Business ethics are moral principles that govern decisions and actions within a business organization. Business ethics are used to provide guidelines on how people should behave in the corporate world. Ethics not only applies to how people in business should behave but also how customers are treated. This shows how diversified the business ethics of a business can be. To promote moral standards in an organization, employers should always be on the front line to set good examples. The application of ethics in a business organization is very essential as it contributes to the profit-making of an organization. This paper is aimed to critically discuss the ethical issues affecting consumers and society as a whole when a business engages in unfair competition.
Ethical issues that affect consumers and society
The corporate world is always faced with competition because many organizations wish to offer their products and services to the market. The business world is diverse and therefore competition normally occurs as a result of rivalry between two or more business organizations that offer similar or substitute products and services. Business competition is not just between corporate companies but also includes individuals engaged in the small- scale businesses. Competition has both positive and negative sides to the business world. Competition can inspire perseverance and build team spirit among competitors. It can also drive innovation as business people strive to improve and elevate to the top (Ferrel, Fraedrich & Ferrel, 2009, p. 13). Good competition should be economical to a country and healthy to a consumer. Healthy competition should not dwell on any kind of rivalry but instead aims at improving products and services. Competition can be an eye-opener especially in cases where there are poor services offered by an organization. Business people tend to be reluctant when they do not face any kind of completion and may offer low-quality products or poor services. It can be a wake-up call to such a business when it faces stiff competition from another business with the same services. It is at this point that businesses work tirelessly to improve products and services. In return, consumers get quality products and good services. This is because, in competition, every business strives towards offering the best to their customers.
Day after day, more businesses continue to grow and as a result, unfair competition ensues. Some businesses resolve to illegal business practices to get unjust benefits over their competitors. This affects consumers and the economy of a country. Some businesses prefer to use shortcuts to achieve their goals. The unjust competition involves mainly businesses that are self-centered and are not mindful of the consequences. Such businesses always aim at being the top over other competitors no matter what it takes. Unfair competition may include businesses that sell bogus commodities to their consumers. A good example is in the case of manufacturing companies that deceive consumers by imitating a product. These companies may use fake materials to produce products that are similar to other companies. In so doing, a business gets profits by selling low-quality products at extremely high prices. Ethically, there are no codes that govern such business organizations because they are morally wrong. Unfair competition is unlawful because it involves all kinds of illegal businesses including piracy, smuggling of goods, and even corruption. Unfair completion is a ‘dirty game’ because, in one way or another, it involves injustice. It is unethical to deceive consumers because they end up purchasing harmful products. Harmful products may include fake drugs which consumers buy unknowingly causing them health menace. In society, unfair completion not only causes rivalry among businesses but also narrows down to members of the society. This applies especially to those employed in the businesses and may create enmity among them even though they come from the same society. Unfair completion can cause rivalry to employees of different organizations not only during work but also outside the workplace. Unfair competition can draw a negative perception of consumers towards a particular business. There are business people who go to the extent of burning down other businesses to win the competition. By doing this, a society can be affected because they may not feel secure and may live in fear. Bunning down business places may lead to controversies in a particular society hence causing hatred among people. Unfair competition may lead to an increase in product prices hence becoming too expensive for the consumer and the society to afford.
To prevent unmoral behaviors, there should be the institutionalization of business ethics. Unfair completion is unethical and results from businesses that do not follow codes of ethics strictly. Institutionalization of business ethics is essential as it also prevents scandals from happening in a business. Charity begins at home, so adhering to moral standards within a business makes it easier to avoid unfair completion. Business people involved in the unjust competition are ethically wrong and should instead apply codes that would guide them (Ferrell, O.C.et al. 2009, p.14).
Ferrel, O., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrel, L., (2009). Business Ethics, Ethical Decision Making & Cases. Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.