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James Rutland, MMR Group, Baton Rouge, on How to Make Ethical Decisions in a Commercial

All entrepreneurs must eventually make important ethical decisions. Sometimes, an entrepreneur may not know what to do in a given situation. Whether the error involves selling meals made with horse meat (Findus in 2013) or breaking sanctions against several nations, including Iran (Standard Chartered in 2019), people in charge often make unethical decisions for the […]

All entrepreneurs must eventually make important ethical decisions. Sometimes, an entrepreneur may not know what to do in a given situation. Whether the error involves selling meals made with horse meat (Findus in 2013) or breaking sanctions against several nations, including Iran (Standard Chartered in 2019), people in charge often make unethical decisions for the sake of earning high profits. Entrepreneurs who make immoral decisions may think no one will notice. However, both of these companies soon faced the fact that consumers found out about their choices.

Choosing wealth over morality is often a fatal error for a business owner. This type of mistake can cause a business to lose loyal customers and even fail. In the United States, the governor of Georgia signed legislation to ban early abortions. As a result, WarnerMedia, Netflix and the Walt Disney Company declared verbally that they would avoid filming productions in Georgia. Additionally, several celebrities, including Sean Penn and Amy Schumer, vocally expressed their concerns about the bill.

The moral is that ethical decisions can damage the monetary flow of a business. However, serving morality and mammon is virtually impossible. So, an entrepreneur must have values and stick to these philosophical beliefs regardless of monetary expectations. Entrepreneurs need to consider many things before they make ethical decisions. Balancing ethics against making huge profits is a challenging activity. However, an entrepreneur’s competition also faces the same challenges.

A competitor may take a chance by making a moral decision and then profit from the choice. If consumers appreciate the competitor’s decision, business for the entrepreneur who chooses otherwise may not receive favorable reviews from consumers. An entrepreneur must satisfy their employees and shareholders, so the wrong choice can have negative repercussions. Some decisions are difficult to make and require contemplation.

The most important step is to find out all the facts. It is easier to make an ethical choice once everything is in the open. It is worthwhile to spend time thinking about the future. Admittedly, it is challenging to decide on something that serves the public, charitable endeavors, employees and investors. However, it is not impossible. In the final analysis, the only thing an entrepreneur can do is to follow their good judgment.

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