Truth in Business- An Essay
Corporate honesty and integrity plays a major role in business performance. Running a business whose pride is built on being ethical and socially responsible is challenging, and a big number of firms resort to shortcuts in the name of profit making (Don, James, & Stephen, 2015). A deeper analysis of such companies reveals that honesty is not valued as an important attribute. However, it is impossible for a company to build trust if honesty is not a guiding principle in the manner by which it handles all work process aspects. In business, honesty goes beyond doing things the right way to expressing the values in which a firm is established. But, is telling the truth essential to good business practice? This essay argues that the virtue of honesty, integrity, and truth is crucial for successful business practices.
In Don, James, and Stephen’s 2015 Journal of Corporate Finance, the value of corporate honesty determines the performance level of a company. Poor performance by companies is attributed to the manner in which the business conducts its activities. Blames for poor performance of companies can either be labelled to internal or external factors. But, companies that blame external factors are not truthful. Performance of a company is internally instigated, and companies that blame themselves perform better than those that blame other factors (Don, James, & Stephen, 2015). Corporate governance of a business requires high codes of integrity, and this is where truth and business success gets evidenced. Managerial forthrightness and honesty adds value to shareholders for this implies that the firm has a higher chance of making the necessary corrections to boost performance in future. Dealing with business problems requires managers to be open, frank, and honest to all interested stakeholders. If a company performs unsatisfactorily, it should blame itself and avoid blaming the government, industry conditions, competitors, and the economy at large.
According to (Sampson, 2018) article, truth in business establishes an excellent company culture. Whether a bottom-up or a top-down organization, honesty remains to be among the most efficient ways of establishing a work culture that propel a business to long-term success. Workplace culture entails the beliefs and values that drive all business activities of a firm, and this ranges from how the products get made to the manner in which they get marketed to the target consumer (Sampson, 2018). For managers, the significance they place on truth and honesty creates the kind of work culture in which employee feel validated and empowered. On the other side, companies that have a chronic culture of lying cannot be trusted. Some companies lie to shareholders about their financial state. For example, Toshiba whose culture is abnormal and lacks honesty for all financial information revealed to the shareholders are untrue. With dishonestly, poor work culture is established (Sampson, 2018). Transparency with employee shows honesty, and this builds on their morale thus improving their productivity.
Also, (Don, James, & Stephen, 2015)argues that truth in business builds trust with company customers. Some companies are used to bullshit when advertising their products and services to the target market. This kind of bullshit places firms in danger of losing customers loyalty in the event the target consumer realizes that the information advertised is untrue. In Joel’s 2000 agreements, building customer loyalty and trust takes years to achieve by a company, thus the main approach of building this trust is honesty. A target market that perceives a business to be doing things openly and caring about designing high quality products and services, they ultimately reward that firm. The Reputation Institute publishes a list of the most reputable firms in the US each year, and the companies are ranked on the basis of integrity, value, and trust they have built with customers (Joel, 2000). In 2017, Rolex was the leading company in the list, followed by Amazon, then Sony. All these companies have created recognizable brands that stand for integrity and honesty in terms of quality for consumer purposes.
Additionally, (Sampson, 2018) affirms that truth in business creates a consistent workplace behavior. Companies that create a culture built on integrity, honesty, and truth foster consistent workplace behavior and activity regardless of external influences. This implies that the organization’s workers will behave with a consistent code of work ethics no matter the circumstance. For example, a worker will show respect and help even if he/she encounters a rude customer that is on the wrong. Businesses that practice truth and honesty maintain a workforce whose integrity is high and unquestionable. Acts of truth and honesty have been evidenced in cases whereby employees go for business trips and truthfully account for their expenses although they have the opportunity to lie and get the money (Don, James, & Stephen, 2015). This workplace behavior is only witnessed if the business exercises honesty and practices the culture to an extent it gets established to all employees and their behavior remains consistent both within and without the workplace. Walmart is a good example in which the salespeople practice honesty while in the field marketing the retail products of the store.
However, studies by (Unseem, 1999) show that truth is a scarce commodity in business. For a whole variety of reasons, truth in business can prove threatening and best avoided. Some managers resist honesty actively, but personally inconvenient feedback. For instance, these leaders punish employees who speak up about something done wrongly in the business. A good example of such an instance is at Well Fargo where managers and staff were sacked for resisting unethical practices. Also, fraud experts feel the pressure to suppressing fraud findings from top leadership, direct managers, and peers (Sampson, 2018). It is no surprise to lie due to internal business pressures. This arises from all parties ranging from audit committees to co-workers. Such absence of truth in business results to lack of trust in managers by workers. Fraud cases contribute to dishonesty for the perpetrators find it difficult to disclose their fraudulent acts, instead they opt to conceal. In such institutions, the value of truth is undermined. The ultimate fate of dishonesty and lack of integrity is business failure.
Further, in Unseen’s 1999 article, “The Art of Lying: Can It Be a Good Thing,” there is nothing but truth that results to business success today (Unseem, 1999). In this reference, Kathy told the whole truth in her business operations to all stakeholders. In her sole entrepreneurship project, Kathy was very honest to Marriott International who first thought she was working for her employer- Chef Ready. Kathy was honest and left some blanks empty in her conveying of true impression and conducts of ethical business environment needs. She presented herself as bigger and more established that she was in the deal. Not cheating, Marriott never asked her about anything in relation to her employer. In describing the company’s future, it looked like it was present and existing. Entrepreneurs lie to win job deals, but this does not help at the end. In this case, lying in business is costly and disallowed under the code of ethics (Unseem, 1999). Once lies in business get recognized, the entrepreneur gets fragile and shy.
In Thompson’s 2017 journal “Fake News and the Digital Duopoly,” fake news has become seemingly fashionable. In a reality perspective, fake news are a pressing flaw and fraudulent issue because it goes against integrity of news and adverts by the digital duopoly_ Facebook and Google (Thomson, 2017). The commodification of Google’s content undermines the provenance for profit both willfully and knowingly. And this is succeeded by Facebook stream- whose journalistic jetsam is deemed fake. Combined together, Google and Facebook have established an ecosystem that is socially destructive and dysfunctional. The two companies have thrived by propelling news which cannot be distinguished as whether real or fake for they make huge profits out of their business. But, most information published in Facebook and Google is untrue and deceiving to the target market. The digital advertising media remains to be the most preferred promotional mode by most businesses (Thomson, 2017). Here, Google and Facebook do not question the authenticity and reality of these adverts. In this argument, fake news has helped the companies in making more profits. But, is this ethical of a company? The answer is no since integrity must be upheld in all business practices.
In Penny’s 2017 New Statesman Journal, the author talks about the age of bullshit. In the modern business world, comforting lies win more business than the truth (Penny, 2017). Bullshit business people are focused on destroying the whole concept of truth in business. Our business moment is now a “post truth” age. Explosion of fake news and adverts is currently practiced in the business world- to sway them from buying from honest firms to the dishonest dealers. This kind of business propaganda is unethical and inculcates a bad business culture that once realized, customers cannot trust anything they hear or read about online products. The language of business is increasingly getting political- where everyone in business knows the game. In business, people do not take everything as a joke; bullshit is treated as bullshit and cannot be tolerated anymore by the market (Penny, 2017). But what makes some bullshit businesses successful, from PR and salespersons, business merchants to demagogues, and doomsday cult leaders; it their ability in shaping their rhetoric exactly to the outer edge moves that is right. This bullshit business behavior is very dangerous than racism in the workplace.
In conclusion, truth in business contributes to success and improved performance. The market wants to buy from companies that upheld honesty and integrity in their business practices. Fake news and bullshit only damage a business’s reputation in the public. Honesty leads to the creation of an excellent work culture, consistent workplace behavior, and trust among customers. Therefore, truth in business should be made a core business value by all companies in order to practice ethical behavior in the workplace and upheld honesty among all stakeholders.
Don, C., James, C., & Stephen, F. P. (2015). Poor performance and the value of corporate honesty. Journal of Corporate Finance, 1-18.
Joel, M. (2000). The Truth about Lying. Philosophy Now, 1-2. Retrieved from https://philosophynow.org/issues/27/The_Truth_about_Lying
Penny, L. (2017). Why in the post-truth age, the bullshitters are winning. New Statesman. Retrieved from https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2017/01/why-post-truth-age-bullshitters-are-winning
Sampson, Q. (2018). Why Is Honesty Important in a Business? Chron, 1-6. Retrieved from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/honesty-important-business-22624.html
Thomson, R. (2017). Fake News and the Digital Duopoly. Wall Street Journal, 1-4.
Unseem, J. (1999). The Art of Lying: Can It Be a Good Thing? Fortune. Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archives/1999/12/20/270983/index.html
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