Profit-Based “Ethics”: The Mindset Behind It
May 11, 2011 Leave a comment
Inside The Mindset of Profit-Based “Ethics”
If I interpret ethical leadership as profit-based, then I will make decisions that maximize profits. Sometimes those decisions may ignore the long-term consequences of my decisions and I may choose to cut corners now in order to increase short-term profits, without considering how that may affect others.
How the Mindset Impacts Day-to-Day Business Decisions
How does a profitability mindset affect my decision-making? A cheaper ingredient, added in order to increase profits, may end up being identified as unhealthy or even cancerous. If my ethics are profitability-focused, then as long as it’s not illegal to use the ingredient right now, then I believe that I made a “good decision” to use it while I can - until it is banned.
Getting Beyond Profit-Based Ethics
The trouble with using a profit-based definition of “ethics” is that by using profitability as a way to make decisions an entire spectrum of other issues is conveniently ignored. In order to avoid this trap and to move away from profit-based thinking, it’s important to broaden the variables we consider when making business decisions to include:
- The impact of my products and services on consumers and society
- The impact of my business operations on the planet
- The long-term unintended consequences of my choices
- The changing consumer mindset toward ethical business and avoiding harm
- The erosion of customer confidence in my products, services and ethics
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