Unethical Practices In Business

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Business Ethics

Law extends over several different spheres in the normal everyday life. Whether it is torts, criminal, administrative, business or just the common law, it applies to every corner of the society. The observance of these laws guarantees a smooth sailing and dealings in the society, ensuring that equality is held and maintained by everyone in the society. A community without laws is a doomed society since it cannot ensure harmonious living and working, and as such is destined to be a failed society if everyone is allowed to do as they wish. As such the importance of law and order cannot be overstated in any sense of the word. The observance of laws run the society and as such should be maintained by every person living or working in that environment.

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The Ethics in the Business World for Today and Tomorrow, 2018 is an article that speaks of the importance of laws in the volatile law environment. The article emphasizes the importance of ethical behavior by companies and individuals in the business world. When dealing with consumers and customers in general, the article points out the importance of establishing trust with them to ensure the continuity of the business. A business that develops mistrust with the intended customer is one doomed to fail. The ethics include such observation as fairness in competition, with compromise arising from pressure to meet objectives and deadlines among other. Environmental responsibilities as observed in the business environment also constitute ethics in business according to the article. Business ethics also extend to keeping promises, open communication, supporting employees and passing information.

Business ethics as we know is a part of the laws of the society in which the business carries out its operations and drive the continuity of the society in several ways if observed. However, not all the entities that carry out their businesses in the manner considered lawfully ethical in the society they are involved… A company that hides crucial information that relates to their product from their customers and which may affect them and which they are entitled to would be liable for committing economic crimes. An example is a company that manufactures or sells harmful products such as tobacco or alcohol without giving a warning of their effects and the recommended consumption levels. Such a company would be liable for withholding information and could be sued in a court of law. One prime example is the case of McCabe vs British American Tobacco, 2001, where a woman dying of Lung cancer sued the tobacco company for withholding information about the harms of smoking. She had been a smoker since the age of 12, at a time when tobacco companies did not educate its consumers about the dangers of smoking while advertising their products. This was unethical practice by the tobacco companies and which lead to the death of many.  It is for this reason that such companies are mandated by law to print warnings about the substances they are selling so as to abdicate itself from responsibility in case harm comes to the consumer (“Attachment 16.1 McCabe – Tobacco In Australia”, 2018).

A company that promotes or engages in unfair practices to gain an advantage over competitors is similarly guilty of unethical practices in business. Take a company that engages in corruption and fraudulent means to gain a competitive edge over other similar companies bidding for tenders for example or selling shares. By aiding and abetting corruption and bribery, they are engaging in unethical business practices and risk serious repercussions if they are discovered by the authorities. Honesty and customer value is a crucial virtue in business. In Skilling v. the United States, 561 U.S. 358 (2010), the CEO of Enron company, Mr. Jeffrey Skilling was found guilty of fraud and unethical business practices in the manner in which the company treated its customers, clients, and shareholders. The company manipulated its audit documents to deceive the shareholders and clients, a scheme that ended up costing the shareholders Billions of money while the managers siphoned off large amounts of money from the company. The top officials were later charged for their fraudulent dealings after the company collapsed (Li, 2010).

Unethical practices in business exist on a wide range of manners. Competition in the world of business might drive the participants to engage in unethical practices for various reasons such as the aim to outdo the others and gain an unfair competitive edge. It however important to maintain ethics in any business dealings as the outcomes of such unethical practices might be too catastrophic and affect more than just the companies or individuals involved, but also innocent people with no direct association with the involved parties. In the case of Enron Company LTD for example, millions of innocent investors were swindled of their investments and some ended up even being homeless in the streets. The impact of the scandal on the stock market also affected other companies which recorded losses due to the loss of public trust. It is, therefore, crucial that one measures the consequence of their actions before engaging in unethical business practices.

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