Bluffing: Business Ethics and Carr

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In his essay, Is Business Bluffing Ethical? Albert Carr contends that business, like poker, warrants a certain amount of bluffing. He holds that business is a game, and so long as all those playing are doing so with an understanding of the rules of the game, personal ethics do not necessarily apply in the same way they would in a businessperson's personal life (Carr 1968). To consider his argument, one must first come to working definitions of . Carr sees bluffing as distinguishable from lying in two important ways. First, it is done in such a way or situation that the whole truth is not expected (Carr 1968). For example, if one asks a car salesperson, What is the best price you can offer on this car? most would not expect the price he or she quotes to be the real best price. Instead, the savvy car buyer takes it as a starting point for negotiation (Allhoff 2003). Second, bluffing usually involves withholding part of the truth about a matter, rather than stating falsehoods (Carr 1968). Bluffing can therefore be consider a game strategy employed by one or more persons who withhold, misrepresent, exaggerate, or in some way allow others to misinterpret the truth to enhance the strength of their position during negotiations (Car 1968, Allhoff 2003). Business ethics is a bit more difficult to define. Chryssides and Kaler (1993) believe it is a by-product of the actions taken in a variety of ethical situations. While in part a system of normative behaviours agreed upon by the majority of those involved in business, business ethics may also be thought of as the spoken and unspoken guidelines of the business community that exist to assist those in the business world in resolving questions of conduct (Chryssides and Kaler 1993). In this paper, we will examine the ethics of bluffing and game strategy behaviour through an analysis of Carr's essay. Main points of this comparison will be related to well-known cases related to business ethics, with an integration of James...
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