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This analytical treatise attempts to explicitly describe ethical belief and code which could be applied in the movie, The Firm in order to juggle between values and purposes in the process of applying ethical principles. Besides, the treatise explores the process of ethical decision making in relation to the above film.
Society and Principles
Business ethics are presented as influenced by internal and external factors which when improperly aligned, result in an ethical dilemma. The main contributory factors to ethical dilemmas in the business environment of the Bendini, Lambert, & Locke firm include personal feelings and thoughts that are improper, especially on self-concept, monetary gains, and encroachment of privacy. These should be controlled and aligned with the moral of the company as dictated by the work ethics act of the United States of America.
The ethical crimes committed by of the Bendini, Lambert, & Locke firm include conspiracy, securities fraud, false statement, blackmail and encroachment of the employees’ privacy. Mitch’s house and those of his fellow employee are bugged by the company against the right of privacy act.
Based on the code of ethics of the US, it is clear that the management of the Bendini, Lambert, & Locke firm breached all the ethical principles. They were involved in drug, murder, and conspiracy to fraud scandals besides failing to exercise professional due care and apt professional behavior. In addition, Mitch did not exercise integrity when revealing the secrets of his clients against the lawyer-client privacy ethics (Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrell 2011). This means that he lacked integrity and objectivity in representing his lawyers.
Ethics define the moral values which this employee failed to honor. As a whistle blower, the business ethics codes in the US guarantees protection. Mitch should have opted for this alternative upon knowing the unethical acts of the Bendini, Lambert, & Locke firm.
Unfortunately, he only resorted to this act as leverage and not because of moral values. For instance, it would be pragmatic to believe that “it can be rational to choose a profitable but unethical behavior as well as to choose a costly but ethical behavior” (Menestrel, 2002, p. 160).
The main persuasive element of this approach is to combine the two, the material and the ethical concerns, which may lead to the belief that any behavior consists of “a process and a consequence” (Menestrel, 2002, p. 160). In this way, a business has to adopt a model that involves both ethical and profit seeking behavior which may be called the optimal behavior (Castleberry, 2009). This approach would have controlled the Bendini, Lambert, & Locke firm to practice ethical and moral standards in doing business (Hausman, Doran and Pollack, 1993).
Ethical decision making
Mitch is faced with the dilemma of either whistle blowing the unethical activities of his employer or accepting the attractive financial rewards to sustain his family and cover up for his underprivileged background. The former option would give Mitch a deep satisfaction of doing what is ethically right besides security assurance by the government since there is an act of protection for people like him. The latter option, which Mitch apparently embraced, involved working in an environment with many ethical dilemmas (3M, 2013).
The process of ethical decision making is dependent on heuristic since it provides assumptions, integration of options, and ethical control. A decision environment often experiences dynamics and swings which create short and long term effect on chances of survival of more than one alternative to solve a problem (Graham, 2004).
When faced with a decision dilemma that requires critical assessments, it is important to resorts to analytical tools that facilitate competitive positioning advantage. Each option is assigned to a quadrant with predetermined response strategies and ‘follow-ups’ upon implementation (Hausman, Doran and Pollack, 1993). Before going ahead to choose one of the options as the final choice, the decision maker must undertake a cost-benefit analysis of that choice.
In the case of Mitch McDeere, he should consider the economic impact in order to make a socially responsible decision since it functions in a dichotomous path. There is a very thin line between the rationally correct, economically viable, and ethically correct decision (Vitell, Nwachukwu, and Barnes, 2003). Decision making in a business environment must be based on addressing all the above aspects and not just one of them. An ethical decision may incur short-term loss to a business, but would be profitable in the long run.
Through adopting the idealist approach in decision making, in Mitch’s position, I would settle for the settled for the former option to avoid a situation of ethical dilemma since it is in line with the moral codes.
In order to promote the ideals of positive business ethics, it is vital to develop a good organizational culture by fostering a strong alignment on the set path of achieving goals, missions and vision. This is achievable through adhering to the written rules of engagement, expected behavior, and accepting the repercussions on psychological tendency to fulfill selfish interests at the expense of company goals and objectives.
3M. (2013). Ethical Business Conduct Guidlines. Web.
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Castleberry, S. (2009). Equity, Justice and Fairness. Lecture presented at Carlson School of Management.
Graham, G. (2004). Eight Theories of Ethics . New York, NY: Routledge.
Hausman, M., Doran, L., & Pollack, S. (Producers), Rabe, D., Towne, R., & Rayfiel, D. (Writers), & Pollack, S. (Director). (1993). The Firm [Motion picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.
Menestrel, M. (2002). Economic rationality and ethical behaviour: ethical business between venality and sacrifice. Business Ethics: A European Review, 11(2), 157-166.
Vitell, S. J., Nwachukwu, S. L., & Barnes, J. H. (2003). The effects of culture on ethical decision-making: An application of Hofstede’s typology. Journal of Business Ethics 12(10), 753-760.