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Business Ethics and Political Affiliation Essay

Over time, political intervention in business operations across the world has done more harm than good. The field of business ethics has received widespread interest resulting into a raging controversy regarding the effectiveness of the established moral codes within the business industry. Of importance to ethicists, sociologists, educators and other interest groups is the role political affiliation plays in influencing the course of business operations with regard to ethics.

Business ethics revolves around the standards of integrity within the course of business operations. Currently corporate control is largely dominated by political goodwill rather than the established regulatory guidelines

Ethics is a central aspect of leadership and management since every decision by the management involves weighing the benefits and harms to the stakeholders basing on the key business principles and moral character (UV1040, 2009). Being ethical implies making a sound judgment between right and wrong and being in a position to defend this beyond initial moral judgment/intuition. However, business and ethics can be conceptualized as two distinct disciplines: the separation fallacy and the integration thesis.

Ethics is regarded as a fundamental principle to trade rather than peripheral one. Thus, ethics goes beyond legal obligation to include the choice between alternatives in a way that

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profits stakeholders rather than harming them. In this light, Lobdell’s iBusinessreporting.com’s profit motive (to short-sell victim companies) represents a failure of business ethics as Lobdell would not mind hurting the stakeholders for the sake of his website’s success (Byline, 2010).

Decisions made amidst ethical dilemmas ought not to be personal irrespective of one’s feelings for certain commitments or values at stake. Business ethics revolve around ethical frameworks that thoroughly put into consideration consequences, principles and character. The major principle in ethics however is ethical inquiry. Moral accounting schemes are usually established to define ethical principles whose major motives are to enhance stakeholders’ experiential well-being.

Moral strength is not an entirely separate entity since it encompasses other major metaphors crucial in the perception of conservatism. Business ethics is influenced by moral metaphors such as moral authority, bounds, health, essence, and wholeness (Gregory, 1995). According to, the conservative moral metaphors are represented by the strict-father moral model which defines a peculiar aspect of the conservatism in America. For instance, congressmen and Americans in general who work by the conservative model usually express an antipathy towards the government.

The conservative political affiliation explains the reason why some conservatists had such attitudes towards the issues of homosexuality, abortion, gun control and feminism. From a conservatist’s view, affiliation is not necessary due to regard for human life but due to moral metaphors. The Nation-as Family moral metaphor links conservatism morality and liberalism to politics. Family kind of morality is integrated into political morality. This has been the foundation of the form of unity in conservative political positions.

Conservatism has always presented a conflict of moral interest in the political scene following the support of right to own guns, apathy and military protection at the expense of patriotism, environment protection and the right to life. Though liberals are based on the family based moral principles, they are not as much conversant with the unconscious mechanism that shapes their politics.

Political affiliation has been part of the business world in America since time immemorial. Corporations have always taken sides on various crucial matters in the political arena. Recently, the CBS News presented distorted information about the military record of president Bush (Bruce & Patel, 2004). This has been attributed to political affiliation of the senior management and board at Viacom, CBS News’ parent company to the Bush administration. For instance, Summer Redstone, a self-declared liberal democrat and Viacom’s C.E.O is also a prolific donor to the campaigns of the democratic party. Viacom board affiliations led them to compromise their moral obligation of avoiding decisions that hurt stakeholders irrespective of what is at stake.

This and other cases represent the level of business ethical failure that has been prevalent in today’s society following businesses affiliation to politics. In most instances, ethical compromise following political affiliations has had grievous consequences on the welfare of business. For instance, political affiliation has tarnished brands due to loss of customer confidence once it is known that they neglect ethical business principles such as in the case of media partisan politics-led reporting (Byline, 2010). Individual political agendas have over time become the basis for compromising business ethics.

The moral fabric within the business sector faces a rather detrimental decline following the vigorous political wars caused by the same affiliations. This affiliation can be attributed to a number of reasons such as the moral metaphors discussed earlier. For instance, conservative business leaders or entrepreneurs would tend to support a conservative political aspirant or party that expresses apathy to the government (George, 1995). In the light of this, Viacom’s Redstone donated massively to the Democratic Party aspirants and campaigns to the tune of $50, 000 while Robert Walter, also a member of Viacom’s board has demonstrated enormous support to the Republicans.

Due to such affiliations, the government today has ceased to be one of, for and by the people. Prevalence in the affiliation of business with political affairs has induced the collapse of the once democratic principles to a plutocracy (money controlled) system that has remained rather reluctant on issue eating on the morals and integrity of business conduct. Organizations have faced their worst moments such as downturn or complete collapse due to ethical failure. In the current state of affairs, big corporations have demonstrated affiliation to particular factions of the political arena with the aim of furthering their interest at the expense of ethical principles.

Regulatory procedures have thus been masked by these affiliations. Failure of state and federal ethics to equally protect businesses has promoted the collapse of business ethics as they only protect politicians and their affiliates (Bruce & Patel, 2004). For instance, in of the moneyed famous political-corporate affiliations, Enron massively donated to both political parties and GOP after Kenneth Lay, Enron’s C.E.O had bought the firm through political donations amounting to $ 5.8 million.

This was in itself unethical in the view of the campaign law of financing. Small businesses receive little or no help from the responsible authorities due to state protection of the big corporations who provide material or financial support to these parties. In 1999, The Washington Post published an article concerning an issue of a lobbyist and legislator Baltimore collaborating with to defraud clients so that Baltimore could get a favor on a deal on real estate.

Various studies (Hobbs and Riley 1984; Luksetich and Riley, 1980) have proved that there exists a short-run tendency to for equity markets to show favoritism in occasions of a republican victory than a democratic one (Bruce & Patel, 2004). It’s apparent that big businesses prefer dealing with republicans who and on the other hand prefer working with big businesses rather than the middle, poor, and the labor class. That businesses’ affiliation to politics has degraded business ethics is undisputable.

References

Bruce, R. S., & Patel, J. B. (2004). NYSE Sector Returns and Political Cycles. Journal of

Business Ethics. Dordrecht, 49 (4), p. 387

Byline, J. R. (2010). On the media; Reporting for profit on stocks. Los Angeles Times, p. 1-3

George, L. (1995). Metaphor, Morality, and Politics Or, Why Conservatives Have Left Liberals

In the Dust. Social Research, 62(2), pp.1-22

UV1040. (2009). An Introduction to Ethics. University of Virginia: Darden Business publishing.


Appendices

Abstracts /Annotations

Bruce, R. S., & Patel, J. B. (2004). NYSE Sector Returns and Political Cycles. Journal of Business Ethics. Dordrecht, 49 (4), p. 387

This article addresses three major issues relating to the relationships between equity market returns and the affiliation of business to political parties as determined by the NYSE sub-indexes as well as composite indexes. First, the returns appear to be greater during the administrations of Democratic presidents though this is regarded insignificant statistically. Secondly, the studies prove that returns tend to be lesser in the initial two years of administration than during the last two years. Thirdly, relationship between the Congress house’s majority party with equity returns is evaluated. In conclusion, the studies find that there is a high possibility of influence of the affiliation to party politics on the equity returns.

Byline, J. R. (2010). On the media; Reporting for profit on stocks. Los Angeles Times, p. 1-3

The article is more of a case study as it critically analysis the operations of both Lobdell and Minkow’s iBusinessreporting.com on moral grounds. Emphasizing on the moral backgrounds of the two, the article tries to establish link between media reporting and stock markets to introduce the concept of business ethics. The business in question is the media and in this regard Byline notes that some of the media publicity though to be good is actually meant to short-shell the stocks of some companies. Political reporting is thoroughly covered in the light of business morals and political affiliation. The author also discusses issues to do with the influence of political affiliation on voting.

George, L. (1995). Metaphor, Morality, and Politics Or, Why Conservatives Have Left Liberals In the Dust. Social Research, 62(2), pp.1-22

An extensive demonstration of the metaphor concept is given as well as its link to morality. This article then analyses the various morality metaphors in relation to conservative and liberal morality. To produce a clear and concise understanding of the two models of morality: the strict father and the Nurturant parent model, the author extensively discusses the conservative morality ideology in contrast to liberalism.

Various aspects of both liberal and conservative politics such as abortion, gun control are put on focus to understand the link to business’ political affiliations and ethics at large. This helps in understanding the basis for business ethics and affiliation to party politics. Various moral pathologies are outlined as well the consequences of the conservative and liberal moralities on relationships in contemporary politics.

UV1040. (2009). An Introduction to Ethics. University of Virginia: Darden Business publishing.

This article begins with an ethical dilemma case study to psychologically prepare the mind of the reader on the whole concept of ethics. Ethics is defined from a theoretical and practical approach and the various disagreements arising within the field of business ethics are detailed. As the central focus in ethical study, various levels of business ethical inquiries such as corporate polices, personal, stakeholders, and societal inquiries are discussed. Ethical frameworks are also discussed as important guides towards moral judgments in business ethics. Ethics is discussed in relation to management decisions, stakeholders and management as well as to the legal obligations. Lastly, the link between business and ethics and the ethical mandate of leadership is analyzed.

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