Ethical Business Practices

Topics: Ethics, Ponzi scheme, Business ethics Pages: 3 (889 words) Published: May 13, 2009

To behave unethically is something we all know not to do. We all know that it is wrong however many people still do. There are three main reasons why people participate in unethical behavior. The first reason is because of an overzealous pursuit of personal gain, wealth, and selfish interests. An example of this would be the use of a ponzi scam. The ponzi scam was is a scheme that was named after a man named Charles Ponzi. The idea of a ponzi scam is that it pays returns to investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors rather than from any actual profits earned. This was exactly what Bernard Madoff did. In 2008 Bernard Madoff was caught in one of the biggest ponzi scams in history. In total $50 million dollars were taken and lost from investors. This scam was solely for the purpose of personal gain for Bernard Madoff.

The next reason people participate in unethical behaviors is because of heavy pressures on company managers to meet or beat earnings. The most recent example of this would be WorldCom. At WorldCom there were incredibly high pressures from upper management to meet profit goals. With this pressure many managers hide costs and inflated revenues over a several year period. The scheme helped WorldCom make additional acquisitions, support its $30 billion debt, as well as allow executives to cash in on their stock options.

The final reason why people participate in unethical behavior is because the company culture puts the bottom line ahead of ethical behavior. This is exactly what happened at Enron. Enron had a program called “rank and yank.” In the “rank and yank” process your performance is evaluated yearly and if you are ranked the 15-20 percent lowest ranking employees you are let go or encouraged to seek other employment with a different company. This encouraged employees to report false profits in order to make themselves look better. Enron also gave away luxurious cars to their top performing employees which made...
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