Ethics in Business: Being Ethical or just Making Money: A Case Study of Toyota Recalls Essay

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Details: essay question: As a manager is it important to be ethical or is it really just important to focus on making money for the firm? And if so why, or why not?



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Ethics refer to a philosophical school of thought that depicts what is right or wrong. Morality refers to a set of standards and principles determined by a code of conduct in a certain philosophical or business context. Values on the other hand refer to absolute or relative assumptions attached to an ethical action. In the business context, the term refers to the school of thought that guides decision-making and policies, and depicts what is right or wrong in a business context. Business ethics touch on all business entities like employees, stakeholders, and employers; it is dedicated customer satisfaction, product quality, and social responsibility. Managers who make decisions for purposes of building power, wealth, or reputation are devoid of ethics and their fundamental philosophy hinders any ethical objectivity (Ferrel, 2010). In this paper, I present the ethical dilemma at Toyota Motor Company whereby business ethics were compromised, losses incurred, and reputation lost from what was merely a mechanical mistake.


Benefits of Ethics in Business


There are several benefits that ascribe to being ethical and practicing social responsibility. One of the benefits of being an ethical business is the fact that ethical businesses are able to attract and retain investors, customers, and employees. Investors find peace of mind when they realize that they have invested in a company that operates in an ethical and responsible manner; investors need to have their money being spent in a manner that concurs with their own moral standing. Employees feel comfortable and motivated at the realization that their actions do not permit the proliferation of unethical practices. Failing to be a good employer may push away good staff, and reduces the likelihood of attracting good starters; this undermines performance, increases costs, and reduces efficiency.  Customers on the other hand find delight in the knowledge that they are buying products from a company that sources labor and materials in an ethical manner. Being unethical means that an organization loses its competitive advantages; market share is lost, popularity shrinks, and revenues are reduced. Ethics in an organization also boost morale and organizational culture; staff at a high-integrity and socially responsible organization are less prone to dissatisfaction, stress, and attrition, and thus are happy and more productive. Ethical organizations also benefit since they are less likely to face legal tussles. All companies are expected to abide to their industrial code of ethics; unethical organizations find themselves in legal problems that cost enormously. Finally, ethical companies are able to earn reputation. Even in the wake of scandals and controversies, an ethical company knows how to deal with them openly, honestly, and quickly. A reputable organization is able to achieve its goals but once reputation is lost, it is extremely hard to rebuild (Ferrell, 2010).


Ethical Decision Making Process

For companies to balance between ethics and profits and maximize profits, it needs a robust ethical strategy. The ethical decision making process is a crucial tool that can help managers and other stakeholders get the best out of ethical issues (Martocchio & Liao, 2009, 223).

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