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Ethical Decisions and Moral Standards in Business

Can one make an “ethical” decision that is at the same time “good” business? Why or why not? Explain your position.

In the business world, corporate leaders have put an effort in applying ethics for their professional obligations and personal activities. This situation has developed a circle of issues concerning the business decisions that organizations make, and whether they are ethical or not. The big question is whether an ethical decision can be made and at the same time have good business. Business ethics refers to the study of how corporate leaders, at all levels of an organization, come up with decisions and abide by them even in their lives with regard to a measure of right or wrong behavior. In the context of making ethical decisions, both positive and negative results can be obtained. For instance, in the case of Child World and Toys ‘R’ Us, there was an ethical decision, which was made but eventually it worked against the decision-makers.

It is not possible for one to make an ethical decision and at the same time make a good business just as experienced in the case of Child World and Toys ‘R’ Us. Several competitors are on the lookout for profiting from any ethical decision a business makes. The main aim of the business is to make profits and therefore if a business intends to achieve this goal it will have to involve unethical means. Ethical decisions will bind the business by the moral values of the people and require the business to live by the values. Good business only comes about when unethical decisions are in place and not ethical ones. This is evident in the case of Child World business, which made a moral decision to attract customers by offering their products at a low price and offering certificates where the buyers could obtain more goods at a lower price. In the end, a competitor Toys ‘R’ Us took advantage of the decision and bought more goods which they later on sold at a higher price bringing in more profit (Kuhn & Appel, 1997).

Should businesses be held morally accountable applying different standards than we use to assess others in society? Why or why not?

Businesses need to be held accountable for employing different standards in the way they run their businesses because this results in unfair competition. For any business market, it is important that the aspect of fair competition be maintained so that businesses can compete fairly irrespective of the size, time, and kind of products the businesses offer their consumers. In this sense, any business that goes against the set standards should be held accountable because the moral of a business is the responsibility of the business. When looking at the morals a business needs to adhere to, we focus on the set standards which every business is expected to abide, and coming up with different standards means introducing other morals. In the event these new standards do not comply with the morality of the set standards, it is only fair that the businesses be held responsible for their decisions. All businesses need to respect the set of moral standards in order to maintain a fair competition environment (Boatright, 2009).

Is it inherently unethical to make business decisions that add long-term value to the business and which do not violate the law or social convention? Why or why not? Explain your position.

Ethics is a very broad field and its meaning does vary whether in business or any other field. Ethics is just ethics whether we are referring to personal issues or business-related issues. Therefore, whether the business makes unethical decisions that violate or do not violate the law it will still be morally wrong. The main idea here is that making unethical decisions is not a recommended ideology in business and this is whether the decisions are violating the social conventions or not. All businesses need to stick to the making of ethical decisions irrespective of the impact the decisions will have on the law or social conventions of any community or society.

What alternatives to Home Depot’s action would you consider more morally appropriate in consideration of the operating situation they faced in which both the community and the business would be better served? Provide details.

The most notable alternative in regards to the Home Depot action would be to supply the plywood to retailers at a lower price or standard prices, which will ensure that no losses or profits are made at the end. By supplying low-cost plywood to retailers Home Depot will ensure that the retailers do not sell the materials to its customers at exorbitant prices just because of increased demand. Another alternative would be for Home Depot to increase its corporate social responsibility by providing its consumers with plywood at a subsidized rate while on the other hand selling to the retailing shops at a higher price.

Under what conditions could managers, acting entirely in support of the organization’s economic benefit, make a morally relevant decision? Provide details

For any business to start operations, they need to have objectives, which guide them in the operations and businesses. In the course of its operations, businesses tend to forget their objectives and end making decisions, which are not morally relevant. In this case, managers can make morally relevant decisions keeping in mind the organization’s economy under several conditions. When the managers stick to the objectives of the business, they will be making morally relevant decisions because the initial objectives usually have ethical values.

The main objective of any business is to make profits and, therefore, the managers need to find avenues, which will bring profits but also uphold the moral values of society. For instance, in the case of the Child World business, they made a decision to attract more customers, who would, in turn, bring in profits. This was by offering their customers discounts on any purchases they made and later on made profits out of the sales. As much as managers should make business decisions to support the economy of the business, it is also essential that they keep the moral standards of the society and ensure that their decisions are in line with the set moral standards.


Boatright, J. (2009). Ethics and the conduct of business (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall.

Kuhn, B., & Appel, M. (1997). Hardball. New York: U of Nebraska Press.

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