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Ethical Dilemma

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The business world is overflowing with ethical dilemmas of different sorts. It is rather unfortunate that in some cases, where money is at stake, the company owners and their officials will turn a blind eye on the ethics in favor of profit-maximizing strategy. The ethical behavior should be exhibited in the daily operations and in the overall way of conducting business, not only in some special cases where serious issues emerge. The dilemma between the behavior of Walmart and Sears Roebuck and Company is a bright illustration of how business and ethical considerations do not go hand-in-hand.

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On the one hand, the success of Walmart is obvious to everybody. It is growing steadily and expanding its operations and services, offering people access to a wide range of goods and services in convenient locations for an affordable price. However, one has to look at the strategy of the company to see how this success is achieved. Walmart buys increasingly big amount of its suppliers’ goods and eventually might encourage them to remove their sales personnel and turn the cost savings to Walmart. While it may be a feasible move for saving costs it is definitely not an entirely ethical one. Lots of jobs would be lost as a consequence; and the supplier would become incredibly dependent on Walmart. So, there is a threat of restricting supplier’s actions and monopolizing its output. In the other hand, Sears and Co. has a strategy not to purchase more than half of the supplier’s output. This is a more ethical position, allowing for the flexibility of action for both the supplier and Sears.

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The dilemma is obvious – to follow the profit-maximization path or be a responsible actor on the economic field. The former approach can be more rewarding in the short run but the long term consequences of it are frightening. Taking into account the modern notions of corporate responsibility and ethical business activity the latter option should be the obvious choice for any company.

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