Business Ethics

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Is Business Bluffing Ethical?

1. Reading

The term ’bluffing’ is a US expression for trying to deceive opponents in a game situation. For example, if you are playing a card game and you hold a weak hand, you may want to make your opponents think you have a strong hand to help you win the game. A more academic term for this might be ‘deception’.

Can you think of any games or situations that involve ‘bluffing’?

Ethics and morality
In a general sense the term ‘morality’ is about how we see right and wrong in our actions and those of others. In a similar way the term ‘ethics’ is used in relation to behaviour or decisions that could be judged to be right and fair by some but wrong and unfair by others. We might agree that it is unethical to pay politicians to support particular policies in Parliament, or that it is unethical to buy products from companies that we know are cutting down the rainforests in Brazil.

Is it ethical for a government minister in the Home Office (where rules on immigration are made) to employ a cleaner working illegally without the appropriate the visa ?

Part 1: Carr

Is Business Bluffing Ethical? Carr: Section 1

Task 1. Reading
Read the first section of the Carr article quickly to get a general idea of the writer’s position. Do this without stopping to check vocabulary.

What is Carr’s idea of bluffing in business?
a. Business is a game with its own rules of right and wrong, but its standards are the same as that of society in general. b. Bluffing is part of the rules of the game of business and it sometimes involves some form of deception. c. Bluffing in business is lying and it should not be allowed to continue.

Task 2 :Vocabulary check.
Read more carefully and try to guess the meaning of these words in the text by reading the sentences immediately before and after. Choose the correct meaning from those given.

P3 ‘falsehood’……a. the truth b. a lie c. a theory. P3 ‘cited’…….a. to write a quote b. to give an example c. to place P3 ‘analogy’a. a difference from b. a comparison with something similar c. an example P3‘takes it for granted’a. to accept to be true b. to give a reason c. to make a decision P4 ‘constrained’………a. encouraged by the situation b. restricted by the situation c. unwilling

P4 ‘permissible’…….. a. impossible b. unpopular c. allowed or accepted P5 ‘injurious rumours’ a. causing physical harm b. spoken lies that may hurt c. advertising

P6 ‘a far cry from’… a. very different from b. more important than c. more damaging than P6 ‘in cahoots with’. a. chatting with b. working against c. working together with P6 ‘to smear’…. a to say positive things about s.o. b. to say negative things about s.o.

Task 3: Discussion - Ethical and unethical behaviour

Before continuing with the text, read the cases below and discuss in small groups which of these you feel is more or less morally acceptable.

Case 1 A 58 year old man claims that he is 42 on his CV because he realises that there is little chance of getting a good job in a market that favours young people.

Case 2 An applicant for a job is asked which magazines he reads. He does not admit to reading some popular magazines that he thinks will not be well received and lies about reading several magazines to put himself in a good light.

Case 3 A company invests all its employees’ pension funds in its own stock. It does this while at the same time creating false businesses and partnerships which help to give an impression of financial success and stability. Later the company’s true position is discovered and it collapses, with employees losing jobs and pensions.

Carr: Section 2 – Pressure to deceive

Carr is actually using the game of poker as an analogy for business. Continue to read the second section and answer the following questions.

1. What examples of business bluffing does Carr give and are...
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