Business Ethics can be Profitable

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Business and ethics almost sounds like an oxymoron. Corporations have the reputation of being ruthless and being all about the profit. To an extent this is perhaps true because a for-profit company's mission is to return a profit to its stakeholders. Although to another degree this is a stereotype because it doesn't mean that profits and ethics can't peacefully co-exist. There are many companies which are successful, profitable and ethical.

No business organization can run without profits. If there are no profits, the organization is either a charity or a failure. But how and how much a business organization makes its profits can always be subject to questioning from the point of view of ethics.

There is a saying that all is fair in war and love. In a similar way, there is a widespread perception that in business all is fair as long as profits are there. The purport of this proverb is that the money earned in business is not generally considered to be carrying any evil effect of how it was really got.

People want to feel that they can "trust" others. When someone walks into a store or a business, they want to feel like they aren't going to be cheated. Too often people hear horror stories about used-car salesmen, mechanics, lawyers, and contractors. Granted, it is unfair to stereotype those industries as a whole, but people do have some bad experiences and they want to avoid them in the future. Therefore, the business that has a good reputation for fair business may be the organization that succeeds in the long-term. Companies like Enron have made people all the more likely to seek out "reputable" companies.

A corporation's success today lies more in its intellectual and systems capabilities than in its physical assets. Managing human intellect and converting it into useful products and services is fast becoming the critical executive skill of the age. It is therefore surprising that so little attention has been given to that endeavor. I personally think that we have not seriously focused the need of human intellect but I also believe that we have not given the required attention to the knowledge workers' ethics that needs to be taken in consideration for productive output.

Whether independently owned with few employees or a global company employing hundreds of thousands, all businesses must realize the importance of business ethics, not only to the bottom line but to the health and longevity of the company in general. No company involved in unethical business practices on any level will survive. Getting by with something for a while is far different from getting away with it and history has shown us time and time again that those who engage in unethical behavior rarely come out unscathed. The people at failed, disgraced companies like Enron could offer stern warnings to any business that feels it is above ethics.

The final word on the issue of ethics and values is the bottom line. People want to do business with people and companies they trust-and without customers, no business can survive.

Feroz Ahmed Bawany goal is to increase my knowledge and to understand the only civilized creations of Almighty Lord are HUMAN. He is a regular contributer to TRCB.com.

 

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