Importance of Good Business Ethics Term Paper

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In addition, the researchers found
that on three of the four dimensions, the salespeople were ethical in their
conduct, including the use of moral reasoning in the service of both
prospects and customers. The only dimension to not test statistically
significant was the information dimension, as many of the sales people in
the study did not routinely file reports with their managers. This is
fascinating analysis as it has been pointed out in many of these studies
that given the geographic isolation of sales representatives the tendency
to treat unethical behavior as an alternative and an accelerator for goal
performance. The research presented however shows that salespeople, when
given clear objectives that require a high level of activity, see ethics as
the most efficient means of qualifying, initially selling to, and growing
customers. Ethics in the context of selling is an excellent business
strategy based on the research presented; it immediately qualifies or
disqualifies prospects as customers and gives the sales person, often
working alone, an avenue to preserve their most important asset, which is
their reputation and credibility.
In another study focusing on the performance of real estate agents and the
correlation of their ethical intelligence as measured in a self-
administered questionnaire, Izzo (2000) found a statistically significant
relationship between real estate agents' income, repeat business and job
status and the agents' ethical intelligence. Further, the analysis also
showed that the higher the level of professional licensures, the greater
the level of ethical behavior as self-reported and also observed in staff
meetings. Real estate agents who then aspire to become the trusted
advisors of their clients and seek a long-term relationship and not merely
getting the next house sold are by far more effective and earn higher
levels of income relative to their counterparts. While outside the scope
of this study, the role of trust is a very critical one in the performance
of both individual sales people and emanating up through an organization,
all the way to the senior managers and C-level executives running the
company. Trust is the outgrowth of ethical behavior over an extended
period of time, and this is the most difficult corporate of all to attain
yet the most valuable to have.
Alleviating Ethical Meltdowns
What is also clear from the accumulated research on ethics, is that the
lower the level of ownership in setting sales and performance objectives,
the greater the tendency to resort to unethical behavior. The less a
member of an organization sees consequences for a lack of ethical behavior
to attain objectives, the more the tendency to resort to unethical
behavior. Illustrative of this point, a Sales and Marketing Management
survey of 200 managers found nearly half lied on sales calls when their did
not have a direct voice in the defining and measuring of those objectives
(Marchetti, 1997).
Assigning clear accountability and allowing salespeople to have a voice in
their own objectives makes a major difference in their choice of ethical
behavior. This dynamic applies to both individual contributors to senior
executives in corporations. The core values defined at the beginning of
this paper need to be brought to the forefront of management techniques to
ensure that there is a higher level of visibility and transparency into
organizational activity. Only when this level of transparency and
ownership of objectives will ethical behavior change in many organizations.


Behrman, D., & Perreault, W. (1982). Measuring the performance of
industrial salespersons. Journal of Business Research, 10, 35-70.

Economist (2006) - Virtual Champions. Economist Magazine. Downloaded from
the Internet on April 23, 2007 from:

Josephson, M. (2001) - Making ethical decisions. Josephson Institute of
Ethics. Marina del Rey, CA. Retrieved April 23, 2007 from the World Wide

Institute for Global Ethics (1996) - Global value, moral boundaries: A
pilot survey. Camden, ME. Retrieved April 23, 2007 from the World Wide Web:

Izzo (2000) - Cognitive moral development and real estate practitioners.
Journal of Real Estate Research, 20, 119-142.

Lichtman, J. (1998) - Invoke employee loyalty. Workforce, 77, (1), 121-122.

Marchetti, M. (1997) - Whatever it takes. Sales & Marketing Management,
149, 28-37.

McKerrow, K. (1997) - Ethical administration: An oxymoron? Journal of
School Leadership, 7, 210-225.

Sarbanes-Oxley (2002) - Discussion of the Act, downloaded from the Internet
on April 23, 2007 from:

Schwepker, C., & Ingram, T. (1996) -…[continue]

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