Is Business Ethics an Oxymoron? - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1334 Words
Date:  2022-06-13


Business ethics are morals that guide the operation of a business. When a business acts in an ethical way, it is able to distinguish between what is right and wrong and make the right choice in their various operations ("Business Ethics: Oxymoron or Good Business?" n.d., 32). In business, people have had the cliche "Greater good "since it is it is not always easy to act ethically in a business or anywhere in life since it is hard to know what is the right thing to do in most instances. However, businesses are obliged to care about ethics since they are too part of the society that they operate just like communities are held together by virtues and ethics as failure to do so would result to unrests that would affect the operations of the business as well as the proceeds it gets (Cannon, 2006, 34).

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

The increase in global fraud and corruption in business has been responsible for the myths that greed is the foundation of business success and thus in the business's quest for profits, it can make all sorts of unethical decisions that will result to profits without minding about the societies they serve. Just like Aristotle said that a person who lacks ethics is just like a wild beast than a human being, business entities also need to have ethics that guide them so that they can peacefully co-exist with people around them (Broadie, n.d., 10). Therefore, the fact that ethics in any given society like in the societies that business exist are a critical issue in their growth, business ethics cease to be an oxymoron since the quest for profits by these businesses can survive and grow when the business uphold ethics.

It is a fact that businesses are always in the position to act morally on the grounds that the great businesses are those that uphold high standards of ethics. By saying so, it does not mean that upholding business ethics always result in monetary gains or that those businesses that do not uphold ethics are not likely to flourish and make profits. As a matter of fact, it has been seen that some business that makes the right decisions end up finding it somehow expensive as compared to when they accomplish things unethically (Waddell, n.d., 43). Therefore the meaning of saying that those businesses that uphold ethics end up being more successful is that generally and in the course of time, an organization is more likely to reap a lot from acting morally as compared to other organizations that do not uphold business ethics.

Research has been conducted by many scholars to establish the linkage between great business ethics and good business performance and they have discovered that there exist many cases of business that have always operated unethically and still record higher proceeds that those that uphold business ethics (Schoeman, 2014, 12). An example of such research is the study on firms that operate on money market and the research has shown that those firms that uphold business ethics record higher proceeds as compared to their unethical counterparts. Little research has shown that there exists no connection between business ethics and corporate profits as there is no investigation that was carried out and came with the results that there exists a negative relationship among profitability and good ethics within an organization.

This is because like in the normal life situation of a human being, no business can survive if its owner's starts believing that it is right to mislead other businesses, steal from the public or fail to honor guarantees as such would result to a breakdown of a society (Parsons & Chartered Institute of Public Relations, 2016, 35). Additionally, if ethics within the society where a business exists are not upheld, it is more likely that the business will fall as it will be affected by the adverse effects of immorality within a society. For example, businesses in societies that are war-torn like Afghanistan and Lebanon have crumbled due to lack of general public morals and also those in areas that are prone to crime too seem to suffer due to immorality.

The fact that businesses may act objectively when looking for profits may make some businesses to act deceptively when there is a picked up remark thus making the choice of making the right decision quite expensive as compared to advocating for business immorality. However, since businesses mind about their reputations, trustworthiness as well as relationships, they are more likely to have reverse discharges in the long run if they act in an unethical way (Gini & Marcoux, 2009, 32).

In the instance that a business is in the position to exploit its consumers, employees, suppliers or even creditors, the groups may think of how they could strike back on the business on a later date by either avoiding to transact anything with the business. When such an exploitative behavior and dishonesty continues, it is likely to affect many associations that existed between the business and its creditors, suppliers or even the society that the business operates. Consequently, the unethical behaviors result in the damage of the reputation of the business and especially today that there is internet and social media, a lot of information is accessible to the masses thus leading to much damage to the business (Gini & Marcoux, 2009, 37). Due to the fact that many people incline towards fairness, they will opt for organizations that are trustworthy and thus the untrustworthiness turns out to be expensive and the ethical conduct takes the upper hand at last.

Another reason why business ethics is not an oxymoron is that whenever profits and ethics compete, it is the ethics that win (Duska, 2007, 18). This is because, for those businesses with firm ethical conducts, they are tied to the obligation of observing the ethics for the greater good despite it being a tough decision to make but every time the decision is guided and tied to ethics of professionalism and business, the employee or entrepreneur will act in accordance with the ethics (Duska, 2007, 20). For example, in a hospital set up where a patient is in critical condition and he or she does not have a medical cover, the management may find it hard to authorize the treatment but since doctors are bound by an oath of helping the patient, they will help him or her up to the point that the help cannot be offered any longer. This is a clear scenario where profitability and ethics are in competition and ethics ends up winning as that is what is right for both the business and the society.


Therefore, from the cases and argument above it is clear that business ethics are not oxymoron since businesses operate within societies that are guided by morals and since both of them depend on each other the statement that business ethics are oxymoron only apply to the unprofessional lot who do not value professionalism as wells as the laid down conducts in their operations and these business actions end up propelling the public myth that business integrity is an oxymoron. It is thus the responsibility of every business entity to uphold high standards of ethics to avoid problems that arise from acting in unethical ways.


Broadie, S. (n.d.). Aristotle and contemporary ethics. Aristotle and Beyond, 113-134. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511551086.009

Business Ethics: Oxymoron or Good Business? (n.d.). Issues in Business Ethics, 51-65. doi:10.1007/978-1-4020-4984-2_3

Cannon, A. (2006). Business ethics: From oxymoron to defining the issue of 21st-century business. College & Research Libraries News, 67(6), 367-371. doi:10.5860/crln.67.6.7638

Duska, R. F. (2007). Contemporary reflections on business ethics. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.

Gini, A., & Marcoux, A. M. (2009). Case studies in business ethics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Parsons, P., & Chartered Institute of Public Relations. (2016). Ethics in public relations: A guide to best practice.

Schoeman, C. (2014). Ethics Can: Managing Ethics in the Workplace. Randburg: Knowres Publishing.

Waddell, D. (n.d.). Ethics and E-Business. E-Business Innovation and Change Management, 231-251. doi:10.4018/978-1-59140-138-4.ch015

Cite this page

Is Business Ethics an Oxymoron? - Essay Sample. (2022, Jun 13). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism