Are Business Ethics or Profits More Important?

Watching the bottom line is very important when one is in business but even more important is keeping a vigilant eye on one’s business ethics. To have business ethics means treating all stakeholders fairly and to treating people and other businesses fairly is showing them respect.  
Putting business ethics first means that employees will be loyal not out of fear but out of respect. It means a less stressed work environment which in turn means less employee sick days. Customers are willing to spend a little more if they feel certain that they will be treated fairly and won’t have to worry about being cheated. Vendors will be more inclined to extend credit to a company that has a reputation for being above board in its dealings.
Businesses’ that always behave in an ethical manner will spend less on lawyers and won’t need to spend as much on advertising as their less trustworthy competitors do. For a business to put profit ahead of ethics is the same as being ‘penny wise but pound foolish’. Sure there is gain today but at what cost?
Customers can be mislead, vendors can be strong armed, and accounting corners can be cut to fool the investors but like a house built upon the sand it falls apart eventually. The general person may seem stupid to some top executives but eventually that customer smartens up and notices the bait and switch or the inferior merchandise or the out of date product and begins to shop somewhere else. Oh, the customers may continue to shop at a store that they feel has been less then honest with them but only for the really good sales, everything else they will buy somewhere else. No store can exist selling only their ‘come on or loss leader” items.
Vendors that are left hanging or who are threatened with a boycott of their products if price demands aren’t met may have no choice but to play along but you can be sure they tell other vendors how they were treated. Companies know that if they gear up production to supply Wal-Mart then they must...