“Business ethics examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and business organizations as a whole” (“Business Ethics,” 2010). In today’s society, many people pursue careers in businesses for different reasons such as convenience, salary, and many other reasons that do not include ethics. Unfortunately, people’s professional values are no longer mirroring their personal values. (Tinkler, 2005).
Individuals are giving up everything to move ahead professionally and as a result, businesses are becoming worse at upholding their ethical standards because they are able to get away with it.
Poor Human Resources practices are one example of how today’s businesses affect our community. Many businesses fail to create a system where there is strong communication between the employees and human resources. As a result, employees are unable to voice their complaints to the HR department and the HR department is unaware of problems within the company.
Employees must clearly know what is expected of them, and when they are not delivering they must be addressed. This type of system is beneficial to the company because once flaws are addressed, then the company can come up with solutions to better manage the business. When businesses take the time to discuss projects and explain their goals to the employees, the employees feel as though they have a special place within the company and they become motivated.
Keeping the employees updated on tasks, the more they become invested in the project. Also, many times companies fail to recognize and reward their employee’s achievements and this creates a bitter relationship between the employees and the company; human beings become motivated to do well through positive reinforcement. Favoritism also becomes a huge problem between human resources and the employees; if all employees are treated fairly then everyone will put in the effort to perform well and stay loyal to the company.
Human Resources play one of the largest roles in ethics within businesses; many of the reasons employees stay loyal to companies are because of the solid structure of the human resources department. In addition to keeping the employees of a business happy, in order to uphold business ethics, customers must also trust and respect a business. Unethical practices in marketing and products are another reason today’s businesses are negatively affecting our community.
In today’s society, consumers no longer have any trust in businesses. Businesses are encouraging their employees to aggressively approach customers by using deceptive advertising; customers are often times mislead through copied packaging styles, high pressure selling, and “bait and switch” selling; these techniques entail targeting groups such as the elderly and finding ways to attract customers and eventually convincing them to purchase an item they can not afford and do not need.
Businesses are also hiding information from consumers; unsafe products are on the market and side effects are not stated, as well as information on animal testing. Products are also inaccurately tested. “NBC Los Angeles uncovered a scheme at local Jiffy Lube stores where customers were charged for repairs that were never done” (Grover, 2008). The scandal was caught on video tape and the public were alarmed and angry; people were going in for services that were never being done. After this story was uncovered to the public, it created anger, confusion, and worst of all trust was lost.
Situations like these force consumers to go to competitors and lose faith in businesses altogether. Our last ethical issue in today’s business environment are unfair labor practices. Innocent children and families are working in terrible conditions and making hardly any money so that American companies can manufacture more for less money. Consumers now, need to research companies that they are used to purchasing from because companies are hiding these facts from the government since it is illegal.
This practice is beyond unethical, it is cruel. Coca Cola is guilty of this practice; “From 5,000 to 30,000 Salvadorian children, some as young as eight years old, are working in El Salvador’s sugarcane plantations where injuries, particularly severe cuts, are common, according to the report” (Lobe, 2010). It is unbelievable to watch companies that make billions of dollars, become so greedy that they are willing to practice such unethical ways of labor.
Unfortunately, external social pressures sometimes influence business ethics; echnology, competition, and changing social attitudes put pressure on businesses. As a result, they lean towards decisions that are unethical and beneficial to the business. As individuals become aware of some of the unethical practices many businesses are taking part in, they will hopefully choose more wisely which companies they would like to work for. Our choices affect society as a whole, and as long as we ignore our own personal virtues and values, we will continue to support businesses that are unethical.