Oxymoron or Good Business?
Thinking Out Loud with Jeff Van Duzer
There’s two phrases that we would talk about in our business ethics classes. One is business ethics, oh that’s an oxymoron. There is no such thing. And of course I would hardly reject that. The same time on the other side, we will sometimes talk about well you know, good ethics is good business, suggesting that if I just do the right thing, it will pay off at least in the long haul. But it’ll pay off financially. In many, many cases that’s true. And that’s because some of the basic way in which the world was created hasn’t been totally thrown out. There’s still underneath some of this, the imprint of God’s creative order. And you know, you can put it in practical terms. If I treat my employees well and respectfully, I see higher productivity, less turnover, and so you can kind of make those correlations. But what you really can’t do is make an equality. That is, if I do the right thing, it will in fact pay off for me in the long haul. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, not all the time. That’s why we call it ethics. Otherwise we would just make this you know, another section of strategy, in terms of how to maximize your returns. Sometimes doing the right thing costs you.
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