Every time you open the newspaper you find reports about controversies on business ethics of large corporate houses and even government organizations. Today, ethics seems less important than making profit, which is the ultimate goal all over the world. In this scenario a question raises its head with timidity: ‘is it not possible to make profit ethically?’
Ethics and profit – complementary or opposites
In certain countries ethics comes on a poor second when it comes to doing business successfully. “Successfully” here means generating large amounts of surplus. For this purpose the business houses need to expand their territory, coverage and products to capture large chunks of the market.
Creating a base for such activities can be done in two ways:
(1) go the hard way – advertise, consolidate, build brand and image in the national and international market segment you prefer. This involves money, effort and tremendous perseverance
(2) go the easy way – bribe your way through government and other corridors which would help you create a niche market almost overnight. Often the amount of money and efforts spent on bribes is less than
Which would be the best way, in your opinion? You would say, ‘the ethical way’, of course. But you would be amazed at how many would still go the other way. Why? Because, the keyword today is “results” and here “results” means profit. Corporate houses feel that their stakeholders would appreciate the fact that they generate wealth for them – by whichever means.
While it is true that the public does like a hike in the profits, the ‘by whichever means’ acceptability is debatable. If you go down to the grassroots, ethics is still an important threshold in the values of the common human being.
The general public still values basic business ethics more than profit, though globally the consumerism movement makes it seem otherwise. Ethics to most is synonymous with trust and truth without which no real value addition can be expected or enjoyed.
I hope this helps