Ethics in Business
Business ethics guide and protect proper business policies with key regard to controversial issues such as bribery, corporate governance and corporate social responsibilities. A company that runs on unethical behavior could be harmful to both the economy and to human life. Such policies need to be protected including advertising so that unsuspecting consumers can be protected from savage organizations. The value for human life should be put into best considerations since it is affected in many ways by business conducts. The discussion reviews advertising and safety of products with examples.
Advertising is useful in providing consumers with information about products and services in an effort to persuade them to buy them. Since a manufacturer or corporation knows best about their products, it is their duty and responsibility to give truthful information to consumer stake holders. It is such a pity that most corporations such as fast food and tobacco industries tend to provide deceitful information so that they can maximize on profits. Even though it is supposed to provide consumers with information, the major aim of advertising is to sell goods and services which leads to false and deceitful information (Verma, Gorthi, 2017). In an advertisement, both the consumer and the manufacturer play a role since part of the responsibility lies on the buyer since they chose to believe the advertisement.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) monitors misleading advertising and is allowed by the FTC Act to protect consumers against deceptive practices. Such practices include:
- Misleading consumers with false information and half truths
- Affecting consumer behavior in terms of decisions made about purchasing the product
- Causing an injury that could be substantial or that could be avoided reasonably
An advertisement could be considered misleading if relevant and important information is left out or if it gives false information. Like in the case of Actavia and DanActive yoghurt, the Dannon Company received a class action suit worth of $45 million payable to its consumers. This was after a judge in Cleveland ruled against the company for false advertising. The company claimed that their products were “clinically and scientifically” proven in their ability to boost immune systems and regulate digestion. They were ordered to retrieve such statements from their advertisements. This company promised something that it could not deliver and yet it still charged 30 percent more than the other premium brands. They manipulated free choice hence violating advertising ethics.
Safety of products also proves to be one of the most violated business ethics today. Each year, thousands of people lose their lives to products such as drugs, silicone implants, toys, and electrical appliances which they assume are safe. Manufacturers add manufacturing costs to retail prices of the product thus making price sensitive consumers to trust the product (Joyner, Payne, 2002). Consumers use the logic of the more expensive a product is, the higher the quality not knowing it is a marketing strategy. Serious questionable instances of quality of products have risen since manufacturers lack to take precautions that warrant safety of products consumed by the public. This especially affects commercial products such as sea, air and spacecraft’s which consumers lack control.
The National Commission on Product Safety states that risk of products should be reasonable in an effort to safeguard the human life value. Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is one of the biggest health care providers globally. Following a civil liability case, the company paid more than $2.2 billion with allegations of prescribing drugs like Invega and Risperdal that were not safe for consumer use (Justice News, 2013). They distributed drugs that had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hence, fraud settlements. The company put in jeopardy the safety and health of patients not to mention damaging public trust in the health industry (Justice News, 2013). Putting profit ahead of health of patients is a misuse of tax payers’ dollars and a disgrace to human life values hence, a violation to business ethics.
Justice News.( November/4/2013). Johnson & Johnson to Pay More Than $2.2 Billion to Resolve Criminal and Civil Investigations. Retrieved from; https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/johnson-johnson-pay-more-22-billion-resolve-criminal-and-civil- investigations. Department of Justice
Joyner, B. E., & Payne, D. (2002). Evolution and implementation: A study of values, business ethics and corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 41(4), 297-311.
Verma, A., & Gothi, T. (2017). ETHICS IN ADVERTISING. International Education and Research Journal, 3(6).