There are a lot of examples of unethical business practices. Especially in the World we are living in today, every company, be it big or small, is looking for ways of making larger profits, and for this purpose they don’t always play fair. The economic crisis is taking its toll on every kind of business, creating a huge pressure for quick remedies and ideas that can assure a fast profit. Some business practices that were considered unethical in the past seem to have become legitimate ways of attracting new customers, of or creating bigger profits; all this because of the shock the economy has sustained during the crisis. Although the cause and effect can also be considered reverse in this case, because one of the main reasons of the economic crisis is exactly the use of unethical business practices. So, here is a list of business practices that are considered unethical, although the line between ethical and unethical seems to get blurrier every day:
· Dumping. This is an unfair business practice that sometimes big companies employ in order to destroy the local competition and obtain a monopole of that certain product in that specific market. This is done by flooding the market with the big company’s product, which are sold at loss, but at much lower price than the competition. Therefore, if the big company can afford to sell at a loss for a long time, the competitors will lose their market, and eventually will go bankrupt. In the aftermath of this operation, only the big company will remain as a provider of that certain product, with every competitor wiped out, and so they can increase the price, as much as they want, and thus recuperate their losses, and make a substantial profit as well until another competitor appears a on the market to challenge their position.
· Labor union opposition. This is one of the classic examples of unethical business practices. Employees are prevented from forming a labor union that can represent their interests. One of the biggest companies that has this policy is Wal-Mart. They instead have the open doors policy which allows and encourages every employee the right to take their complaints beyond management level. But this is in no way an effective form of protecting workers rights. Most Wall-Mart employees end up quitting during the first year. The employees that are considered too out spoken can be easily fired. This way the company can take care of every employee individually, rather than dealing with an organization that would have bigger power.
· Discriminating employees on the basis of sex, race, or religion; Discrimination is still a big issue in many countries. Even in the most developed ones, such as the United States it is still a delicate issue. Equality in the work place is now guaranteed by law, but the actual acceptance of people, who have different skin color, or opinions, is a long way away for almost all societies.
· Copying the style of packaging in order to mislead the consumer. This is usually done by smaller companies who produce lesser quality products and try to pass them off as high quality goods by using a brand name for example that can mislead the consumer in thinking it’s a much more famous brand name. For example shoes that are at a very low price and have the brand name PIIMA, can mislead a costumer into buying them, because of the resemblance to the much more famous brand name PUMA.
· Deception on size and content of a product. This is one of the most often seen examples of unethical business practices. It refers to deception in advertising. A product can be made out to appear much bigger, or have a much more significant content, than it really does.
· Omitting to provide side effect information. This is another example of unethical business practices. Of course this is sanctioned by law, but if a product can somehow get around testing by the authorities, it can be sold, without the mentioning of these side-effects.
· Incomplete or inaccurate testing of products. This is the domain of the public authorities who have the obligation to ensure that every product that goes out in the market is tested beforehand.
There are many other examples of unethical business practices, but these are the ones that stick out in the crowd. Of course, some, like the “bait and switch” have almost crossed that thin line towards legitimacy. It doesn’t mean that it is necessarily ethical, but it is getting to be more and more accepted. This tactic of getting a consumer hooked on a product and than thru aggressive high pressure sales techniques, trying to get him to buy a more expensive product, can’t really be called ethical, especially if we are talking about consumers who can’t always look after their best interests such as the elderly. So, the thin line between ethical and unethical isn’t any clearer.
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