Thursday, January 20, 2022

Why be moral in business?

 I am somewhat conflicted about how much you can make the argument that good ethics in business pays. I think in most cases unethical conduct will bite your company in the rear end eventually. But if decision-makers are not with the company for the long haul, as they often are not, then they can reap the rewards of short-term benefits and then leave before the results of their policies start harming the company. 

So my main argument in response to the question "Why should I be moral ib business" is that you'll sleep better at night. 

17 comments:

bmiller said...

It's the same for anyone.

We lie for short term gain and it damages our reputation in the long term.

Limited Perspective said...

Someone is honest in business (other than for ethical or religious reasons) because they need to develop long-term trust with clients. Clients who trust someone will do business with them. Clients freely and willingly exchange their money for the goods and services the businessman provides. Clients can stop doing business at any moment for any reason. That's what keeps businessmen up at night.

I don't understand why a tenured professor would be honest. He doesn't have to develop trust with his students, they come and go. The students don't willingly pay every month from their resources for the service professors provide.

Those who have a guaranteed income regardless of what happens sleep better at night than those who each month rely on the willing consent of the people they do business with.

Limited Perspective said...

I wonder, if a professor had to talk to his students at the beginning of each month, become personal with them, and discussed their financial status and then make a case for the benefit the student would receive if they would give a negotiated amount of their money for the service the professor provides. Perhaps the professor would be willing to take half their earned money for the month or perhaps the professor would be willing to ask the student to take out a loan and get into debt for the service he provides. I wonder how different it would be if I professor was more like a businessman and talk each month about the finances of those who pay him.

I'm pretty sure those conversations would keep a professor up at night.

bmiller said...

Most people today are just employees and so are removed from how things really work. All they can see is how much money they're making and that someone else is making more money. They don't have any idea what it takes to start a business and be an employer. The risks that business owners take and the payroll they have to meet, and consequentially the families that will suffer if they don't meet that payroll.

Too bad that so many Americans today think that businesses are just started to exploit them.

One Brow said...

Limited Perspective,
I wonder, if a professor had to talk to his students at the beginning of each month, become personal with them, and discussed their financial status and then make a case for the benefit the student would receive if they would give a negotiated amount of their money for the service the professor provides.

I would hope any such professor would be summarily terminated. The power relationship between a professor and a student is unequal, there is good footing for a business relationship.

One Brow said...

bmiller,
Most people today are just employees and so are removed from how things really work. All they can see is how much money they're making and that someone else is making more money. They don't have any idea what it takes to start a business and be an employer. The risks that business owners take and the payroll they have to meet, and consequentially the families that will suffer if they don't meet that payroll.

This si true for small businesses, not so much for medium or large corporations.

Limited Perspective said...

One Brow,

There are different power dynamics in every relationship, business, education and otherwise. The professor has the power of the student's GPA, the power to dictate the course curriculum, and some influence on the potential long-term income of the student. The student as client has the power of their resources (money and time) and where they want to use those resources.

The professor, as with the businessman, has the frequent obligation to explain to the client that what they are asking for would not be good in the long term. An honest businessman is looking out for the long-term interest of his clients. The honest professor will explain that genuinely grasping the topic he is teaching is better in the long term then just receiving an A without effort and understanding.

I'm sure there are professors, as with businessmen, who will go along with anything the client asks as long as there is a financial reward.

Limited Perspective said...

"I would hope any such professor would be summarily terminated."

In other words, if a professor is honest about the short and long term financial obligations of his students, he should be fired.

One Brow said...

Limited Perspective,

It's entirely possible to hire someone on a week-to-week basis to teach you things, and have that person deal with any financial issues and look to maximize the value in what they tech to that student. The point of the separation of student's tuition and the professors wages is to ensure that the professor does not dilute or alter the material just to get paid.

People are not rational, and most of the time do not act in their own long-term interest.

One Brow said...

Limited Perspective,
"I would hope any such professor would be summarily terminated."

In other words, if a professor is honest about the short and long term financial obligations of his students, he should be fired.


We have a financial aid office and academic advisors that talk to the students about their finances, about their long-term and short-term interests, etc. Their reimbursement does not depend upon the students grades. Meanwhile, my grading is independent of the students ability to pay. When you have five classes averaging 20 students each, how much of each day should said professor spend understanding the intricate details of all 100 students finances. How much time should each student spend going over this with five different professors?

Starhopper said...

The biggest problem today with higher education is not dishonest professors, but rather collegiate football. If parents and students realized just how much of their obscenely overpriced tuition payments went to supporting these totally unnecessary activities, there'd be a revolution. The best thing we could possibly do to improve our higher education system would be to eliminate all competitive sports at that level. Sure, keep gym and other physical fitness activities, and allow intra-school teams to compete against each other, but no inter-school games allowed. Tuition rates would go down to reasonable levels overnight.

Limited Perspective said...

I appreciate the perspective One Brow, as mine is limited in so many ways.

Limited Perspective said...

How are you feeling Star? I hope you are recovering from your illness.

Starhopper said...

Thanks for asking. Recovery is slow but steady. I'm still winded after the least bit of effort, and am sleeping 10-12 hours per day. I'm quite dizzy when I stand up, and need something to hold onto to steady myself. I'm glad I am retired, because I don't see how I could possibly hold down a job with the almost nonexistent energy levels that I have. I'm beginning to wonder whether I'm one of those unfortunates who got "long COVID", which can last for many months.

But I am feeling far, far better than I was a month ago. That was truly horrible.

Limited Perspective said...

Star, if you will accept a Anglican prayer of gratitude on your behalf:

Almighty God and heavenly Father, we bless and praise your Name on behalf of your servant Bob, and we give you humble thanks that you have been pleased to deliver him from sickness. Grant, O gracious Father, that by your help he may live in this world according to your will, and be made a partaker of everlasting glory in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Starhopper said...

Amen, and thank you.

One Brow said...

Starhopper,

I am hoping for your full recovery.

Limited Perspective,

I think I understand better what you were trying to say. I fully agree that professors should be responsive to the students needs and lives, and that too few are.