore, the existence of role models is important to their proper development. Lastly, one must understand that virtue must be driven by the right desire and the right reason. It must be inherent in a person and must not stem from self-interests. Virtue must not be enacted due to wrong reasons and it must also not be enacted for the right reasons yet for the wrong desires for it will no longer be constituted of ethics.

According to this book, deontology is the principle which guides us to act according to our duties or responsibilities. Moreover, these duties are perceived as what are ought to be done, rather than what should be done or what is commonly done. Deontology does not give regard to the results but instead emphasizes upon the intention of the conduct. Once the intention of the conduct is determined, it is then that one can deem if the conduct was ethical or not. A person may be confronted with the question if his or her duties and obligations are moral or not regardless of the result for it is the intent that is analyzed. For example, in western religion, it is the duty of the public to rest on the Sabbath day. Though this may mean that no work will be done on that day, the people should not heed the consequence since it is the norm of society and faith not to work, thus fulfillment of the duty is more important than its effects. The results of the duty do not matter as long as a person is able to do the duty which is perceived as the right one. In summary, deontology focuses on the ethicality of a conduct and not on the ensuing consequences.

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The third perspective, in contrast to deontology’s principle rooted on duty, is results or utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is mainly based on the belief that the consequences of an action/s are the ones which matter regardless of the actions used to come to the results. Moreover, utilitarianism adheres to the belief that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and pain is the intrinsic bad. And most importantly, utilitarianism believes that an act is morally right if it provides the greatest comfort for the greatest number.

Utilitarianism does not give regard to the morality of an act but instead on its results. This is commonly associated with the belief that the end justifies the means. For instance, regarding the medical setting, a physician might be challenged to perform active euthanasia to provide peace for a terminally ill, ailing, and greatly agonized patient. Since the process involves the provision of a medication which will surely induce the death of the patient, the action itself can be considered as wrong. However, since the ensuing death is surely to provide peace for an otherwise tormented soul, the effect is considered as the determinant of the ethicality of the act. Therefore, the consequence, which is peace for the patient, is ethical though the process may be considered as not.

Ethical Behavior in business

Every business should have good business ethics, which will help the business to grow its reputation and goodwill in the market. There are lots of factors, which are considered in relation to this issue, say, if a company with good business ethics does business with an unethical company then it can be harmful to the ethical image of the first company. So it is very important from an ethical company’s point of view to make careful business decisions if they want to keep their ethical image intact. Though we talk a lot about maintaining good business ethics but in reality many major brands does not follow business ethics rules and were fined several times for breaking laws of business ethics. Despite knowing these facts we still use their products and fulfill their profit-making objective. So the main deciding factor for the companies becomes money. For a company, which is making huge profits, paying fines is not a matter of concern and hence the good business ethics takes a back step in decision-making policies. The companies’ owing to make huge profits often break laws of environment, ethics and trust and pay fines without much bother. The companies are getting blind with huge profits and are neither bothered about the laws or environment nor about their business ethics. The main question and debate that comes out of this issue is whether people care if a company breaks law or ethics, the answer is ‘no’ because people only care about this sort of things if they get hurt with the consequences. For example, there was an issue recently with the soft drinks companies about getting harmful pesticides in their products. It created a huge buzz among the public and they decided to avoid the soft drinks that had a great impact on the sales of the soft drink companies and forced them to follow the business ethics. So it can be seen that breaking of business ethics not only affect the public but also the backfires to the company. The business ethics does not deal with the quality of product only but it also deals with some major issues like, child exploitation, global warming, deforestation, etc. The application of business ethics can be on anything which is related to the performance of the business like, the product, workers, environment, society, government and human rights.

There are numerous types of business across the globe which are being performed with profit and money making objective. So the business ethics to be followed should be of various kinds, but the main focus should be on the welfare of the society. The business ethics to be followed should be such that it should not go against the welfare and environment for the sake of profit making. The business ethics should also encourage the economic progress in the locality without hampering the values and norms of the society.

Historical Roots of Business Values

Consumption and economic growth are important for the profitability of corporations but it does not necessarily mean it promotes the abuse of workers and abnormal spending habits. The misconception about getting the public to have a consumer behavior that is out of bounds simply because the companies are advertising their goods is way too simplistic. No matter how much companies advertise and promote their goods to the public, the choice of not buying still lies within the person. The products are simply good and the purchasing power of the individual citizens are high enough that is why there are some people that are fond of excessive shopping and consumption of goods and services. This should not be a cause of concern too much since the person will be limited by the amount of money they earn in the first place. If they want to shop more then they will be forced to be more productive economically. This balances things out as it also acts like an automatic control when the spending habits of a person get too out of hand. If the person wants to consume more goods, they will have to work more or engage in productive business activities. Even if the behavior of the person gets out of hand and gets addicted to shopping, the price of the goods they have to buy will stop them if they are not economically productive.

The workers abusive treatment from their employers on the other hand stems from the personal values of the employers and not from the creation of the capitalist society. The greed that is inherently in the hearts of some employers is the true culprit and the one that must be eliminated in order to prevent workers from getting abused. It is very simplistic to say that the capitalist society is the sole and only reason for the abusive treatment that some workers get from their employers. There are still employers that treat their employees well and reward them fairly. The only reason why there are employees that are treated abusively is because their skills are not rare and somewhat of a commodity. Their skills are easily available for all employers to acquire. Their plentiful supply however can also be used to protect themselves. Since they are treated as cheap commodities, they can form a union in order to demand better treatment and higher wages than the employers are willing to give if they were to work alone for themselves. The solution is a simple matter of planning and cooperation. The connection between the abusive treatment and the practice of capitalism is not direct. It is also not useful to say that the capitalism ideals alone are the culprit behind the abusive actions of employers. The solution does not lie in abolishing the ideal itself. The ideal does not directly create the problem. It is the people who are looking to take any advantages for themselves that make any ideologies look bad.

Both the compulsive spending behavior and the abusive treatment of workers are the products of personal values and not capitalism directly itself. Capitalism may have provided the environment for shoppers to have lots of choices but there is no amount of advertisement that can force you to buy if you are a prudent buyer. This is the same with the creation of abusive worker systems. The employers might be a product of capitalism but the abuse can be stopped if the workers unite themselves and demand fair treatment using their numbers as a threat. Economic growth can be gained without sacrificing the lives of the workers that create the goods. Consumer spending and habit is entirely within the responsibility of the person and not the environment itself.

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The economic growth that is needed by the capitalist society can be achieved without the abuse that we are all know is associated with it. This problem is something that can be solved with the help of people involved in the society and not to rely on just individual actions.

Factories, Immigrants and Ideology

Many years ago, countries are bound by walls which usually prevent access of foreigners in an effort to keep their culture intact and the jobs available within the country were only offered to their citizens. However the world is evolving and the business world is changing with it. Many companies have discovered that diversity of employees is an asset. They have discovered the benefits that diverse personalities bring. With diverse personalities is the diversity of talents and capabilities which would be effective in improving productivity. By pushing for cultural diversity, they are also inviting knowledgeable people into their companies as well as creativity; both of which are for the company’s benefits.

Although companies may be one and willingly embrace the foreign workers, the variety of culture may also invite conflicts. Cultural differences may surface as one may see another person different from him. In an organization, cultural diversity may be an expansion of knowledge, talents, creativity and skills of the workforce. But with such diversity, conflicts may arise hence proper management of a diverse workforce is very important. Cultures are not haphazard collections of customs and beliefs. They are integrated, patterned systems not simply by their dominant economic activities and related social patterns but also by the sets of values, ideas, symbols and judgments. At work place, it also has its culture of doing things and all those working there must be able to embrace this culture the people themselves are from different cultures. Cultures trains people to share personal traits at work and this integrates each culture and helps to distinguish it from others. For instance, the work ethic and individualism are the core values that have integrated American culture for generations.

Immigrants and foreign workers are usually coming from the Third World Countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. They are usually met with oppositions from American citizens who are threatened by their presence. The America citizens are afraid that the immigrants will destroy the cultural values and moral fiber of the nation. People who immigrate to other countries to work have to adapt to the cultural differences and must fit themselves to the dominant culture. In work force with variety of culture, it is now considered an asset for the organization since along with their presence is broad range of view points and problem solving skills.

The presence of foreign workers in the United States is viewed with ambivalence by many Americans. Some sees it as a solution to the problems the workforce while others view it as a threat to the Americans. Business leaders however have another view because they are having huge profits when they employ foreign workers since these workers are willing on work on menial positions. For business leaders, it is an advantage not just for the profits but also for the total benefits they can get. Americans maybe talented, creative and intelligent yet when a company is considering the global market, it may as well consider the talents and the creativeness of the people around the world.

Critics of free enterprise

There are several related issues with the business ethics and its applications in reality by the corporate. There are ethical issues related to business, which directly affect the society. The marketing strategies that are followed by the company to promote their product should be truthful and honest so that people can get the exact information about the product and no fake ideas. The use of animals is also against ethics for product testing and other researches. The safety measures and precautions, which are followed by the authority for product designing, should also be handled carefully. There should be donations from the business for any good cause, which is for the welfare of the people. The business of selling addictive products is also a related issue, which points on the ethics of business. The trading of arms is also considered as unethical and is directly related to the welfare of the society.

There are also ethical issues, which arise from the practices in the industry and its structure. The customer treatment by a company for warranty and services can be considered as an important issue. The ethics of a company can be analyzed also with the number of minority workers or women positioned in high ranks of the company. In an economic crisis, the behavior or the loyalty of a company towards its workers also depicts the picture of business ethics followed in the company. There are also issues of child labor, working conditions, employment of handicaps or disabled. The major issue regarding the business ethics is the bribing nature of a company to secure a contract.

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There are some unethical practices from the business point of view regarding the marketing of products. The price of the products is not always clear and known to the public as it lacked clarity in advertising and marketing. The selling of products below the market price with loss in order to eliminate the competitors from the market is also a sign of unethical business. There are also some unethical selling activities by some companies which at first attracts the customers and then pressurize them to buy there product by various techniques. These type of selling activity helps the business to make money but and diverts the business from following the business ethics. There is also brand piracy and production of fake or imitated goods marketed by small companies, which are unethical and illegal. The packaging style is also copied of the branded products so that the customers are deceived and the fake products can be sold. There are also some unethical practices in the marketing and research of products and inside knowledge of the rival companies to increase the profits unethically.

The unethical practices does not end with marketing of products only, they are also directly used in selling of products. The products which are banned in home country are sold to foreign countries to generate profit. There are also products specially medicated products which have side effects but the information about these effects are omitted so that the sales volume is not hampered. There is also selling of unsafe products which were not properly tested. The size and quantity of products are also altered to mislead the customers, which is quite unethical

Personal values within the firm

The behavioral aspect of business in its daily proceedings is its business ethics and the social issues related to it are honesty, truthfulness, safety measure in product designing, animals use in testing of product, donations to good cause, selling of addictives, arms trading, etc. The practices in daily business proceedings also justifies the business ethics which is being followed like, customer treatment, number of minorities and women working in high ranks, loyalty to employees in different economic crisis, employment of disables, working condition and treatment of workers, bribe to secure contracts and tenders, child labor, etc. Good business ethics help a company to know the rights and wrong in the business and act accordingly.

Our aptitude to know what is right and what is wrong would judge our It is our beliefs on this subject that make up our ethics. And the best way to know what those beliefs are is to develop a personal code of ethics. My own code is one that defies definition by the standards of most of the well known ethical theories.It is through this kind of interconnection that moral dilemma can be retorted. Conspicuously, there is no specific rule that gives a clear definition of what is good and what is evil. This is because the rules, when properly applied to an ethical problem, will show the way to the accomplishment that is superior.

Ethical practices will not only safeguard a company’s reputation but also enable it to comfortably operate within the legal provisions an aspect that opens up other opportunities like the ability to secure acquisitions or obtain funding from financial institutions in case its own financial position is strained. Upholding ethical practices also ensures consumer protection as there certain companies that have falsely produced products of inferior standards in an effort to avoid costs and perhaps increase the marketability by dominating the market with variety.

Rebuilding Trust in Business

The business ethics, which are followed by the companies, should have focus on the welfare of the society and economic progress but in reality the businesses run with the profit-making objective without any intention of following any sort of ethics. In this competitive structure following business ethics firmly is very tough and if followed then it might led to a threat for the survival of the company. So, most of the companies carry their business with the moneymaking objective and they follow the path, which is best suited for their business growth. There are certain issues, which are against the ethics of business and should not be followed by the companies despite their profit generating abilities.

There are lots of instances we can see where we do not support the business policies which were practiced in modern time to run a business. From the above discussions we can see that there is doubt in the minds of a customer about the truth and honesty of the company whose product he is going to buy. This happens due to the lack of clarity in the features and prices during the marketing of products. They tend to highlight the positives and suppress the negatives. These create doubt in the minds of the customers about the company and its products. The usage of animals for various testing of products is also not supported by many. There is lack of safety precautions and measures, which cause accidents during the production process, which should be taken into account. At present it’s not possible for a company to follow all business ethics then it can’t survive the competition. So the ethics should be little flexible but they must be sensible enough not to do anything that’s against law. They should contribute and donate to good causes and welfare of the country. The business of addictives like tobacco, cigarettes are directly unethical as they does not do any good to the society but due to the high demand of these products many companies tend to do these type of businesses. So, the companies doing the business of addictives should also keep in mind that the statutory warning on these products should be highlighted for the awareness of common people who buy these products. The business of trading of arms is also considered partly as unethical owing to its violent use but it’s also a major tool in self-protection, which can’t be ignored.

The unethical issues, which are under the practices in industries, can be reconsidered and changed, like the treatment of customers regarding the warranty and service of the sold product, can be improved. The business authorities can take some ethical decisions like, recruiting minority section, disables and women in the high ranking positions of companies and provide a helping hand in their developments. During the financial or economic crisis, the loyalty shown by the employer to the employees is also considered ethical as the employees’ looks up to the behavior of the authority during difficult times. The main key factor, which is considered the most unethical feature in today’s business scenario, is bribing. Bribing helps in doing business smooth, fast, and securing any contract related to the business. It’s not only unethical but also increasing the rate of corruption in the society. Today bribe is needed no matter how small the work is and its main encouraging source is the unethical businesses, which are running in the society. There is also a major concern about child labor, which we find mainly in small business in rural part of the world. An ethical business should never allow and encourage child labor in society. There should be some concern shown by the business authorities to provide safe, durable and hygienic products to the customers despite their ethical or unethical strategies. Then only the socio-economic progress is possible.

Globalization and American Values

The materialization of business ethics is quite similar to that of other disciplines in management. The discipline of public relations for businesses emerged with the need of managing a positive image in front of the public; the discipline of human resource for a business activity came into force with the need of better management of human resources. Similarly, business ethics was needed as the companies wanted to have more guidance for their dealings without harming anyone.

Business ethics can be simplified as knowing what is right or wrong in a business place and act accordingly. There can be times when it is not possible to judge what is wrong or right for the future of business. Then some leaders may tend to take few decisions, which were not ethically right, but they have to keep in mind that the decisions should not be against humanity or welfare of the people. Just for the sake of running their business or for making profit, the leaders or the businesspersons can’t play with humanity. Thus, it can be said that the companies may not take all decisions according to ethics but their focus should be on the welfare of the pubic and not only on the profit making objective.

Organizations must create diverse cultures in their organizations so that employees will be in a position to understand and know what they are supposed to do and at what particular time. The organization that does not have its culture will not succeed because the employees will work the way they want and sometimes according to their own feelings and thoughts. This will bring a lot of misunderstanding in the organization and the staff will hurt each other because there is no organizational culture which guides. Although cultural rules people what to do and how to do it, people don’t always do what the rules say should be done. People use their culture actively and creatively, rather than blindly following its dictates. This is also applied at the work place, not all of them do as they are required. People are not passive beings who are doomed to follow the work culture like programmed robots. Instead people can learn, interpret, and manipulate the same rule in different ways.

Futures Business values and Sustainability

Every business wishes to continue being in business for as long as possible. The concept of sustainability therefore cannot be dispensed with if at all such a firm is very concerned about what is hidden in the darkness of tomorrow’s business darkness. At least what affirm can do is to protect what it is able to lay hands on. This is also very crucial and vital in the sense of the organization being socially responsible; a firm that puts the interests of the stakeholders first will not wish to see its customers or these stakeholders suffer in the present of contemplate that they will suffer in future simply because of what the firm has done today/doing presently. Therefore should claim to be socially responsible, they have to show their concern over their ability to continue supplying their customers with their product in the unforeseen future period.

A firm can move into sustainability using ethical values in very many approaches. However there are certain professionally recommended approaches that firms can apply. They depend on what the objective of the firm is. For our example, it is retail trade and retail trade is all about selling or offering goods/commodities or services to the final consumer. It therefore entails ensuring that a very good relationship with the customers is maintained and sustained. Otherwise the customers will be dissatisfied and they will seek better treatment elsewhere thus the firms will lose business. The retail sector is therefore bombarded with the force of ensuring that they approach the affair of sustainability from an all-inclusive point of view and from the widest perspective.

There are specific issues have to talk about sustainability in the retail sector; first, it is paramount to realize the pivotal position of customers/consumers and suppliers. Retailers are just links or middle men who just facilitate the movement of items from the supplier or wholesaler of producer to the final consumer. Therefore a very positive relationship has to be maintained between these three parties involved in handling the commodity. This therefore becomes that very first specific issue in sustainability of retail sector. These good relationships do not only benefit the customers nor suppliers alone but facilitates the retailer knowing the best approach to handle the involved stakeholders. The natured relationship will improve work conditions for the suppliers; it will increase ethical and environmental factors concerning seller-buyer relationships.

Secondly, these are the issue of selection of what to buy and sell and what not to. Something may be in high demand for example dogfish or palm oil, but these are commodities whose long term survival and existence be endangered, therefore the firm has to weigh the cost of future business losses against today’s meager profits. No matter how attractive venture/project may seem, the firm has to consider the effects of its acceptance or rejection of the environment, the impact it shall have created on other environmental variables and such like matters. If the environment is jeopardized, definitely the future profitability will also be badly affected and therefore this becomes an issue in retail business as it relates to sustainability.

The other issues that are also very vital concern the firm’s approach to matters concerning respect and interest of all partners, customers, suppliers and the wider community. This is very vital as respect and concern are what makes people feel appreciated. There are the issues of improving the environment to ensure that people are healthy, contribution to the society’s wellbeing, propagation of honesty and fairness among all stakeholders ensure that customers are maintained, fair treatment of employees, freshness of the products offered, safety of the products and provenance of the goods should also be considered. Partnership with both local and international partners in a campaign for sustainable trade in the globe is also very important.

Two major variables force organizations to more towards sustainability, the first one is the one is the laws and regulations that have been put in place to monitor business operations and the way organizations utilize the resources available. Secondly, the business world is very dynamic and d every business is trying to gain a competitive edge by being more socially responsible. Thus many firms have to look into the issue of sustainability of whatever they think if socially significant in order to attract and maintain customers with the mounting competition. The huge increase in imports, plus massive amounts of foreign investment meant that the firm had to face cut throat competition from everywhere in the world. This increasing internationalization of business demanded managers to have a global business perspective gained through experience, education, or both.

Works cited

Cavanagh, Gerald. American Business values: With international perspectives. New York: Prentice Hall, 2005

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