Tag: Ethics

7-Eleven, Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on – corporate ethics #order

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7-Eleven. Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on ‘corporate ethics’

Professor of Management and Organization Studies, Macquarie University

Disclosure statement

Carl Rhodes does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

The Conversation’s partners

The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.

Republish this article

We believe in the free flow of information. We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print.

Chairman and major shareholder of 7-Eleven Russ Withers sits in a Senate Committee hearing in Melbourne. Julian Smith/AAP

There is perhaps no phrase more hackneyed in the corporate world than: “good ethics is good business”. Against the image of the ruthless business baron who will stop at nothing in the pursuit of wealth and power, the slogan tells us there is no friction between being good and being successful.

As luck should have it (for corporations that is) it is argued organisations can stand up and be righteous about their do-gooding, and this will actually lead to the achievement of self-interested business results. The cake can be had and eaten.

But does this ethical catch phrase really hold sway in the corporate world? Events this September suggest not.

The month of the corporate scandal

September 2015 was mired in corporate scandal. German car manufacturer Volkswagen was raked over the coals for installing software in its cars that ensured it falsely passed emission tests. Eleven million cars were involved over a period of seven years. VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned over the affair and now faces possible criminal charges .

American corporation Turing Pharmaceuticals was publicly vilified for its predatory pricing when it raised the price of the drug Daraprim by 4000%. This is a drug used to treat infections associated with HIV and AIDS. Turing’s CEO Martin Shkreli was described by the Washington Post as “the most hated man in America”.

In Australia trouble arrived at convenience store chain 7-Eleven when the ABC’s documentary series Four Corners revealed its use of exploitative and illegal work practices to reduce its labour costs. Employees were being paid less than half the legal minimum wage. Young and foreign workers were especially targeted. The scandal saw the resignations of 7-Eleven’s chairman Russ Withers, and its CEO Warren Wilmot.

Bad ethics is good business

Each of these scandals has been scrutinised in terms of business ethics. We are not talking here about contentious and nuanced debates about the nature of morality. In these cases the ethical issues relate to cheating, lying, deception, law breaking, exploitation, and merciless profiteering. As far as any common understanding of ethics is concerned these things are on the far side of the thick and grey line that separates right from wrong.

What do these cases have in common? Each one suggests there was an ethos in place in these corporations that held that “bad ethics is good business”. Seven years of highly orchestrated cheating at VW meant increased sales. In 2009 VW became the world’s biggest car manufacturer .

Institutionalised wage fraud and labour exploitation at 7-Eleven kept store costs down, increasing profits both for franchisees and (especially) for the parent company. 7-Eleven has twice been names Australia’s “franchisor of the year”. Price gouging at Turing meant a drug listed on The World Health Organization’s essential medicines list could bolster the company’s profits by exploiting the sick and vulnerable.

Just don’t get caught

The “bad ethics is good business” approach was going well for these businesses until they got caught. These three cases have triggered debates still raging in all sectors of society. Heads have rolled and bottom lines are jeopardised.

Does this really confirm that “bad ethics is bad business”? Of course not. There is no doubt many other corporations are profiting handsomely from deceit, lies, fraud and exploitation. The scandals of September 2015 show that “bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught”.

It’s not just about not getting caught. It is also about the political, legal, social and economic implications of being found out. In the cases of VW, 7-Eleven and Turing there has been a massive public and media outcry about their reprehensible and selfish behaviour.

Bringing these corporations to justice was not the work of one heroic individual, nor the result of government action. It was a collective effort that involved NGOs, scientists, academics, politicians, the media and the general public. This was a victory of civil society and democratic dissent.

So, we can reformulate our proposal: “Bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught … and as long as you aren’t the subject of a public outcry”.

Democratic business ethics

When corporations speak of business ethics their idea is that they can keep it all in house. The ethics of business is largely seen as a matter of corporate self-regulation so that pesky outsiders won’t stick their noses into corporate affairs. The September scandals suggest an entirely different ethics.

If we want ethics in business, what we need is more corporations being caught and more public outcry. For business ethics to be effective they must be pushed onto corporations against their will. Business ethics is democratic, not corporate.

What we can learn from the business events of September is that ethics cannot be left to corporations themselves. Business ethics requires a vigilant democracy where the public and its institutions will hold corporations to account for their actions.

Business ethics, to borrow a phrase, is about keeping the bastards honest.


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Journal of Business Ethics #business #names


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Journal of Business Ethics

ISSN: 0167-4544 (Print) 1573-0697 (Online)

Description

The Journal of Business Ethics publishes only original articles from a wide variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives concerning ethical issues related to business that bring something new or unique to the discourse in their field. Contributors examine moral aspects of systems of production, consumption, marketing, advertising, social and economic accounting, labor relations, public relations and organizational behavior. In order to promote a dialogue between the various interested groups as much as possible, papers are presented in a style relatively free of specialist jargon.

From its inception the Journal has aimed to improve the human condition by providing a public forum for discussion and debate about ethical issues related to business.

The style and level of dialogue involve all who are interested in business ethics – the business community, universities, government agencies and consumer groups.

FT 50 – This journal is one of the 50 journals used by the Financial Times in compiling the prestigious Business School research rank

Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports® Ranking by Category

– Ethics 8/52
– Business 47/120

Latest Articles

  • Impact Factor 1.837
  • Available 1982 – 2016
  • Volumes 137
  • Issues 668
  • Articles 7,517
  • Open Access 111 Articles

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Business ethics #business #contracts


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Archives

Business ethics

I think being ethical would be an objective of most business orgnizations. It is undeniable that some firms may hold the idea that making profit is the most important goal, in this case they could sometime being unethical like giving workers very low wages or produce a lot of pollution. In this way, although the company may get high profit in a short period of time, thier reputation will be really bad and consumers might stop buying their products in the future.

Anglo American has recognised the importance of taking social responsibilty. I think this will be a opportunity of them. In my own prospective, if one company can not only obey the law but also treat most stakeholders equally, they will finally obtain a lot of benefits. For instance, if Anglo American have wonderful working conditions for their employees, they will easily recruit new workers will good skills due to their good reputation. If company can pay supplier on time they may easily to get a discount in the future.

Promise not break the law is just a really basic regulation for business today. Taking social responsibility and being ethical are become increasingly important for most company. Although there is no doubt that the cost of business will rise when they choose to being ethical, they will benefit from that in the near future.

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Business ethics #starting #a #new #business


#business ethics

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Archives

Business ethics

I think being ethical would be an objective of most business orgnizations. It is undeniable that some firms may hold the idea that making profit is the most important goal, in this case they could sometime being unethical like giving workers very low wages or produce a lot of pollution. In this way, although the company may get high profit in a short period of time, thier reputation will be really bad and consumers might stop buying their products in the future.

Anglo American has recognised the importance of taking social responsibilty. I think this will be a opportunity of them. In my own prospective, if one company can not only obey the law but also treat most stakeholders equally, they will finally obtain a lot of benefits. For instance, if Anglo American have wonderful working conditions for their employees, they will easily recruit new workers will good skills due to their good reputation. If company can pay supplier on time they may easily to get a discount in the future.

Promise not break the law is just a really basic regulation for business today. Taking social responsibility and being ethical are become increasingly important for most company. Although there is no doubt that the cost of business will rise when they choose to being ethical, they will benefit from that in the near future.

Post navigation

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories


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Journal of Business Ethics on JSTOR #business #listing


#business articles 2010

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Journal of Business Ethics

Coverage: 1982-2012 (Vol. 1, No. 1 – Vol. 111, No. 4)

1982-2012 – Journal of Business Ethics

A title history is the publication history of a journal and includes a listing of the family of related journals. The most common relationship is to a previous and/or continuing title, where a journal continues publishing with a change to its official title. Other common relationships include a journal that is a supplement to another journal, a journal that is absorbed into another journal, a journal that splits into two or more new journals, or two or more journals that merge to form a new journal. For each of these related journals, the title history lists the dates published.

Journal of Business Ethics

Description: The Journal of Business Ethics publishes original articles from a wide variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives concerning ethical issues related to business. Since its initiation in 1980, the editors have encouraged the broadest possible scope. The term ‘business’ is understood in a wide sense to include all systems involved in the exchange of goods and services, while ‘ethics’ is circumscribed as all human action aimed at securing a good life. Systems of production, consumption, marketing, advertising, social and economic accounting, labour relations, public relations and organisational behaviour are analysed from a moral viewpoint. The style and level of dialogue involve all who are interested in business ethics – the business community, universities, government agencies and consumer groups.

Speculative philosophy as well as reports of empirical research are welcomed. In order to promote a dialogue between the various interested groups as much as possible, papers are presented in a style relatively free of specialist jargon.

Coverage: 1982-2012 (Vol. 1, No. 1 – Vol. 111, No. 4)

The “moving wall” represents the time period between the last issue available in JSTOR and the most recently published issue of a journal. Moving walls are generally represented in years. In rare instances, a publisher has elected to have a “zero” moving wall, so their current issues are available in JSTOR shortly after publication.
Note: In calculating the moving wall, the current year is not counted.
For example, if the current year is 2008 and a journal has a 5 year moving wall, articles from the year 2002 are available.

Terms Related to the Moving WallFixed walls: Journals with no new volumes being added to the archive. Absorbed: Journals that are combined with another title. Complete: Journals that are no longer published or that have been combined with another title.

Subjects: Business & Economics, Business, Philosophy, Humanities


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Marketing fees paid to Avvo violate New Jersey lawyer conduct rules, ethics opinion says

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‘Marketing fees’ paid to Avvo violate New Jersey lawyer conduct rules, ethics opinion says

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  • Lawyers in New Jersey can’t participate in client-linking services offered by Avvo because of ethics issues stemming from the company’s “marketing fee,” according to a joint ethics opinion by three New Jersey Supreme Court committees.

    The fee paid to the company violates the ban on lawyer-referral payments and the ban on sharing fees with nonlawyers, the June 21 opinion said. The New Jersey Law Journal (sub. req.) has a story.

    Two other services linking clients to lawyers, LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, appear to be offering legal services plans that would pass muster under those ethics rules if they were registered with the courts’ administrative office, as required by such rules, the opinion said.

    The ethics opinion found that none of the companies interfered with the independent professional judgment of participating lawyers, and no violation of lawyer trust account regulations by Avvo s practice of holding fees until legal services are performed.

    The opinion was issued by the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, the Committee on Attorney Advertising and the Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law. The New Jersey Bar Association had sought the ethics opinion, according to a press release .

    The opinion describes the services offered by three companies websites.

    Avvo offers two legal services products through its website: Avvo Advisor and Avvo Legal Services. Consumers who use Avvo Advisor pay a flat fee for a 15-minute phone conversation with a lawyer, while consumers who use Avvo Legal Services purchase specific services, such as an uncontested divorce, for a flat fee.

    Avvo places the flat fee into the lawyer’s bank account, then withdraws a “marketing fee.” The ethics opinion said the marketing fee is an impermissible referral fee, rather than a fee for the cost of advertising, as well as an impermissible shared fee.

    The opinion cited ethics opinions in Ohio, South Carolina and Pennsylvania that found marketing fees charged by “Avvo-type companies” were improper referral fees or constituted impermissible fee sharing.

    Consumers who use LegalZoom’s Business Advantage Pro and Legal Advantage Plus pay a flat monthly fee for legal advice. Users can then purchase additional services from participating lawyers at a discounted rate. LegalZoom retains the monthly subscription fees.

    Consumers who use Rocket Lawyer’s legal services plan pay a flat fee for limited legal advice on document-related matters and a free 30-minute lawyer consultation. Rocket Lawyer keeps the subscription fees, and participating lawyers offer legal services at discounted rates.

    Avvo’s chief legal officer, Josh King, told the New Jersey Law Journal that Avvo is happy the legal opinion found the company doesn’t interfere with lawyers’ professional judgment. But Avvo is “disappointed that the committees focused solely on mechanistic application of the rules rather than what the law requires: consumer protection and respect for the First Amendment,” he said.

    “Avvo is attempting to address the pressing need for greater consumer access to justice, and we will continue to do so despite this advisory opinion” he said.


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    Business Ethics & Corporate Values #business #ethics, #corporate #values, #sustainable #business #model #


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    At Marriott, how we do business is as important as the business we do. Integrity and ethical behavior have been and continue to be the cornerstone of our company. J.W. Marriott, Jr. Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board, recently stated “We welcome the tremendous responsibility as the world’s largest hotel company to be a good global steward, providing new opportunities for our associates and building the economic strength of the communities we call home.”

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    Best Available Rate Guarantee assures you receive the best rates when you book directly with us. If you find a lower publicly available rate within 24 hours of booking, we will match that rate plus give you 25% off the lower rate, subject to guarantee terms and exclusions. Guarantee does not apply to Ritz-Carlton Montreal, The Ritz London, Ritz-Carlton Residences®, and Starwood-Branded Hotels, including Four Points Hotels, Sheraton Hotels, Aloft Hotels, W Hotels, Le Meridien Hotels, Luxury Collection Hotels, Element Hotels, Westin Hotels, St. Regis Hotels, Tribute Portfolio Hotels and Design Hotels. Marriott Rewards® and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® members (“Rewards Members”) who book rooms through a Marriott® Direct Booking Channel, authorized travel agents or select corporate travel partners (“Eligible Channels”) at hotels that participate in Marriott Rewards® and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards loyalty programs will receive an exclusive, preferred rate (“Marriott Rewards Member Rate”). Member Rates are available globally at all hotels that participate in Marriott Rewards, excluding hotels in Mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Exclusions apply. See our Terms Conditions for additional details related to our Best Available Rate Guarantee and Marriott Rewards Member Rate. Hotels shown on Marriott.com may be operated under a license from Marriott International, Inc. or one of its affiliates.

    © 1996 – 2017 Marriott International, Inc. All rights reserved. Marriott proprietary information


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    7-Eleven, Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on – corporate ethics #sample

    #business ethics articles

    #

    7-Eleven. Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on ‘corporate ethics’

    Professor of Management and Organization Studies, Macquarie University

    Disclosure statement

    Carl Rhodes does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

    The Conversation’s partners

    The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.

    Republish this article

    We believe in the free flow of information. We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print.

    Chairman and major shareholder of 7-Eleven Russ Withers sits in a Senate Committee hearing in Melbourne. Julian Smith/AAP

    There is perhaps no phrase more hackneyed in the corporate world than: “good ethics is good business”. Against the image of the ruthless business baron who will stop at nothing in the pursuit of wealth and power, the slogan tells us there is no friction between being good and being successful.

    As luck should have it (for corporations that is) it is argued organisations can stand up and be righteous about their do-gooding, and this will actually lead to the achievement of self-interested business results. The cake can be had and eaten.

    But does this ethical catch phrase really hold sway in the corporate world? Events this September suggest not.

    The month of the corporate scandal

    September 2015 was mired in corporate scandal. German car manufacturer Volkswagen was raked over the coals for installing software in its cars that ensured it falsely passed emission tests. Eleven million cars were involved over a period of seven years. VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned over the affair and now faces possible criminal charges .

    American corporation Turing Pharmaceuticals was publicly vilified for its predatory pricing when it raised the price of the drug Daraprim by 4000%. This is a drug used to treat infections associated with HIV and AIDS. Turing’s CEO Martin Shkreli was described by the Washington Post as “the most hated man in America”.

    In Australia trouble arrived at convenience store chain 7-Eleven when the ABC’s documentary series Four Corners revealed its use of exploitative and illegal work practices to reduce its labour costs. Employees were being paid less than half the legal minimum wage. Young and foreign workers were especially targeted. The scandal saw the resignations of 7-Eleven’s chairman Russ Withers, and its CEO Warren Wilmot.

    Bad ethics is good business

    Each of these scandals has been scrutinised in terms of business ethics. We are not talking here about contentious and nuanced debates about the nature of morality. In these cases the ethical issues relate to cheating, lying, deception, law breaking, exploitation, and merciless profiteering. As far as any common understanding of ethics is concerned these things are on the far side of the thick and grey line that separates right from wrong.

    What do these cases have in common? Each one suggests there was an ethos in place in these corporations that held that “bad ethics is good business”. Seven years of highly orchestrated cheating at VW meant increased sales. In 2009 VW became the world’s biggest car manufacturer .

    Institutionalised wage fraud and labour exploitation at 7-Eleven kept store costs down, increasing profits both for franchisees and (especially) for the parent company. 7-Eleven has twice been names Australia’s “franchisor of the year”. Price gouging at Turing meant a drug listed on The World Health Organization’s essential medicines list could bolster the company’s profits by exploiting the sick and vulnerable.

    Just don’t get caught

    The “bad ethics is good business” approach was going well for these businesses until they got caught. These three cases have triggered debates still raging in all sectors of society. Heads have rolled and bottom lines are jeopardised.

    Does this really confirm that “bad ethics is bad business”? Of course not. There is no doubt many other corporations are profiting handsomely from deceit, lies, fraud and exploitation. The scandals of September 2015 show that “bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught”.

    It’s not just about not getting caught. It is also about the political, legal, social and economic implications of being found out. In the cases of VW, 7-Eleven and Turing there has been a massive public and media outcry about their reprehensible and selfish behaviour.

    Bringing these corporations to justice was not the work of one heroic individual, nor the result of government action. It was a collective effort that involved NGOs, scientists, academics, politicians, the media and the general public. This was a victory of civil society and democratic dissent.

    So, we can reformulate our proposal: “Bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught … and as long as you aren’t the subject of a public outcry”.

    Democratic business ethics

    When corporations speak of business ethics their idea is that they can keep it all in house. The ethics of business is largely seen as a matter of corporate self-regulation so that pesky outsiders won’t stick their noses into corporate affairs. The September scandals suggest an entirely different ethics.

    If we want ethics in business, what we need is more corporations being caught and more public outcry. For business ethics to be effective they must be pushed onto corporations against their will. Business ethics is democratic, not corporate.

    What we can learn from the business events of September is that ethics cannot be left to corporations themselves. Business ethics requires a vigilant democracy where the public and its institutions will hold corporations to account for their actions.

    Business ethics, to borrow a phrase, is about keeping the bastards honest.


    Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Journal of Business Ethics #find #business


    #business ethics

    #

    Journal of Business Ethics

    ISSN: 0167-4544 (Print) 1573-0697 (Online)

    Description

    The Journal of Business Ethics publishes only original articles from a wide variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives concerning ethical issues related to business that bring something new or unique to the discourse in their field. Contributors examine moral aspects of systems of production, consumption, marketing, advertising, social and economic accounting, labor relations, public relations and organizational behavior. In order to promote a dialogue between the various interested groups as much as possible, papers are presented in a style relatively free of specialist jargon.

    From its inception the Journal has aimed to improve the human condition by providing a public forum for discussion and debate about ethical issues related to business.

    The style and level of dialogue involve all who are interested in business ethics – the business community, universities, government agencies and consumer groups.

    FT 50 – This journal is one of the 50 journals used by the Financial Times in compiling the prestigious Business School research rank

    Thomson Reuters Journal Citation Reports® Ranking by Category

    – Ethics 8/52
    – Business 47/120

    Latest Articles

    • Impact Factor 1.837
    • Available 1982 – 2016
    • Volumes 137
    • Issues 668
    • Articles 7,517
    • Open Access 111 Articles

    Tags : , , ,

    7-Eleven, Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on – corporate ethics #best

    #business ethics articles

    #

    7-Eleven. Volkswagen cases show why we should push back on ‘corporate ethics’

    Professor of Management and Organization Studies, Macquarie University

    Disclosure statement

    Carl Rhodes does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

    The Conversation’s partners

    The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.

    Republish this article

    We believe in the free flow of information. We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives licence, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print.

    Chairman and major shareholder of 7-Eleven Russ Withers sits in a Senate Committee hearing in Melbourne. Julian Smith/AAP

    There is perhaps no phrase more hackneyed in the corporate world than: “good ethics is good business”. Against the image of the ruthless business baron who will stop at nothing in the pursuit of wealth and power, the slogan tells us there is no friction between being good and being successful.

    As luck should have it (for corporations that is) it is argued organisations can stand up and be righteous about their do-gooding, and this will actually lead to the achievement of self-interested business results. The cake can be had and eaten.

    But does this ethical catch phrase really hold sway in the corporate world? Events this September suggest not.

    The month of the corporate scandal

    September 2015 was mired in corporate scandal. German car manufacturer Volkswagen was raked over the coals for installing software in its cars that ensured it falsely passed emission tests. Eleven million cars were involved over a period of seven years. VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned over the affair and now faces possible criminal charges .

    American corporation Turing Pharmaceuticals was publicly vilified for its predatory pricing when it raised the price of the drug Daraprim by 4000%. This is a drug used to treat infections associated with HIV and AIDS. Turing’s CEO Martin Shkreli was described by the Washington Post as “the most hated man in America”.

    In Australia trouble arrived at convenience store chain 7-Eleven when the ABC’s documentary series Four Corners revealed its use of exploitative and illegal work practices to reduce its labour costs. Employees were being paid less than half the legal minimum wage. Young and foreign workers were especially targeted. The scandal saw the resignations of 7-Eleven’s chairman Russ Withers, and its CEO Warren Wilmot.

    Bad ethics is good business

    Each of these scandals has been scrutinised in terms of business ethics. We are not talking here about contentious and nuanced debates about the nature of morality. In these cases the ethical issues relate to cheating, lying, deception, law breaking, exploitation, and merciless profiteering. As far as any common understanding of ethics is concerned these things are on the far side of the thick and grey line that separates right from wrong.

    What do these cases have in common? Each one suggests there was an ethos in place in these corporations that held that “bad ethics is good business”. Seven years of highly orchestrated cheating at VW meant increased sales. In 2009 VW became the world’s biggest car manufacturer .

    Institutionalised wage fraud and labour exploitation at 7-Eleven kept store costs down, increasing profits both for franchisees and (especially) for the parent company. 7-Eleven has twice been names Australia’s “franchisor of the year”. Price gouging at Turing meant a drug listed on The World Health Organization’s essential medicines list could bolster the company’s profits by exploiting the sick and vulnerable.

    Just don’t get caught

    The “bad ethics is good business” approach was going well for these businesses until they got caught. These three cases have triggered debates still raging in all sectors of society. Heads have rolled and bottom lines are jeopardised.

    Does this really confirm that “bad ethics is bad business”? Of course not. There is no doubt many other corporations are profiting handsomely from deceit, lies, fraud and exploitation. The scandals of September 2015 show that “bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught”.

    It’s not just about not getting caught. It is also about the political, legal, social and economic implications of being found out. In the cases of VW, 7-Eleven and Turing there has been a massive public and media outcry about their reprehensible and selfish behaviour.

    Bringing these corporations to justice was not the work of one heroic individual, nor the result of government action. It was a collective effort that involved NGOs, scientists, academics, politicians, the media and the general public. This was a victory of civil society and democratic dissent.

    So, we can reformulate our proposal: “Bad ethics is good business … unless you get caught … and as long as you aren’t the subject of a public outcry”.

    Democratic business ethics

    When corporations speak of business ethics their idea is that they can keep it all in house. The ethics of business is largely seen as a matter of corporate self-regulation so that pesky outsiders won’t stick their noses into corporate affairs. The September scandals suggest an entirely different ethics.

    If we want ethics in business, what we need is more corporations being caught and more public outcry. For business ethics to be effective they must be pushed onto corporations against their will. Business ethics is democratic, not corporate.

    What we can learn from the business events of September is that ethics cannot be left to corporations themselves. Business ethics requires a vigilant democracy where the public and its institutions will hold corporations to account for their actions.

    Business ethics, to borrow a phrase, is about keeping the bastards honest.


    Tags : , , , , , , , , , , , ,