Comm Reflective Essay

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Section 1
My Learning Journey…
in COMM101: Principles of Responsible Commerce
Initially, before I learn this course, I have always thought that a “responsible commerce” is only important to balance the economic cycle. In my initial essay regarding “responsible commerce”, I mentioned about child labor being one of the biggest issue of irresponsible commerce, I thought the reason of it being such a big issue was because it would affect the whole economical cycle. And I did not realize that responsible commerce would involve different kinds of principles of ethics and elements in business, Through this subject I have learned that ethical principles and standards in business define acceptable conduct in businesses which underpin how management makes decisions. Business ethics reflects the philosophy of business, one of whose aims is to determine the fundamental purposes of a company. However, behaving ethically is not quite the same thing as behaving lawfully, because ethics are about what is right and what is wrong; while law is about what is lawful and what is unlawful. What is unethical does not mean it is unlawful, for example, if a driver sees a car crash while he was driving, ethically, he should have stopped his car to see if there is any help that he could provide to the victim, but, still, it does not violate the law if he does not stop to help. It is the same in business. It would be ethical to take up partial responsibility to take care of the unfortunate after earning so much profit from the people; but not taking up the responsibility does not cause them to violate the law either. Another thing that I have learned about ethics is that there are different principles to define what is right or wrong. I would consider myself as a utilitarian because I have always thought that whether a matter is right or wrong depends on its consequence. If a person tells a lie, so that he would not hurt somebody’s feelings, he is ethically right. However, Kant’s theory is in contrast with utilitarianism. Kant’s theory judges a matter regardless of whether the consequence is good or bad, the action, for instance, lying is wrong, and then it is ethically wrong. In the commercial world, Kant’s theory gives organizations firm rules to follow in moral decision-makings. To Kantians, “morality must be based on the categorical imperative because morality is such that you are commanded by it, and is such that you cannot opt out of it or claim that it does not apply to you.” (California State University) Corporations use Kant’s categorical imperatives to command unconditionally on what is right for their employees to do and what is wrong to do. Kant’s theory had also taught me “humanity as an end, never as merely a means”, which means a person has his own inner worth and shall not be used by anyone for his or her benefits. (Shaw et. al., 2009) But in my opinion, this principle is fairly difficult to obey because, in reality, everyone is using each other as a means to benefit himself in order to survive. For example, at a private college, a lecturer is hired to teach students who have paid tuition fees to the college. The college is using the lecturer as a means to generate income. On the other hand, lecturer is also using the college as a means to generate income for himself when he receives salary after teaching the students. This example has taught me that the application of ethical theories is not constant and evolves from time to time. Like corporate responsibilities, they, too, evolve from time to time. In 1962, Milton Friedman argued that ‘there is only one responsibility of business, which is to use its resources and engage in profitable activities as long as it stays within the rules of the game’. He emphasized that when a business is increasing profits, it is being socially responsible and it is believed to be an “invisible hand” to create more employment opportunities, new goods and services for customers, profits for...
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