SUMMARY & CRITIQUE OF:
“Cheating in a Bottom Line Economy” (by David Callahan)
In “Cheating in a Bottom Line Economy,” author David Callahan explains the fundamental reasons for the decay of simple business ethics in today’s economy in order to meet bottom line standards. Callahan draws conclusions from everyday businesses such as auto mechanic services, law offices, and even professional medical firms to prove that people will almost always choose financial stability over integrity. The economic life in America has transformed itself into a vast land of professionals focused on achieving “lean and mean” businesses in efforts to achieve the “American Dream,” but in essence lose sense of their morals.
What happens when an employee is living a standard life with a job just barely getting them by? Executives at corporate headquarters decide to send down a new set of marching orders that drill employees with twice as much work for a sharply decreased base pay. Those marching orders have coined the term bottom line standards. American businesses have become highly competitive today in a market that is constantly changing to keep up with a new generation of ideas. These fluctuations in the economy have caused businesses to take different methods of actions to be competitive in the market. In the 1970’s Sears reigned as one of America’s well known retailers and shaped popular culture. As the market of demand became more competitive, Sears’ earnings began falling off the market. In order to get on the stock market, Sears had to cut 48,000 jobs and institutionalized a new compensation system (Callahan 31). As Sears set their new bottom-line standards to increase efficiency, it caused uproar from the employees. The demands of the company ultimately undermined the integrity of their workers. The pressure to make unpleasant ethical choices at work had employees “torn between moral integrity, losing [their] job, and trying to figure out how to work all this out”...
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