Ethics are a concept taking base primarily in general human moralities and the application of those rules and guidelines in a private and public environment. Ethics itself is a set of fair principles and laws that govern a just and civilized world. Sometimes, there are instances when government’s organizations and social institutions seem to steer away from moral and humane laws that are expected in a perfect situation.
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The same can be said about business ethic which refers to how people’s morals and fairness are used in agreements and decisions between companies and organizations worldwide. The main idea of a business ethic is that it closely correlates with the laws of society, and even though people’s kindness and respect are expected, in order for the companies and organizations to flourish, ethics is sometimes not the guideline.
A movie titled “John Q” is an example of the social policies that favor those with a great amount of resources and financial wealth. A father is faced with a heartbreaking decision of either letting his son die or getting the money any way possible. It is evident that the most ethical decision is to do anything possible to make sure that a child survives, but as shown, there are social problems in finding money quickly.
Since the family does not have a large sum of money and does not own their house, it becomes impossible to loan money anywhere. In addition, the insurance policy that John had was changed by his employer. This is an example of an ethical issue that is outrageous, as the person has devoted years of work and the company opts for a cheaper option that will make it more money.
The fact that this is done at any cost and no one really cares about the individual and their problems, is a major unethical event that takes place. Even though this sort of change might have been made illegally there are too many people who are involved in the scheme and their goal is the same—make more money. The hospital is another organization that is partly involved in immoral behavior. As not everyone has insurance, the hospital is unable to treat people who cannot pay.
It might seem that the only purpose of the hospital is to treat people and make them healthy, but it has become somewhat of a business where the richest people become the best clients. It is possible to understand that government has to spend money on the hospital and medical employees have to be paid high salary, as the education was expensive for them, but there are times when this should not matter and the morally right thing must be done. John is a loving father and he refuses “to let go” of hope and his son’s life (Burg, 2002).
In reality, it is made obvious that the policy makers, the organizations that cannot provide loans because of employment issues and bureaucratic frames, have pushed John to resort to the most extreme thing that could be done. Later, after he has taken some hostages and demanded for his son to be merely put on a list for a heart transfusion, a frank conversation sheds light on the real issue.
One of the young doctors describes a social system where there is cooperation between the insurance companies and the hospital. He states that the doctors are purposefully closing eyes on patients’ health issues who cannot provide money for treatment, so that more money is saved and then, the doctors receive large bonuses (Burg, 2002). In the end, the hospital did not lose much and a child was saved.
Of course, it could be assumed that someone else needed the heart and it is difficult to determine the value of one person’s life over another, but the person in most need should be helped first. John was ready to sacrifice his life for his son and this would be ethical from his point of view and any father. By the time the ordeal was over, he was acquitted of the charge of attempted murder but was still charged with kidnapping (Burg, 2002). Even though he had to serve time in jail, his conscience was clear and his son got a chance to live.
Another movie, titled “Wall Street” describes the life of stockbrokers and people who are involved in the buying and selling of company’s shares. Bud Fox is a young broker who wants to get to the top but cannot find a way to get past the wealthiest dealers and thus, is pressured to the bottom of the business. Ethics but more importantly the laws that are based on ethical behaviors are needed to regulate the actions of business to prevent illegal issues and chaos of anarchy.
This would be the correct and honest way to think of the business world, but the movie illustrates a much different reality. If a company is not limited in the way it earns its profits, the selfishness of the financial greed will cause to focus on making the most money the fastest without considering a sensitive balance between nature and ways that humans exploit it for personal gain.
Only by spying and deception Bud Fox is able to rise to the top and reach his dream. When Mr. Gekko offers Bud to spy on another man who is involved in the stock market business, the young broker seems hesitant. His morality is not yet corrupted and he is given an example of ethics when Mr. Gekko reminds him how he got a chance and where he got information about the Airline Company.
After some personal battle, Bud Fox says: “Alright Mr. Gekko, you got me” (Pressman, 1987). This represents not only a start of his career that will change his life in a major way, but also that his morality has been silenced and he “joined” those who do business by lying and destroying others. Mr. Gekko tells Bud that he has to lose all emotion to be successful in the business and that is what Bud does for some time.
They are both determined to become wealthier than they already are and ethical considerations stop to matter. Their one goal is to make money and the ways that this gets accomplished are not important. Their crime is not a direct one, as compared to stealing directly from a person or hurting someone physically, but the chain of events that they put into process, very well hurts many people.
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As it is unnoticeable, they are able to continue their work and acquire even more money. The movie ends by Bud Fox being arrested and this is the price he has to pay. He provides the authorities with evidence of Mr. Gekko’s dealings, redeeming himself in own eyes. The fact that he chose the right path and realized that it is better to be moral than unethical, proves that a person must go through suffering in order to learn true justice (Pressman, 1987).
When considering a work environment, either a business, a corporation or any other company, it is important to consider the moral attitude of the employees. People often find themselves in situations where they must determine what the best thing to do is. As every individual is different, their view of morality is somewhat different. There are many issues that arise when analyzing the relationship between personal gains and ethics.
Social ethics and virtue often relate to one thing, which is being respectful and honest towards others and the general society. There are universal laws, which guide people to be morally correct using rational thinking. Their reasons might be related to the reward of “a good feeling” after they commit a good deed. Or they might feel a moral obligation to help someone because they have the ability and ways to accomplish that.
For some people it becomes a lifelong quality and a part of their character. For operations management of any company or business, economical sustainability is one of the key components, as they have to calculate the future matters of the company and find ways to increase their prosperity, staying as ethical as possible in the process. They have to work on the assignment of duties, distribution of roles and responsibilities, and the resource and capacity management.
Most employers have a moral standard that they go by and enforce rules that do not permit employees to abuse their authority and connections. The federal statutes forbid any illegal activity in the corporate world but blue-collar crime still seeps through. The amounts of money that people manipulate are so great, it becomes easy to pay off a fine and risk getting caught for an action that will make enormous amounts of money (DesJardins, 2011).
According to Categorical Imperative and the views on ethics, people must do what is necessary in relation to the greater good. The wait times and money can be lost and gained, whereas people’s lives work only one way. People will always feel inconvenient due to the environmental changes and conditions that regulate existence but nothing is as precious as someone’s life. The ethical and moral codes set out by the government in a form of laws, reflect the general concepts of goodness and ethical attitude and behavior.
The duties and responsibilities are based on the moral codes which require respectful and equal treatment to all. These ethics reflect the qualities that every person possesses. But, the unfortunate fact is that there are circumstances when it is hard for people to be ethical or morally correct. This is why it is important to create a system that bases its laws and regulations on highest moral standards. Utilitarianism states that people must focus on the greater good for all people and maximize happiness in the process.
The most basic aspect is the utilization of the situation in such a way that everyone does not suffer and get the most out of actions of actors. The end results or consequences of actions are what matters, so people should make their selections very carefully. One of the most important criteria of utilitarianism is the balance between happiness and unhappiness, which is a concept of ethical and immoral behavior.
There is no doubt that there is a lot of unethical and immoral behavior in the world. Businesses and governments, as well as social organizations try to gain most by doing the least and ethics become distant. Often, there are consequences of such behaviors and people pay for being deceitful and immoral.
Burg, M. (Executive Producer). (2002). John Q. [DVD]. Los Angeles, CA: New Line Cinema.
DesJardins, J. (2011). An introduction to business ethics. 4th Ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Pressman, E. (Executive Producer). (1987). Wall Street. [DVD]. Los Angeles, CA: 20th Century Fox.