The Great American Solar Eclipse is upon us! With the entire continental United States soon to be experiencing the eclipse in some fashion, news outlets have reported a deplorable business practice—the selling of unsafe, fake solar viewing glasses. Unethical business practices, like the selling of unsafe solar viewing glasses, that make a profit from the pain and suffering of others is detrimental to everyone due to the impact businesses have on society from the production of goods and services to providing jobs to initiatives that aim to solve social problems.
This article in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management Journal, explains the vulnerability of small business to engage in unethical practices, and the difficulty of balancing the aim to achieve high profits with good business ethics. The author elaborates further to say that small business failures are often a direct result of engaging in unethical or illegal business activities that erode customers’ and the public’s trust and respect for the business. But, there are steps that small business owners can take that will help to fortify their small businesses against unethical actions.
1. Understand and abide by laws and regulations for your business. Seek professional legal advice to ensure that you are obeying local, state and federal laws.
2. Develop a code of ethics and train your employees on the importance of these ethical principles, guidelines and responsibilities to your customers and business partners. Honesty, integrity, safety and well-being should all be values that are incorporated into the organizational culture.
3. Be courageous to take morally correct actions—even if it cuts into business profits.
4. Incorporate ethics and social responsibility into your vision and mission statements.
If you are looking for more in depth information about ethical business practices, check out our Dallas Public Library Collection. The following titles are a few of the many resources available that offer inspiration, encouragement and logical arguments for the need for ethical businesses.
People Over Profit (Dale Partridge)
Good Profit (Charles Koch)
Values, Inc (Dina Dwyer-Owens)
A Force for Good (John Taft)