Should business be ethical at the expense of company profits and staff welfare?

Question analysis:

At the expense: at the cost of something, the opportunity cost. Please note that you have to address this criteria throughout the whole essay.

Ethical: Relating to moral principles. Pls note that ethics are subjective and every individual has different moral codes. What is considered ethical to an individual may not be to another.

Yes business should be ethical: 

Businesses especially large multi-national corporations (MNCs) today are the bedrock of many capitalistic societies, hence they should be ethical in their practices in order to set the moral tone of how business is done in the corporate world, and to a larger extent, the societal values. Businesses will suffer from a lack of trust and reputation especially if they have flouted some ethical considerations. E.g. H&M have been facing lawsuits in Europe for their sweatshops conditions and exploitation of child labour to manufacture their cheap and affordable clothing. It is highly likely that businesses will suffer from fines and increased regulations if they are seen to be unethical in their business practices. This could affect the company profits drastically and potential sales, which will impact on the eventual staff welfare and salaries that they draw. A case in point would be Volkswagen which was found to have cheated on their diesel emission, and being fined 14.7 billion for it.  It is unlikely for an unethical business to be a champion of staff welfare. Ethics is what make up an organization and if the corporate culture is one that is unethical, it is highly unlikely that bosses will appreciate and care for the staff that makes the business possible in the first way. It is possibly very results-orientated and a cut throat corporate culture where competition is valued first. During difficult times, companies are likely to fire and retrench staff, withhold their benefits without any consideration to protect these staff's families. After all, the company and the need to stay afloat comes first. E.g. SPH recently pledges to retrench 10% of their staff in order to keep company profits afloat, rather than thinking of how to generate more revenue through other arms of operations and keeping these staff.  <strong>Business should be unethical: </strong>  There is a need to find the most cost efficient method of production in order to stay afloat in this cut throat business world. Businesses in this case, are not unethical by choice, rather it is by the push of society and the consumers to be unethical, especially when consumers refuse to pay more for the products. Fast fashion industry is very competitive and companies have to resort to overseas factories and even child labour to manufacture clothes as cheaply as possible to cater to a larger group of consumers. It is not practical for all businesses to venture into serving the luxury group, since there is only that many number of consumers who can afford to pay. Sometimes being unethical comes at the expense of the company's ability to protect their own staff who have slogged hard for them and to return their loyalty. Employees' livelihood should be considered before ethics and perhaps ethics should be decided and regulated more often by the authorities on what constitutes proper business practices.  Finally, ethical standards differ throughout the world. Every individual has different expectations with regards to their working hours, treatment and pay scheme. What is deemed unethical to a person in a developed place (e.g. working for less than5/hr here could be seen as a blessing to someone in the developing countries). Resorting to unethical means is only a short term measure for businesses, as once reputation is tarnished, it takes forever to build it back up again.

P.s Pls note that this is just a sample outline for a business and money essay question. Further points will be elaborated in our lessons.

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