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Altruism and Business Essay

Moreover, as part of the community, business enterprises are expected to conform to the community’s values, norms, and standards of quality, integrity, and respect while serving the needs and demands of the market. Such conformity is included in the discipline of social responsibility which implies that ethical business management should anticipate both the market and the law of society. The social responsibility approach urges managers to take an expansive view of the law and the market even if strict implementation of ethical behavior and standards may sound costly and risky.

In the long run, the market will reap the reward of such ethical behavior imparted in every business operation practices (Stark, 1993). Ethics vs. Self-interest When talking about business gains and preferred financial outcome, self-interest and ethics often conflict with each other, as ethics entails doing moral actions while self-interest is more related to financial reward. Most managers remark that “even when doing good is in the company’s best interest, acts motivated by such self-interest really can’t be ethical” (Stark, 1993).

Thus, managers are often confronted with the problem of which should be advanced first, whether business ethics or self-interest. In the business world, most managers pursue to behave ethically and do

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fair dealings, yet these acts are motivated by the manager’s interest which is to be rewarded afterwards. Most businessmen do not act ethically only because they want to be ethical. They do not do good things because they want to be right. Instead, managers often act ethically because they want to benefit from doing so.

As Stark (1993) put it, “To be ethical as a business because it may increase your profits is to do so for entirely the wrong reason. The ethical business must be ethical because it wants to be ethical. In other words, business ethics means acting within business for non-business reasons. ” Yet, such argument concerning the definition and nature of ethics in business environment needs to be reviewed and reconsidered. This is because there are instances where business enterprises can advance both self-interest and the act of doing good in an ethical manner.

As Joanne Ciulla noted, “The really creative part of business ethics is discovering ways to do what is morally right and socially responsible without running your career and company” (cited in Stark, 1993). Altruism alludes to the idea that an individual should do good because it is right or because it will benefit others. In business, “altruism is one of the many motivations that do shape managers’ behavior” (Stark, 1993). Doing good because it is right and will benefit others in return would also give fruitful reward to the one who performed the act.

The Golden Rule “Do unto others what you want others to do unto you” serves true in the concept of altruism. This is because it is of human nature to respond to the stimuli that affected him. With this idea, many companies have developed different business strategies involving the concept of altruism, such as doing good acts for the benefit of other people while advancing the business interest. “Others” in this case refers to the stakeholders in the business arena like the employees, customer, suppliers, and investors.

Meanwhile, rewards from doing such strategy is manifested in the feedback from the people whom you did good acts. “Improved business performance, profits, and economic progress come to those who effectively and efficiently foster and meet the reasonable expectations of their primary stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, investors, and the environment, as well as the owners and managers themselves” (U. S. Department of Commerce, 2004, p. 4). In the world of business, success is measured in terms of profits over losses.

There are enterprises who expect to generate profits in a shorter span of time; thus, any possible way (including deceiving suppliers, employees, and customers) could be implemented, disregarding their supposed social responsibilities. Such enterprises, more often than not, have a shorter duration of existence in the business arena. Their unethical behaviors and neglect of their social responsibilities are condemned by most of their customers, clients, suppliers, and even by their own employees.

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