Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 71-78

First online:

Economic criteria versus ethical criteria toward resolving a basic dilemma in business

  • Robert F. O'NeilAffiliated withUniversity of San Diego
  • , Darlene A. PientaAffiliated withUniversity of San Diego

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Today's headlines suggest that economic criteria alone is the basis for business decision-making. This paper argues that while profitability is a legitimate end of business, it must be moderated by ethical considerations. But can business be both successfuland ethical? Practical examples highlight individuals who chose profitability over ethical responsibility and those who chose and continue to choose both. The authors propose that there is an ethical person profile. Corporate managers can resolve the profits vs ethics dilemma by modeling ethical behavior.