The current business environment that’s unfolding, following the political culture and influence used by some business people, has made many people think that sound ethical principles are fine in theory but that they can’t really be applied in practice. In the current social environment there are many who would argue that a genuine commitment to ethics is unrealistic. The modern accepted way of doing business recognizes bribes as necessary to facilitate business. To take undue advantage of public monies is considered a smart business move. The modern way of doing business is to take from the poor and give to the rich. Transfer of public/ government resources to political allies is coated with complex business structuring that does not make commercial sense is the fad.
Unauthorized gifts, conflicts of interest, fudging expense claims, etc are becoming accepted norms. Simply, it’s a concept that if everybody is doing the wrong thing, that becomes the norm. If you go to pump petrol to the bunk, the attendant is willing to give a blank invoice or an overstated invoice to help you claim more. If you travel by taxi, the driver is willing to write a higher amount on the bill to help your cause. They see these events as being helpful to another human being rather than assisting in unethical practices.
The fact that there are bigger unethical and fraudulent acts reported in the media, makes people consider these small acts as immaterial and tolerable.
In a dog eat dog world, people at the lower level of the social status may say that it allows for the survival of the fittest and social rebalancing. Wrongdoing in some government corporations are justified by shop floor people with a comment that “compared to what the big people are syphoning our misdeeds are nothing.” Those of us who are serious about the need to make ethical considerations an explicit concern in our daily lives must face up to this challenge. Can you compete in the market if its not a level playing field?
Given the changing state of the business community, will a commitment to business ethics make sense? Considering the legal and law and order situation prevalent in our society, the answer may weigh more in the negative. Therefore, many of the monitoring regulatory branches of the government need to change to a level to drag our society back to the days of being concerned to others, being sustainable and to a possibility of leading an ethical life. Is this a dream?