Upadhyay & Singh’s (2010) article entitled “In Favour of Ethics in Business: The Linkage between Ethical Behaviour and Performance”, is a refreshing article that inspires people to bring back integrity to businesses that are faltering in ethics.
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Stakeholders of this article include people involved in business – managers, employees, staff, customers and beneficiaries of corporate social responsibility projects. Generally, everybody can relate to the issues raised by the article.
The article mentions Lamb et al.’s (2004) definition of ethics as the ‘moral principles or values that generally govern the conduct of an individual or a group’. (Upadhyay & Singh, 2010, p.10). Presumably, such principles include not only the welfare of the management and staff of corporations but of the general public as well.
The authors believe that ethical principles of corporations are based on their choices of the laws they follow, the economic and social issues they choose to deal with and the balance between the self-interests of the managerial staff and the interests of the whole company and its stakeholders (Upadhyay & Singh, 2010).
The article discussed how businesses can practice their high principles and perform altruistic projects while staying on track with the production of profits. For some, it can be a dilemma because of the main reason why they established their business in the first place, which is to reap profits. Still, what is more important is ensuring that in pursuing profits, no wrong is done against anyone or anything.
This includes maintaining transparency in their books, paying the right taxes, rendering high quality service with the aim of customer satisfaction, keeping employees motivated and treated with fairness and contributing to worthy causes, among others. However, the reality is that most businesses are guilty of some ‘short-cuts’ that they take from their ethical principles and add to their profits.
Basically, under the guise of security, it is greed that dictates them to break their integrity. Unethical behaviour most likely brings more damage to the company by losing the trust of their customers.
For example, the article mentioned Shell Gas Company’s loss of its market share in Germany in 1995 when consumers found out about its intention to dispose Brent Spar oil in the North Sea, an act that would harm the environment (Cogman and Oppenheim, 2002).
On the other hand, Starbucks Coffee, stays true to its commitment to the environment by reducing deforestation and thus, preserving wildlife (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2005). This has gained them more patronage from their environment-conscious customers.
Applying the learning I have derived from the article, I believe that keeping my own integrity and faithfulness to my ethical principles will guide me in becoming successful in both my personal and professional life. That means I would choose to work in a company that prioritizes ethics over profits.
A company with high principles because it is capable of generating confidence in their workers and customers, attract high calibre people and establish more productive and profitable relationships (Upadhyay & Singh, 2010). If I will be given the chance to run my own business, my leadership would be committed to upholding ethical principles that will not only spread goodness to others, but make profit through honest means.
As a leader, I can anticipate challenges to sustaining this vision, but being steadfast in my commitment and having the right people who share the same values with me to work with, I am sure I will overcome them with success.
Cogman, D. and Oppenheim, J.M. (2002) Controversy Incorporated, The Mckinsey Quarterly, 4,57–65.
Lamb, C.W. Jr., Hair, J.F. Hair and McDaniel, C. (2004) Marketing, Cincinnati: South- Western College Publishing.
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Starbucks Coffee Company (2005) Starbucks corporate social responsibility, Retrieved from https://www.starbucks.com/about-us
Upadhyay, Y. & Singh, S.K. (2010) In favour of ethics in business: The linkage between ethical behaviour and performance, Journal of Human Values, 16 (9).