There was a recent uproar over banks and financial companies targeting financially vulnerable people to sell their products like loans and credit cards. A study also showed that many institutions considered customers who requested credit extension as 'high-risk' as against those to whom such extension had been voluntarily offered by the company!
To begin with, ethical implication can be defined as the implied or assumed morality or ethical behavior that comes with anything that a person does, or with any position.
For example, school or college professors or office bosses are expected to be impartial to their students/employees and not play favorites; they are expected to be just and fair to all and not prefer one over the other. We expect the same from people in higher positions, like leaders; or want to see certain behavior in famous people, like celebrities.
You may have seen instances where people praise and praise a celebrity, but when he/she does something that does not fit into the scope of 'moral', they say disappointedly 'I knew this would happen. They always show their true selves sooner or later.'. This is when the implied ethical behavior that the said celebrity needs to follow, is not followed.
Similarly, there are some expectations of proper conduct from businesses as well. Given are some examples of ethical implications in various areas of business.
In Business As A Whole
Businesses borrow a lot from the society in the form of manpower, natural resources, land, etc. Hence, it is their responsibility to give something in return.
Ethical implications of a business include:
- Corporate social responsibility
- Corporate governance
- Protection of all Stakeholders and not just Shareholders
- Providing good-quality products and services to the consumers
- Morally sound and sensitive advertising
- Not discriminating between employees on any basis,
- Fair and just treatment to all
- An appropriate grievance policy
A business is accountable to many groups of people, and hence there are many ethical implications involved in different aspects of a business.
What do any of us expect from a leader? That he/she will take the nation forward and make people's lives a little easier; for example, by reducing the food prices, keeping a control on fuel price hikes, building better schools and parks, etc.
So basically, a leader (national, international, local, in any position) is supposed to make decisions in such a way that it does not cause anybody any harm, and leads to the progress of all the people.
And what happens when a leader fails to do that? It never works in his favor. Those in higher positions accused of money laundering and bribery are heavily criticized, many times made to resign. Some more examples are adultery, racist remarks, insensitive comments, etc. Thus, the ethical implication of leadership is defeated when such incidences occur.
In Target Marketing
Target marketing is segmentation of the consumer base into two groups - those towards whom the product is to be marketed, and the others. There are many advanced and innovative techniques for market segmentation based on consumer preferences, financial status, gender, and even race, color, or the amount of debt that a person is in!
Although this is a unique and very important method for companies to market their product, recent times have seen a lot of criticism thrown towards it for targeting customers that are 'vulnerable'.
For example, promoting fast food for kids, or harmful products like cigarettes among teens; other stark examples are providing loans or credit cards to people who are deep in debt or lagging behind in payments, retirement policies to senior citizens, etc.
Using target marketing for promoting products that are considered unethical by society, and aiming them at consumers who are susceptible to fall for them, is a serious violation of the ethical implications of a company.
In An Individual Reward System
An individual reward system, although innovative, is quite risky. It means that the employees are rewarded for their individual performances instead of an entire team being rewarded for its collective work. This system is risky because when 'individual progress' comes into the picture, people tend to put their own work and needs before those of the group.
The ethical code here is that people will work hard individually, which will also lead to the progress of the organization. However, the need for self-progress and self-preservation can lead to the goals of the company and the team being sidelined.
This was all about the meaning and examples of the term 'ethical implication'. Ethics are very important in everything that we do, not just in business. It is good deeds that help the world to progress.