Ethics for Professionals

According to Albert (1968), bluffing in business is not a form of lying. It is simply regarded as a game strategy. He gives the example of bluffing in poker. It is observed that bluffing in poker is not lying and does not reflect anything on the morality of the buffer. The British statesman, Henry Taylor emphasised that falsehood is not regarded as a falsehood if it is considered from all aspects that the truth is not expected to come out. This definition is very accurate for describing bluff in poker, criminal court or business.

By comparing the nature of business with poker is a nice way to learn about the type of business. The winner in the long run in both cases is the man who plays with steady skill. The victory comes to the man who has intimate knowledge of rules, self- discipline, takes bold front and can respond in a very effective way to the opportunities that are provided by chance. Special ethics are there in the game of poker. The own brand of ethics of poker is different from the ethical ideals of civilised human relationships. It is vital in poker to not be kind, openhearted and ignore the claim of friendship. Similarly, in the situation of the business game, the standards of correct or incorrect differ from the traditions that are existing of morality in society.

A perfect analogy where bluffing is prominent is of the criminal court. It is not expected by the criminal to accept and tell the truth at the time when he is pleading not guilty. At this time, all the person in the court knows that the task of the attorney of the other side is to get his client off without revealing the truth. This act is not considered as unethical.

Needless to say, there are lakhs and lakhs of businessmen who are constrained every day to agree to their bosses in the situation where they disagree. This act is often accepted as a permissible strategy. The reason for agreeing with their bosses is the fear of losing their jobs. The essential point that Carr (1968) is highlighting is that the ethics of business are game ethics. This is very different from ethics or religion. Business practices by the individuals and the corporations have the impersonal character of a game. This is a game that requires both understanding of its special ethics as well as special strategy. This game starts as soon as an individual enters into a business. He may be forced into a game situation. From highest to lowest levels of corporate life, this game is played.

There are scenarios where most of the executive are pressurised to practice some form of deception. This is done while negotiating with their dealers, customers, labour unions or government officials for the interests of their companies. The businessmen seek to persuade others to agree with them by either exaggerating or conscious misstatements or concealment of pertinent facts. These all can be shortly termed as bluffing. The executive is at a heavy disadvantage if he feels obligated, to tell the truth, a d could ignore the opportunities permitted under the rules. Thus, it is very difficult for those people who do not have much experience in the business.

It is not true that in the private lives of businessmen, they are indifferent to ethics. The point is that the businessmen cease to be a private citizen when they are in their office. In-office lives, the businessmen become players of the game who must be driven by a completely varied set of ethical standards. Espionage had become very common in business. Many businessmen consider espionage not a sinful act and consider it as an established technique of competition in business. They do not consider it a shameful action for using secret agents to get information about their competitors.

In the eyes of various businessmen, it is morally not wrong if the matter abides with the rules and regulations of the law. They consider it within the rights to function their business as they see fit. This is same for even the small corporations along with the big and great corporations. The violation of ethical ideals of the society in an environment of business is very common as it is not considered a violation of business principles. When the businessmen talk about ethics and responsibilities towards the society, it is like a thin decorative coating over the hard realities of the game. It is only in the speeches and articles that the business can afford to be guided by ethics as conceived in private life.

There is a high degree of competition in the world we live and the customs encourage people for a high degree of aggression to strive for success. The main area of the competition is business which is virtualized into a game of strategy. The primary rule of the game is set by the government. The role of the government is to detect and punish frauds in the business. Bluff is an integral part of the game. Thus, in business, it is required to use this part of the game to achieve success. Businessmen would likely accumulate power and money if they master the techniques of bluffing.

Sometimes, it is difficult for an individual to adjust according to the requirements of the business game. He may try to preserve his private ethical standards in the circumstances where there is a call for game strategy. He has to suffer if he is obliged to follow the company policies that challenge his conception of himself as an ethical man. It is disturbing if an individual has been ordered to prepare advertising that he believes to be misleading, conceal facts, deny a raise in the income of a person who deserves or fire an employee of long-standing.

It is undeniable that respect for truth forms the basis of private morality. A businessman deserves more respect if he comes closer to the truth. Also, there are incidences when the businessman starts feeling guilty for practising bluff. Perhaps, the conscience of the businessman is spurred by religious idealism. Thus, it is essential to make sure that the executive does not lose self- respect or become emotionally disturbed if he uses the strategy if the bluff while making profits for the company. It is important for the executive to feel that his bluffs are ethically justified to accommodate personal integrity and high standards of honesty with the actual needs of the company.

References for Business Bluffing Ethical

Carr, A. Z., Rae, S. B., & Wong, K. L. (1996). Is business bluffing ethical?.

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