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CRITICAL REVIEW OF ARGUMENTS AGAINST BUSINESS ETHICS

EDUCATION:

1-Argument:
Milton Friedman arguments:-
o The ethical duty of business people is to maximize profit within the limits of law.
o The business people should study marketing, finance, operations and should not
waste their time in studying ethics.
o The corporate executives have no right to spend company’s funds for the
betterment of society.
o The corporate executives are not qualified to address complex social problems.
The Government and Social agencies are responsible for complex social
problems like poverty, inflation, unemployment, pollution, etc.
Criticism:
o The corporate executives are elected by stakeholders to govern the business
activities therefore; they can spend money on social welfare projects if they
consider that it will be beneficial for all the stakeholders.
o In order to perform social responsibilities there is no need of high qualification.
Because when there is a will, there is a way. If, the corporate executives want to
do something for the betterment of society then there are many ways to know how
they can do it.
o Laws can not formulate the morality. There are also some unethical but legal
practices of maximizing profit e.g. deceptive advertisement and promotional
campaigns.

2-Argument:
Argument about incentives:-
o To behave ethically legal, financial and economic incentives are the only practical
ways.
o Business people respond to financial incentives only not to the ethics lectures.
Criticism:
o Incentives can only give extrinsic motivation to behave ethically for short time
period.
o The ethics education can give intrinsic motivation to behave ethically that will
have long lasting effect.

3-Argument:
Gut feeling argument:
o Ethics is something that you feel not something that you think about.
o It is a matter of personal preference that varies from person to person.
o It has no intellectual content.
Criticism:
o According to the theory of moral reasoning we can think about what is right or
wrong and we can provide reasons and justification of our moral actions.
4-Argument:
Moral development argument:
o Moral character builds in early childhood and by the time the students enter into
the business school so it’s too late to change.
Criticism:
o All the researches show that the business subjects like finance, marketing and
operations all develop the behavior then how studying business ethics is unable to
develop moral behavior.
o All the schools and institutions are established for the development of behavior. If
it is true that moral behavior can’t be developed then there is no need to set up
such institutions.
o According to Kohlbergs, the moral character continuous to develop with the
passage of time as people get more and more mature.

5-Argument:
According to motivational argument:
o Business students are not motivated to study business ethics because they think
that this subject is irrelevant to their career and therefore they don’t take it
seriously.
Criticism:
o Ethical dilemmas are faced by executives in all fields of businesses in order to
perform a business in right way, so, it is necessary for business students to study
it.
o Ethical education provides moral awareness and deep understanding about every
subject, therefore, for successful business career the business students should take
it seriously.

CONCLUSION:
By critically analyzing all the arguments, we have concluded that, the trade-off
must exist! So, business students should somehow study business ethics because;
o It provides language and conceptual frame work with which one can talk and
think about ethical issues.
o It provides moral awareness that affect moral feeling and moral action.
o It emphasizes by case study that helps to make one aware of the potential
consequences.
o It presents ethical theories that help in moral development and moral reasoning.
o It helps to ensure the long run profitability and sustainability of the business.