Ethics: Standards of Right and Wrong Behavior
Why is business ethics complicated? Because often stakeholders have different beliefs about how a business should enact values and ethics (McKee). Globalization is a large factor because often times companies do business in multiple countries where it is common to find that the values and ethics of these countries are in conflict. (McKee). In addition, there is a small line drawn between law and ethics and it is too easy to bypass laws making something legal although not making it ethical. For the purpose of this paper I have carefully selected three out of the four reasons to rationalize ethical behavior: the feeling that you will NOT be caught, the thinking that the behavior is not illegal; therefore it isn’t unethical, and the theory of “pluralistic evidence” which is the belief that if someone else is doing it and I don’t, then I will lose out.
“600M of Timberwolf security is what you sold… Boy that Timberwolf was one shitty deal… Our top priority is Timberwolf” (Inside Job) Senator Carl Levin, Chairmen read from emails exchanged from Goldman Sach’s sales team. Issuing the $600M isn’t unethical, but prioritizing it as a shitty deal is. The sales team never thought they were going to get caught because how would the client ever find out if what they were purchasing was being prioritized as a “shitty deal” or not. I believe the value used to rationalize this decision was based off of competition. This is confirmed when Lloyd Blanfein is asked by Sen. Tom Coburn, “Is it your understanding that your competitors were engaged in similar activities” and replied “yes, and to a greater extent than us in most cases” (Inside Job). By wanting to be the best in their competition the sales team knowingly undermined their client holding back valuable information.
“Do you believe that you have a duty to act in the best interest of your clients?” asked Senator Susan Collins.
“We have a duty to serve our clients by...