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A Newsweek article on business ethics concludes, "Even in today's complex world,...

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cdeeneedham | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted September 15, 2013 at 11:16 PM via web

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A Newsweek article on business ethics concludes, "Even in today's complex world, knowing what's right is comparatively easy.  It's doing what's right that's hard."  Explain why this statement may be true in modern corporate decision making.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 15, 2013 at 11:27 PM (Answer #1)

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It seems likely that this has always been true.  However, it may be even truer in today’s business environment.

It is likely that this statement is accurate when it says that knowing what is right is easy.  In most cases, it is easy to know when you are cheating or when you are deceiving someone in order to gain an advantage for yourself.  There is not that much in the way of gray areas in such cases.

But the problem comes when you have to force yourself to do the right thing.  We now that we, as individuals, have a hard time making ourselves do the right thing when the wrong thing is more beneficial to us.  The same is true for the people who make decisions for companies.  It would be very hard to knowingly choose to take an action that is ethically right, but which will hurt your business.  This is particularly true today because the business environment is so very competitive.  In today’s globalized world, all firms have to compete as hard as they can to get ahead.  In this sort of an environment, it would be even harder to do the right thing given that doing so might well lead to the failure of your company.  

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