An Ethical Dilemma in the “Government, Regulation and Business Ethics” Case Study
Ethics is a term that is used to refer to moral behaviours in the society, a business organisation, or any other setup. Ethics are at times referred to as moral philosophies. Ethics determine what behaviour is good or bad within a given society. In business, ethics have become important in the bid to gain a competitive advantage (Painter-Morland & Bos, 2011).
For instance, a business that is known for good morals is likely to be more competitive compared to a business that has bad morals.
It is the same case for governments and government organisations. Governments are expected to behave in an ethical manner to gain the trust of their citizens. This paper is a discussion of a case study that focuses on the ethical dilemmas of governments, as well as business organisations and their regulations.
Ethical issues in the case
The major ethical issue that arises in this case regards the relationship that the government has with business organisations. The government is supposed to protect the interests of the public and not the interests of certain individuals or businesses.
When the government establishes a close relationship with a business organisation, its ability to protect the interests of the public may be questioned because such a government will likely protect the interests of the business. In this case, for instance, Dionisis is the Mayor of Dorodoko and the representative of the government. On the other hand, Costas is a businessman and a contractor.
The two have been great friends since childhood. They are also business partners as they meet regularly to discuss business. Dionisis has been vital in the bid for Costas to get contracts in the municipality. Although Dionisis does not directly push for the bids on behalf of Costas, he provides him with significant information that Costas later uses to win the bids.
This helps Costas secure the contracts. The ethical issue that arises from this is the leakage of vital government information to the business. Costas, on the other hand, has been helpful to his friend Dionisis in that he is always on time to fix anything that needs fixing in Dionisis’s house.
He also catered for 200 people in Dionisis’s birthday party. It is in order to say that Costas does all this to impress his friend. In turn, he is helped to secure government contracts (Hooker, 2011).
Another issue in the case is the fact that Dionisis has been offered a swimming pool construction contract in his home by another contractor if the contractor wins the tender to build the municipal swimming pool.
After telling Costas about this, Costas thinks that he can hide the accounts of the private swimming pool in those of the municipal swimming pool. It will be a misuse of public resources if he does this in the name of securing future business.
Main ethical arguments for and against the building of the swimming pool for Dionisis
Building a swimming pool for Dionisis will be a strategy that Costas can use to secure future contracts in the municipality. Costas will be sure of getting good business in the future considering the fact that Dionisis is the Mayor and he is usually in charge of most contracts. Costas is also aware that building a swimming pool for his friend will be something small considering the contracts he will likely get in the future.
It can be considered as a way of promoting or advertising his business. Costas will be creating a good relationship with his customers, in this case the municipal government. Therefore, this can be considered ethical. The purpose of any business organisation is to make as much profits as it can.
The organisation is, therefore, responsible for creating this business for itself by attracting customers and creating a good relationship with the customers. It can create this relationship by offering discounts or promotions to its customers. This is exactly what Costas is doing in this case.
He is trying to secure future business with the municipality by constructing a swimming pool for Dionisis. It is important to note that Dionisis did not ask for anything from Costas. This is ethical if viewed from one perspective. It is Costas who thinks it is good to do the favour for his old mate to secure future business.
Although Costas is doing the right thing to promote his business, he is doing it in the wrong way. Costas intends to secure future contracts at the municipality, but the beneficiary of his promotional strategy is not his actual customer. Dionisis is the one to benefit from this activity, yet he is not the actual customer for Costas business. It is an ethical issue of the government and business relationship.
Dionisis is taking advantage of this to get a swimming pool in his private home. In the long run, this could be considered as a misuse of public resources. The right procedures should be followed in offering the contract to the right construction company.
Dionisis is not supposed to take advantage of his position to benefit himself as a Mayor and a representative of the government that is supposed and expected to take care and protect the public interests. He is supposed to offer the contract to the right company and use the basis of merit to select the right contractor. As mentioned earlier, Dionisis did not ask for anything from Costas (Hooker, 2011).
However, the essence of telling Costas about the offer he is getting from the other construction company could be meant to indirectly drive him into offering something similar or better so that he can win the contract over his competitor and secure future business from the municipality.
It is also important to note that Costas will most likely get more contracts in the future if he does the favour for his friend. It is in order to say that Costas is being pushed into building the swimming pool for Dionisis as a favour so that he can also get favours in the future. This is not ethical.
Situation if Dionisis was a regular customer instead of a Mayor
One fact is that both Dionisis and Costas have been friends since their early years. It is normal for friends to make good offers for one another. People always give presents to their friends in a normal lifestyle. This is exactly what Costas has been doing for his friend Dionisis. He has catered for 200 people during a birthday party for Dionisis as a birthday present.
He is also considering building a swimming pool for his old mate. However, it is also important to consider the positions of both mates; that is, Dionisis and Costas. While one is a Mayor, the other one is a businessman who owns a construction company. The latter has been getting construction contracts from the municipality mostly due to the influence and the position of his friend Dionisis.
He is also willing to secure more contracts from the municipality since they are arguably expected to be numerous. He is aware of the fact that Dionisis is the Mayor and is in direct control of most of these contracts. He is also aware that he is more likely to strengthen the bond in their friendship if he impresses Dionisis. This will, in turn, increase his chances of getting the municipal contracts.
It is for this reason that he offered to cater for 200 people at the Mayor’s birthday party. In addition, he has always been on time whenever he is called upon to fix something in the Mayor’s home.
Further, he is now considering building a swimming pool for his old mate with his eyes set on the future contracts he is likely to get. He actually considers that this favour will be nothing considering the contracts he will get. With this in mind, therefore, it can be said that this situation is as a result of Dionisis’ position as a Mayor. The situation could have been different if he were not a Mayor (Hooker, 2011).
My advice to Costas if I were Cassandra
Every woman will be happy to see his husband’s business do well. Therefore, it is normal that Cassandra might be excited at the fact that his husband will get many more contracts in the future if Costas tells her about this.
Considering the ethical part of morals, I would advise my husband against the move if I were Cassandra. On the other hand, considering the business and the fortunes part of the case, I would advise him to go ahead and do it.
Hooker, J 2011, Business ethics as rational choice, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ
Painter-Morland, M & Bos, R 2011, Business ethics and continental philosophy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK
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