How important are business ethics?


As seen in the current series of The Apprentice, business does not always involve a high standard of business ethics! However, we believe that a fundamental part of good business lies in the fair and ethical practice of business across the board. Without a sense of right and wrong, companies hardly ever succeed in the long term as they cannot build relationships of trust with any other corporations, employees or the customers.

All entrepreneurs have to work with other people, and this will only work if both sides follow an appropriate moral code allowing them to establish and maintain a relationship. Business ethics specifically involves negotiation skills and results in ‘win-win’ scenarios; in which both companies are satisfied with the outcome. This is extremely important when building up contacts for the future, for example if you build a good relationship with suppliers in which you get a discounted price per item for a very large order quantity, both sides will be happy with the arrangement and it is mutually profitable. If business ethics were to be ignored, the approach of the company would be to push for the maximum quantity at the lowest possible price: an act that would certainly make the supplier unlikely to renew the deal. This would actually result in a bigger loss for the company than if the first route was taken, as although they would achieve a cheaper price in the first year, they would have difficulty securing a repeat in the following year. This example shows that business ethics is mutually beneficial and can result in long-standing business arrangements that can make a company very successful and result in high returns year-on-year.

In most entrepreneurial education schemes and business degrees, business training includes an education into the world of business ethics. This encourages young entrepreneurs to have the right attitudes for success in business, and ensures that they make friends instead of enemies in the business world. Other important aspects of business ethics include environmental and social concerns, which can add substantially to company image and can dramatically increase popularity. Everyone has their own moral code, and it is important to follow it while trying to succeed in business. Accepting bribes or negotiating unfairly will not pay in the long-term and can result in a negative company image. Many companies have fallen after a deal turned sour or scandals were revealed!

Although The Apprentice is one of the most popular programmes about business and entrepreneurship on television, it does not always accurately portray the world of business. Many of the competitors on the show appear to have little or no ethical values; however, you will find in the real world that corporate ethics are vital to the long term success of any company.

Tags: business ethics, business training, The Apprentice

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