Marlene Grimes 12:00am – H73 Manage Discussion Entry
The Relationship between Ethics and Business
Marlene Y. Grimes
St. Thomas University
The relationship between ethics and business can be very complex yet debatable at the
same time as to what is ethically moral and immoral. Ethics refers to the study of moral
principles or values that determine whether actions are right or wrong and outcomes as good or
bad (McShane and Von Glinow, 2010). Although businesses today strive to have that advantage
over their competitors while keeping finances at the forefront of their minds, many also make
every effort to maintain their integrity and self-respect in the eyes of their consumers, vendors
and employees. However, many business struggle to do what is ethically right to stay ahead.
Some businesses feel that there is no need to be ethical as long as they are doing well
financially; their behaviors although unethical are not illegal. According to Milton Friedman,
â€œThe social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. The sole task is to maximize
profit for the company, subject to the limits of law and â€œrules of the gameâ€ that ensure â€œopen and
free competition without deception or fraudâ€ (Milton Friedman, 1970). So if businesses are
following the law, should they be exempt from following what everyday people may see as
unethical behavior? Should they be allowed to run their business the way they want to run their
Four years ago I found myself in the middle of an ethical decision in which I was not the
final decision maker. As part of a very competitive private catholic school district where
â€œrecruitingâ€ of 8th grade athletes is not allowed, the competition at the administrative level
between schools has become ruthless. 20 years ago the focus was on enrolling top academic
students that were athletes as well. In todayâ€™s society, the focus is on the top athlete first
because those athletes are the ones that will fill the seats at sporting events, bringing
money, championships and most importantly keeping those top athletes away from the
competitors. When the opportunity came about 4 years ago to meet with eight potential
8th graders and their parents at the residence of one of the potential students, although illegal and
unethical, the administration didnâ€™t give it a second thought to send me to this location. As
a result, seven of the eight students enrolled. Today, three of the eight are the top basketball
guards in South Jersey leading the team through an undefeated season. Many would assume that
a catholic run organization would have very high ethical standards but this becomes obsolete
when the competitive business aspect arises and the organization must do everything they can to
stay one step ahead of their competitors.
Ethics and business go hand in hand, and should not be separated. The businesses that do
what is right will prosper in the long run by keeping employees happy while maintaining their
respect, keeping the companyâ€™s reputation at a high standard and still able to turn a profit.
After all, the right thing is not always the easy thing.
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