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Most Important Lesson in Business Ethics

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As a backdrop in Business Ethics, allow me to cite these unethical business practices as identified by Hynes (2011):

1. Congo Free State Genocide
In 1885, Leopold II, King of the Belgians, and the Congo Free State garnered control over areas now known as the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi through a non-governmental organization, the Association Internationale Africaine. While under the pretense of conducting humanitarian efforts, e.g. building churches and educating the people, it established an industry of collecting ivory, en masse, using huge amounts of slave labor.

2. Siemens: Aiding the final solution
During World War Two, Siemens was a major player in the Nazification of Germany, rebuilding the army, creating a giant infrastructure: railways, communications and power generation.
More significantly for this list, they built factories at the camps Auschwitz and Buchenwald. It was typical for a slave worker to build electrical switches for Siemens in the morning, and be snuffed out in a Siemens-made gas chamber in the afternoon.

3. Dow Chemical/Union Carbide Rejecting liability of Bhopal Disaster
Union Carbide, though, is directly responsible for the deaths of around 8,000 Indian people in December 1984, and the birth defects that followed. Dow Chemical, who is the wealthier new owners of Union Carbide, has yet to make significant ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses the business ethics practiced by Congo Free State, Siemens, Dow Chemical/Union Carbide in Bhopal, Blackwater, Trafigura, and Wal-Mart. Lessons in business ethics are also dissected.

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Ethical Lessons

In her book, Laura Nash (1993) states: Managers have seen the high costs that corporate scandals have exacted: heavy fines, disruption of the normal routine, low employee morale, in creased turnover, difficulty in recruiting, internal fraud, and loss of public confidence in the reputation of the firm"(page 2). She wrote this in 1990.

1. Have things improved since Nash wrote this line ? Explain.
2. Have the scandals of the early 2000s helped managers prioritize ethics? Explain.
3. Have we learned our lesson as a society? Explain.
4. Do we now have sufficient checks and balances in place to prevent the crises of the 1990s and early 2000s? Explain.
5. What else can be done to reduce the likelihood of unethical abuses? Explain.

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