Are Good Business Ethics Always Good Business?

In my last article, I wrote about Hasbro being honored by Ethisphere as one of the most ethical companies in the world. It is a wonderful honor; we in the toy industry can be proud of their inclusion.

But a question comes to mind – are good ethics always good for businessEthisphere, the company that publishes the list, certainly thinks so. Here is how they state it:

The World’s Most Ethical Companies historically outperform their peers and competitors financially, demonstrating a tangible ROI for doing the right thing. The connection between good ethical practices and financial performance, called the Ethics Premium, has been tracked for 16 years.


I hope that is true. I fear it is not.

Here is why: I once heard a business ethicist opine on the question of good ethics and good business. He surprised everyone by saying that good business decisions were not always the most ethical. If they were, there would be no concept of business ethics. The entire idea of business ethics only exists because the two do not always go together.

The next time you decide to forgo business in favor of ethics, know that what you are doing is not only virtuous,it is brave and it is hard. The simple truth is that you will not always be applauded for doing the right thing.

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