Responseto the Video by Bill Baker
BillBake presents a compelling discussion regarding business ethics on avideo titled “Business Ethics in the 21stCentury” at the Columbia University Business School. Bill opens hisdiscussion by indicating that some people consider Business Ethics asan oxymoron. In perspective, such people believe that businessprosperity cannot be achieved while still upholding ethical conduct.This argument is fundamentally flawed because Bill argues stronglythat some businesses are doing well and doing good things in equalmeasures. As a result, it cannot be disputed that the business ethicsand business prosperity are simultaneously achievable. According toBill, businesses that uphold ethics while still making profit arekeen on taking care of the society. In response to this position,corporate social responsibility has been created to achieve societalconnection. As a result, arguing that businesses cannot thrive withethics is completely out of order bearing in mind that such functionshave been developed over time and worked for some entities. In otherwords, categorizing business ethics as an oxymoron could only be anexcuse forged for the purpose of sanctifying greedy and corruptivebehavior.
Billproceeds to make an argument that people must bring good businesspractices and character into the market place. This argument is notonly valid, but it also brings on a very broad understanding ofbusiness as a social construct. In business, people have to interactwith their clients, suppliers, and distributors among others.Although these individuals are in business, they are also humanbeings. They are sensitive to interpersonal relations and thetreatment they receive from the businessperson. In that light,therefore, the level ethical behavior portrayed by the businesspersondetermines whether the individuals will be willing to operate withhim or her again (Ali, Ramly & Chai 37).As a result, it is correct for Bill to make it mandatory that allbusinesspersons should portray character and good business practices.Actually, Bill leads by example when he publicizes the names of thepeople that funded the video production. The publication of the namesis an ethical action of transparency makes it possible to determinewhether there are vested interests in the production of the video ornot.
Havingwatched the section regarding the enrolment of students in businessand social enterprise courses, it became evident that students areincreasingly warming up to social welfare. Ray Horton indicates thatstudents have shown increased interest in making the world a betterplace beside having the urge to make money. The enhanced interest insocial responsibility is evidenced by the increased coursescategorized under social enterprise program in Columbia University.Besides the opinions by Horton, Bill George argues that thecontemporary business arena has given rise to a new generation ofleaders. The modern leaders understand the need to harness socialenterprise and ethics in the process of creating a long-term businesschain. Aynsley Toole is a perfect example of student who hasundergone an MBA and developed the urge to make the world a betterplace. She reveals that her passion for clean energy and sustainableenvironment, especially in developing countries, has been enhancedsince joining the university. As such, the increased need for socialenterprise programs and growth of socially-oriented leaders is anindication that business ethics are becoming fundamentally vitalrequirements in this field. This realization merges perfectly withthe argument made earlier by Baker mandating all businesspeople toshow good character and business practices at work. Importantly,since it is clear that courses in business ethics are helping toinstill a sense of social responsibility on the part of student, itis very important for universities and colleges to emphasize on theseprograms. Indeed, the development of business and operational ethicsshould not start at the university or college levels. Instead,children should be guided on how to harness responsibility from theirchildhood at kindergarten and elementary levels. In the same light,companies should also develop programs that provide opportunities forstudents and employees to learn about social responsibilities thatharness their ethical orientation. The president of GE AssetManagement, Jay Ireland, presents a perfect example in regard to theefforts that companies should make. These efforts imply thatcompanies should not only concentrate on harnessing ethics withintheir organizational culture but also assist in the development ofnew generations that treasure business ethics.
Perhapsthe most passionate exemplification of ethics in business waspresented by the Group Chief Executive Office of Unilever known asPatrick Cescau. He indicates that one of the company’s majorobjectives is to make Corporate Social Responsibility a centralcomponent of which lies at the heart of the business. In response, itis important that all business leaders take heed of this and developprograms that touch the lives of the societies in which they operate.He proceeds to indicate that a product must not only meet thefunctional needs of the customer but also the emotional aspects.Critically, this position indicates that a business should think ofthe client not just as a customer but also a human being or a privatecitizen. The broad consideration helps to create emotional connectionbetween the brand/product and the client (Boaks &Levine 49). As such, thebusiness achieves the required profitability levels while stilltaking care of the customer’s social needs. With the aboveobservations and lessons drawn from the video, it is fair to say thatBusiness Ethics is a reality of the modern world that every businessmust take seriously. Any of those persons who may consider it as anoxymoron or a nonissue might lose their competitive advantage.Clearly, the main factor of competition in the 21stcentury is the extent to which a business entity takes care of theclient’s emotional and social needs.
Responseto the Video by Catharyn Baird
CatarynBaird presents an in-depth discussion on ethics titled “Ethics forPeople on the Move” at the TED talks. The first realization made byBaird in regard to ethics is the fact that, even as an adult, shedoes not always know the right thing to do. In response to thisobservation, employees at work get themselves in critical dilemmas.In these situations, it is usually difficult to identify the rightaction because the dilemmas come in different forms. In other words,the situation that occurs today is completely different from the onethat happens. As a result, even if Baird attempts to provide apreconceived template on how to deal with these situations, theproblem cannot be solved entirely. Instead, it can only be mitigatedto the extent that one has a known starting point when solving anethical problem.
Inaddition, the speaker makes another argument which is essentiallyvalid bearing in mind the supporting exemplifications that she madeafterwards. She made a claim to the effect that ethics determine theidentity of a human being. The argument is that ethics is a matter ofwho you are rather than what you have or what you do. However,whereas this position is valid, it is also deficient when it comes tothe question of people’s identity in relation to their action.Understandably, people’s actions are inspired by their characterand attributes. As such, she cannot rightfully argue that a person’sidentity is separable from his or her actions because those deeds aremediated by character. Actually, the speaker contradicts herself whenshe argues that the three surest ways of determining ethical behaviorinclude paying attention, conversing with others, and takingresponsibilities. Evidently, these are actions. Nevertheless,although she falls short in terms of argumentation, the general ideais strongly applicable to the question of ethical conduct.Importantly, she argues that the process of ethical developmentrequires one to take responsibility. Blaming others does not helppeople to reflect on how they contributed to the problem. Instead,they focus on the wrongs of the other party rather than evaluatingtheir own actions. As such, it becomes difficult to determine theethical blind spots that might exist at personal level. In addition,the claim that the process of ethical development requires conversingwith other people must not be taken lightly. Ethical behaviors do notjust rely on an individual’s wants and desires. A person mustconsider the position of others in relation to issues in question. Itis, therefore, very important to hold broad conversations with otherswhen trying to develop ethical code of conduct.
Ali,Khalidah, Zulkufly Ramly, and Lau Chai. Businessethics.New York: Oxford, 2014. Print.
Boaks,Jacqueline, and Michael Levine. Leadershipand ethics.London: Bloomsbury Academic, An Imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc,2015. Print.