Is Business Ethics Vanishing
Are there in this world businessmen adhering to l values in the transaction of business? At a time globalization is moving at a rapid pace erosion in ethics is also rearing its ugly head everywhere. Unethical practices prevailing in one part of the world get transmitted to another part easily. Either no lesson is leant for corrective action or the nefarious/shameful practices are imbibed and this goes on .It subscribes to the belief that business has become synonymous with duplicity and deceit. Enron and Anderson revealed how mega corporate frauds are encouraged and executed. The result is business catastrophe. The business community globally should think over these setbacks and find out a lasting solution for restoring credibility in their operations and philosophies. If this is not done the incentive for upholding ethical values in business will dwindle. Firms strictly following a code of ethics will be at a serious disadvantage and they will pull down their shutters due to inability to face unhealthy competition.
Many firms strive hard to make quick money and to earn name and fame. They adopt unethical practices to boost their business temporarily. While they rise sky high they also crash land with a greater velocity making recovery impossible. Millions of shareholders lose, financiers incur heavy loss and society is impoverished.
The promoters lack basic qualities like honesty, integrity, and respect for facts, and cordiality in relations, concern for right accounting practices. Products of poor or substandard quality are produced and distributed. Extortionate price is charged. Advertisements endorsing excellence of the product are grossly exaggerated-. Delivery schedules are not observed. There is a decline in the performance level. . Delivery schedules are not observed. False accounts give a distorted picture of finances and profits mislead shareholders and the public. Excessive prices are charged. They include many hidden costs. This is true in the case of services. Recruitment practices smack of unfairness in terms of salary fixation. Cash payments are demanded for posting. Government regulations are violated. Pollution control measures are not implemented in the case of food products, pharmaceuticals and chemical products. Measures for employee health and safety are inadequate and protective measures are absent.
Many firms want to secure orders by bribing. This assumes huge proportions boosting up the cost of services. They collude with key officials to gain entry for their products at the cost of quality and competitive advantage. The result is consumer tragedy. The consumer is compelled to bear the brunt of this abominable approach. There are cases of meeting demands of corrupt elements in the government. Additional cost is incurred in various ways and the opportunity for supplying the product at a lower price to the customers is lost.
Take the case of a Revenue Service official with “elastic conscience”. He identifies a few rich taxpayers, meets them offering illegal concessions and relaxations. In return he demands services and perquisites, which involve substantial cost for the tax assesses. The latter by force cook up the accounts. When such accounts are presented the profit in the balance sheet dips and sometimes this becomes a loss. To window dress the balance sheet the company cooks up the figures resorting to unethical practices. One interesting case relates to a public limited company. It wanted to accommodate the funeral expenses of one of its directors in company account. It included $10000 under the head Packing and Forwarding. It was accepted. The deceased was probably packed and forwarded to heaven or to hell as the case may be! In another case a company paid a hefty bribe of $20000 to a government official. This could not be shown in the accounts statement as bribe. The management included it under the head business promotion expenses. This was disallowed. Actually it was given to the tax department in return for a promise of a lower assessment of tax. The company wanted to be honest but the tax official demanded it. So the company had to succumb and devise ingenious ways of accounting the expenses. There are innumerable instances of diluting ethics. The corrupt practices initiated at one end whether it is on the part of the officials or the companies, set in motion a chain of actions involving and breeding unethical practices. By imbibing a value system in the organizations and in government, such unethical practices can be reduced if not done away with. It is the responsibility of every citizen to make an earnest effort to imbibe and introduce a value system, which will promote business ethics .Let us all make a sincere effort. towards this laudable goal.