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Ethics in daily business

The terms „business ethics“ and „business as usual“ are not necessarily related. But why is that so? It seems that the ethically of business choices  is only challenged in exceptional (and often public) circumstances . As such, the behaviour of a brand, a company or a person in day-to-day business situations are not continuously evaluated from an ethical point of view.

Most probably such state is the result of the publicity and impact extraordinary decisions have. But can we judge the general degree of ethics in a business solely based on such events? Does the impact of such big decisions have a higher influence on the ethical image than the “small” daily encounters that are being labelled “usual”? Furthermore, if “usual” manners are not seen as ethically correct, shouldn’t they be put in the focus, even more than one-of-a-kind big-ticket decisions?

One example:

A couple of weeks ago we wrote a post about Apple’s supplier Foxconn that got scorned by the press for unacceptable working conditions. Recently, Foxconn managed to be on the cover of a worldwide newspapers again. Even though the working conditions they provide are generally not humane, the only time the issue gets raised in the press  is when Apple launches their next big product. The poor conditions Foxconn provides and decisions they make on a daily basis do not seem to be of major concern. It requires a major singular incident, a focal event, to get the company back into the discussion about ethically, only to discover that their “business as usual” might not support an ethical environment…

To conclude, I would like to ask you if we judge the ethically of a company only based on singular major decisions and miss out on evaluating the morale applied in their day-to-day business?

Sebastian

More on Foxconn

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