Business Ethics

Ardent scholars of religious history will realize that St. Augustine’s assertions concerning Christianity and business are contradictory to the message advanced by this book. For those who have not heard about the fifth century cleric, the author mentions him on several occasions, albeit with contempt.

This is because of his ideologies and the sentiments he espoused, terming business a sin and arguing that Christians should neither own nor run these ventures. As a result, he interrogates the credibility of this allegation and sets out to establish if a business venture can be operated successfully within parameters set be the Christian religion.

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The writer acknowledges that business operators are faced with unending challenges, most of which are controversial and may be contradictory to the core beliefs of Christianity. He cites the example of a business venture run by Christians that prioritized service instead of profits.

Fiscal uncertainties forced a merger with a similar minded firm, which in turn merged with another bigger establishment. The result was a clear contrast from the initial objectives of the business as operational principles were utterly overhauled (Chewning, Eby and Roels, 2010).

The writer attempts to address the issue of Christianity among business operators in capitalist societies. He cites the profit driven nature of this set up and the way it contradicts fundamental Christian beliefs of charity and sharing with the less fortunate. He argues that the nature of business is determined by the political and economic environment.

It is disappointing that he fails to advance this argument further and opts to draw conclusions from the bible that he feels address the issue conclusively. He concludes that people should discern the parameters of the socioeconomic system carefully and make decisions that will extol the Christian beliefs they profess (Chewney et al., 2010).

He further argues that accomplishments are not determined by the titles held by persons denoting the capacities in which they serve. He advocates for a different method of measuring success by establishing personal goals, as opposed to indiscriminate competition with rivals. He concludes that prosperity and profitability in business should not be equated to God’s approval and favor, rather it should be perceived as due reward for diligence and discipline in the course of running the business.

He supports this by citing that Christians should set realistic goals for themselves, which are easily attainable and will not tempt people to engage in sinful practices. He closes this argument by citing cases in the bible where Israelites underwent tribulations but still had God’s favor and protection with them, urging Christians to be patient at all times (Chewney et al., 2010).

A new concept is also introduced when he talks about having covenant agreements with employees as opposed to contractual agreements. This implies that employers should focus on what is fair and right when transacting with employees as well as clients. By doing this, all the necessary privileges will be accorded in right proportions to persons who deserve them, ensuring fairness.

Kindness should accompany justice at all times. All situations should be resolved with kindness, irrespective of the factors that initiated the occurrence. Disputes should be settled in the same matter in order to uphold decorum, hence efficiency at the workplace (Chewney et al., 2010).

Employers should exhibit humility when dealing with their juniors. This includes many acts, like giving positive rewards for negative outcomes. Drawing reference from the bible, the author supports this argument laying emphasis on civility when handling negative behavior in the workplace.

The management should be legitimately concerned about employee affairs and communicate their requirements clearly. He chides those with a tendency of participating in simplistic arguments, warning that correction should be administered fairly without bias.

By following these guidelines, the Christian entrepreneur identifies with God and His preferred way of doing things. This makes them competent stewards with the desired administration capacity, hence giving them an authentic identity and behavior fully representative of true Christian entrepreneurs (Chewney et al., 2010).

Reference

Chewning, R. C, Eby J. W. & Roels, S. J. (1992). Business Through the Eyes of Faith. Apollos .

Business Ethics

Outline

Memo
Facts
Positions of responsibility
Business and individual relationship
Clare’s authority
Issues
Clare’s offer
Ethical issues
Analysis
Ethical theories
Recommendations
For Henry

MEMO

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TO: Henry Carpenter, ABC, Inc. Manager

FROM: Clare Cook, XYZ, Inc. company representative

DATE: October 1, 2010

SUBJECT: Offering Material Assistance.

Having informed me in confidence about your son’s requirements to work on a project at school and your financial position, I have resolved to offer desirable assistance. I propose to send over to you a digital camera and color printer and charge only the company’s cost on the devices as per my company’s regulations.

My decision to take this action was after a detailed and careful consideration of the legal requirements, company laws, responsibilities, and obligations I am bound to while working with this company and decided to act in my capacity as our company’s representative.

In addition to that, I took this course of action bearing in mind the close working relationships between your company ABC Inc. and XYZ Inc., my cordial working relationship with you, information of your budgetary constraints you confided to me, and my knowledge about you.

I am entitled with the authority to act in the capacity as XYZ Inc. company representative to enhance client relationships as I deem it necessary.

Looking forward to improving our company’s working relationship with you and acceptance of the offer I am making to meet your son’s needs.

Facts

Both Henry and Clare hold positions of responsibility which come with business obligations and responsibilities. Henry is ABC Inc.’s marketing manager and Clare is XYZ Inc.’s representative .ABC deals in computer equipments and office supplies in the retail market.

XYZ sells new products to ABC Inc. Henry is responsibility for purchasing new products for ABC Inc. from Clare. There is a business relationship between Henry and Clare. Clare and Henry are single parents and do occasionally meet and spend a lot of time together.

Henry confides to Clare about the failure of his son’s school to give him prior information about his son’s projects and the requirements for the project. Henry discloses his budgetary information to Clare and the position that he could not afford to meet the expenses for a new digital camera and a color printer.

Due to their relationships, Clare offers to use her position as XYZ Inc.’s representative to give Henry her organization’s digital camera and a color printer. Clare clarifies to Henry that she had authority to act in that manner.

Issues

Should Henry accept Clare’s offer of the digital camera and color printer for his son for the sake of improving customer relationships? What could be the consequences of Clare’s actions of passing over company assets to Henry in relation to her position in the company she works for? What are the ethical considerations for Henry in accepting or rejecting Clare’s offer?

Should Clare have acted by providing Henry with his son’s requirements on private information?

Here, Henry is in an ethical dilemma to accept or to reject Clare’s offer of company property. On the other hand there is a direct conflict between Clare’s ethical considerations and her actions. Clare has to make a choice.

Legal Issue

What will be the legal implications on the part of Henry in accepting a camera and a color printer for his son and to Clare in providing that assistance in view of their positions?

Analysis

Utilitarianism

Henry’s dilemma could be solved using the utilitarian theory in decision making. The utilitarian theory combines both Hedonism and consequentialism. Hedonism draws on the extrinsic good or bad and the resulting pleasure or pain of one’s actions. Consequentialism draws on the consequences of one’s actions.

Henry has to evaluate the moral integrity of his decision in accepting or rejecting Clare’s offer and the consequences of his decision. Henry’s action not only could result in pain or pleasure to Himself, Clare, the companies they work for, but also to the business environment as a whole. Henry’s actions should reflect an upright, fair, and just person (Melden 120).

Under this theory, Clare has to critically consider the consequences of her actions and their impact on her job and the company she works for. Giving the color printer and digital camera may result in greater pleasure for Henry and his son, but if the action results in greater pain for her, she may not be justified to act in that manner.

Giving the color printer to Henry may result in greater pain if the company’s equipments are given to Henry on the basis of his relationships with Clare. That could have the possibility of generating distrust on the moral integrity of Henry and Clare. Henry could be viewed with distrust by accepting the offer if it causes pain to Clare such as getting reprimanded, creating a bad image, and damaging the company’s goodwill.

On the other hand, if Henry receives the color printer and digital camera, he has to evaluate the impact that action will have on his position and the relationship between him, Clare, and his company. Accepting the equipments may cause displeasure and be in direct conflict with his company’s laws.

Some of the consequences may include an undue influence by Clare on Henry for a good business relationship. Therefore, the act may not be moral.

Each act has some intrinsic good and bad. Clare and Henry have to carefully weigh the consequences of their actions to themselves and their respective companies of work and the moral justification of taking a course of action each chooses (Melden 105).

According to the theory, the utility of Henry’s and Clare’s actions should reflect a degree of moral integrity. Henry’s act of accepting the offer should purely reflect a utilitarian act evident of a just, fair, honest, caring, and trustworthy individual not to cause Clare pain. On the other hand, Clare should weigh her action in view of its consequences to herself, Henry, their respective companies, and the environment.

The Golden rule

According to Melden, the Golden rule lays emphasis on the need for individuals to do to others as they would like others to do to them (100). The reciprocity of this theory emphasizes on positive and passive forms, prohibitive passive forms, positive active forms, and the silver rule (Koons 1).

Fieser argues that this theory is very popular and traverses many cultures of the world (1).

If Clare decides to give Henry the equipments he mentioned to Henry, she could foster and enhance the working relationship that exists between her and Henry in addition to enhancing their own relationships. On the other hand, Henry should carefully weigh the kind of relationship between him and Clare and the effect of the choice of the action he should take.

Given Henry’s position, Clare is justified to act by giving him the color printer and the digital camera. However, Henry should evaluate the fact that if he were in the shoes of Clare, the moral values attached to his actions and their effects on Clare’s job, himself, and the companies they work for.

The golden rule lays emphasis on the reciprocity of actions by either party in an issue. Henry has to evaluate Clare’s actions by carefully identifying and determining if her action is simply reciprocating the business offer between both companies and his good relationship to her. On the other hand, Clare has to carefully evaluate if by doing Henry the act of giving him the digital camera and color printer, she and others are bound to gain from that act.

Kant’s “categorical imperative”

This theory focuses on the premise that each individual should act in a manner that one’s action becomes a universal law. The deontological theory has its foundation on the morality of duty. This raises the question on the morality of Henry and Clare’s actions. Moral duty is innate.

We have personal inclinations that are summed up in our raw desires and wants and our actions are enshrined in moral statements. The Act and rule imperatives significantly underpin the general form of this theory (Liuzzo and Anthony 23). The theory lays emphasis on the moral standing of actions.

Henry’s action could be moral and in a manner that it becomes universal because it is universally acceptable. However the benefits he is bound to gain by accepting Clare’s offer has to be carefully evaluated since his act may conflict with other universal values and beliefs. A universal act in this case is one that is acceptable to all and by all. Therefore, Henry’s act of accepting Clare’s offer should be evaluated against the fact of it becoming universally acceptable.

A universally accepted act should reflect fairness and justice on the part of both parties in view of the business, climate, industry, organizational, society, and personal levels. Henry’s act of accepting the offer should reflect fairness and integrity while Clare has to critically evaluate and distinguish between duty and inclination.

Henry has to evaluate the moral nature of his actions if he accepts these equipments by carefully weighing the resulting impact of the action on Clare, her employer, himself, and his employer. By accepting the color printer, Henry could be asserting the universal nature of his actions.

That implies Henry’s act of accepting these equipments is an act that can be duplicated elsewhere. However, careful consideration indicates that this action could look to the public eye as accepting an inducement and not a moral act. This could adversely affect the image of Henry’s company and be a disaster rather than a benefit.

Virtue ethics

According to Liuzzo and Anthony, this theory focuses on virtue as a trait that should be imbued in human beings (23). Every one runs away from vice but seeks virtue. Such a trait could be good for every person. The theory emphasizes on love, social feelings, and the quality of the relationship between people and the moral motivation for taking certain actions (Fieser 1).

Clare could act based on the love she has for Henry and the social feelings that are likely to be strengthened between Clare and Henry. Clare has strong feelings about Henry’s position and impelled by virtue that has been cultivated in her, she could be justified to give Henry the color printer and the digital camera for his son.

However, she has to carefully weigh if her virtuous deeds are in conflict with the company she works for. Different companies operate on different laws and their employees are bound by different legal requirements. Clare’s decision should also be evaluated for impartiality.

On the other hand, Henry should critically evaluate the motivating factor behind Clare’s offer not to lead to personal conflict and conflict of interest.

Recommendations

Henry should accept the color printer since the act could be ethically correct. In Henry’s view, accepting the digital camera and color printer could result in pleasure and could neither cause Clare nor the companies they work for any harm. Henry could be given these devices by charging some company fee. This could justify Henry’s moral integrity, trustworthiness, and fairness in accepting the offer since he could pay the fee.

The fee payable could alleviate any act of dishonesty in both Henry and Clare. Henry could need Clare to offer him assistance that she could have liked to be given were she in a similar situation. Such could be a universally acceptable act. In this case, this offer is virtuous, human, universal, and moral.

Accepting this offer on the basis of enhancing business relationships with a client and acting consistently with the laws of his employer could agreeably enhance working relationships and enhance the company’s image. However, Henry has to carefully weigh the company costs levied on the digital camera and color printer before accepting the offer.

Works Cited

Fieser, James. Business Ethics. 26 Sept. 2010.
http://www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/vita/research/Busbook.htm

Koons, Robert, C.The Problem of Evil. Preliminaries. The Virtual Office. University of Texas. 13 Jul. 2002. 26 Sept. 2010.
http://www.leaderu.com/offices/koons/docs/lec19.html

Liuzzo, Anthony & Anthony, Liuzzo. Essentials of Business Law. 7th ed. Harbor Town, New York. Career Education, 2009.

Melden, Abraham, I., Ethical Theories. 2nd ed. New York, Prentice-Hall Inc., 1950

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