, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 71-78

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

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Abstract

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.

Robert F. O'Neil is Professor of Economics at the University of San Diego. Before recently returning to the classroom on a full time basis, Dr. O'Neil was Associate Dean of the School of Business and Director of the MBA program.
Darlene A. Pienta is presently Assistant Professor of Management at the University of San Diego. She teaches Business Policy and Organization Theory. Dr. Pienta is Editor, Management and Public Policy for theInternational Journal Of Value-Based Management. She is also a reviewer for the Social Issues in Management Division of the Academy of Management and the International Association for Business and Society. She has published, presented or chaired sessions in these associations. Dr. Pienta was a Fulbright lecturer at CETYS in Tijuana, Mexico in Fall, 1991.