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It is worth noting that business ethics and relations presuppose the existence and adherence to a set of rules based on common human values, which are understood and supported by the members of the organization and its partners. Notably, business ethics is based on respect for the interests of both key stakeholders of the organization and society as well. Also, ethics involve a refusal to use dishonest methods in the struggle for a spot in the market. However, unethical behavior is not always considered illegal, which gives latitude to executing misleading practices in pursuit of profit. The purpose of this paper is to review the case study and provide arguments to support the position that the conduct employed by the used-textbook store is unethical.
The core of the situation lies in the fact that the unethical behavior was two-sided. On the one hand, the store was selling textbooks that were not intended for further distribution even though they have purchased them from book-buyers. On the other hand, they would not be able to repurchase and then resell the books if professors did not sell the copies provided to them in the first place. Nonetheless, companies and organizations have the liability to ensure corporate social responsibility, which should be based on the commonly accepted norms.
From that perspective, it is reasonable to assume that the bookstore did not practice socially responsible conduct because it made their employees cover the words indicating that the textbooks were, in fact, the same copies. Therefore, by covering these words, the organization was indirectly evidencing that it comprehended that these actions were irresponsible and unethical and tried to hide it. Furthermore, such business conduct resulted in another violation of social responsibility.
To be more precise, customers were unaware that they were purchasing sample copies that were not intended for selling; thus, the bookstore was misleading its buyers, which undermined the core of business ethics, the notion of social liability, and violated the law on consumer protection.
Also, teachers are participants in the educational process, and they should comply with the corporate culture, which, in turn, presupposes ethical relations with people and ethical treatment of objects in their use. By selling free samples, they misled the service providers and initiated further unethical activities. To overcome this issue, publishing companies should place the particular emphasis on the prohibition of unauthorized selling and state that, if someone notices such an occurrence, he or she should immediately contact the publisher to prevent the unethical practice from repetition.
The unfair business practice that I have faced was connected to a decision of one pharmaceutical company, which has raised the price for a drug from 18$ to 750$ per pill. The company bought all the rights for selling and manufacturing this drug, and there were no generic medicines to substitute it. As my uncle could not afford to buy one pill for 750$ (although, he had to take it every day to prevent developing a dangerous disease), he had to stop taking his medication. Even though such a business decision was legal, it was unethical since it has put thousands of people in a life-threatening condition while the essence of the healthcare industry is to protect people from such situations.
Therefore, it can be concluded that it is not always possible to determine whether certain business practices are ethical or not. Nevertheless, if the decision made by a company is misleading, puts other people in danger, or violates their rights, such practice should be considered unethical since it violates the concept of social responsibility. Nonetheless, companies often resort to such strategies since unethical cannot be equaled with illegal.