Many of us would probably imagine a grim scenario of ethics in business in foreseeable future. Perhaps the corporate scandals in the western world and frequent malpractices in the eastern world are responsible for such an opinion. Well, I beg to differ.
There are reasons why I believe business ethics would be seen with increasing importance in future operations of reputed brands. First, look at the changing trend of global curriculum of business schools. You will feel the pulse that business ethics is gradually getting a stronger ground than it had been ever before. In line with frequent whistle blowing in corporate houses in the western world, many corporations are incorporating business ethics in their internal training programs. Recent decisions by Unilever and Proctor & Gamble in Europe may be cited in this regard. While sometimes a brand can get away with some unethical practices, the reality is, somewhere along its journey, it will get caught and exposed in public with overnight extinction of its credibility and reputation. It takes years (and more) to build a brand, and it takes a day (or less) to ruin a brand. Who would be intelligent enough (?) to take this unnecessary risk? Probable answer: those who think “branding” is not important!
This ethical positioning of brands will probably bear huge importance in future in the midst of increasing unethical practices of corporations. After all, businesses run in a human society, that inherently requires businesses to be aligned with an ethical “personification” of itself, just as we expect a human being to have a level of ethical standard. If businesses and brands want to position themselves as a part of the society to be welcome and accepted by consumers in their hearts, business ethics need to be practiced as one of the core competencies in foreseeable future. We must not forget the fact that “brands” reside in human hearts, and we need to take proper care of that through business ethics.