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Effect of Religion on Decision Making

Personal Worldview & Business Ethics Paper

STEP 1

To what extent should personal religious beliefs impact our decisions about business ethics

  • My life has been redeemed and I have been made new through my relationship with Jesus Christ. The ‘old man’ in me still rises up, but the values I now hold, reflected in this relationship, guide me. My sense of right, of integrity, and of not compromising my beliefs, have been tested in my personal and business lives. My ability to stand strong comes from Ephesians 4:24, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” I have been given a new life and a new attitude; it is my reasonable service to honor this.
  • An opposing worldview, modernism, bases its premise on the fact that nothing exists except in the material world we can see. “…modernism rejects the possibility that there is more to the world than what we can directly access with our senses, or that there is a dimension of reality underlying what we can see that provides a source of meaning, purpose, and coherence beyond the physical events that we observe” (Kim, Fisher, & McCalman, 2009, p. 117). When we choose to live a life of faith that reflects our personal Christian worldview beliefs, these beliefs should naturally spill over and provide foundation for ethical business behaviors and dealings.

To what extent do your personal religious (or non-religious) beliefs about life impact your sense of business ethics and personal decision-making?

  • My personal religious beliefs form the core of my intentional business practices, and are reflected by the ways I treated the employees to the ways I treated our customers. Honesty, integrity, and respect governed my actions and helped to create a positive atmosphere which reflected my personal beliefs.
  • In my job as an assistant store manager for a retail organization, and my own clothing business, I valued each employee and customer; my conduct and relationships were honoring to those I served, and I sought to make the workplace a positive place to be. My chief goal with my customers was to bring respect, help, encouragement, and a listening ear so that they felt positive about their visit and shopping experience. In my personal business, the customer is first, my goal is to build excellent and caring relationships that affirm and serve.
  • A guiding verse for me is Romans 12:9-13 9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”

Does it seem odd to connect every belief we have about life back to what we believe about God?

  • It is absolutely right to connect every belief we have about life back to what we believe about God. When our core beliefs form a solid foundation for our lives, and we truly live out our faith, then these beliefs will be reflected. What we display in our daily lives, in our conduct and relations with others, will then represent and honor God for His gracious gifts to us.

         Dr. Fischer states that when scripture exhorts us to ‘go the extra mile’ (Matthew 5:41,

“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain”), we will use an integrity-based approach in showing honor, love, and respect to others.

Article 1- “What is a worldview and why is it important to me?”

Has your answers to either of the first two questions changed after reading article 1?

         My answer to the first two questions was supported by and strengthened after reading article 1. The foundation on which I conduct my business, whether working for myself or for others, reflects my belief in an eternal, creator God, who knew me before I existed (Ephesians 1:4, King James Version: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love), instilled in me the values of morality and integrity found in His Word, and continues to influence and guide me through our relationship. There are no other presuppositions or options for a believer than the presence of an eternal living, and personal creator.

Do you believe in absolute truth?  Is there more than one way/religion to understanding absolute truth about God and the meaning of life?

  • Absolute truth is defined as unalterable truth, inflexible belief, found within the Bible, God’s Word. It is only achieved through a relationship with Christ. Psalm 86:11, “11 Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” Walking is a continuous action; fearing God is giving Him due honor and respect. The only way to understanding absolute truth about God and the meaning of life is through His Word, following His precepts, and keeping my eyes on Him.

Do you believe that humans have free will in their decisions, or are they entirely a product of their personal environment, circumstances, upbringing, etc.

  • While our environment, circumstances, and upbringing can all affect our choices throughout life, we do have free will (the ability to make decisions based upon beliefs and what we believe is best for us) in our decision making. I have certainly made decisions based on my circumstance and life experience. However, Gal. 5:16 encourages us to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh. We have the freedom of choice to make what may be wrong decisions as well as right ones for our lives. As Christians, our free will ought to be governed by our beliefs in and adherence to God’s Word, rather than by the world’s standards.

Are things such as true love, beauty, and justice really possible, or are those values totally determined by cultural beliefs and norms?

  • Values, such as true love, beauty, and justice are influenced by cultural beliefs and norms, but God, through His Word alive in us, will determine how we live those values. I choose to see beauty or ugliness, love or hate, and justice or injustice based on my beliefs and adherence to the standards God established. I trust in the absolute truth of His Word. God, active and alive in me, and not the society or culture in which I live, determines my perception of these values.

STEP 2

Have your answers to any of the last questions changed after reading article 2?

  • The framework on which I build the criteria for being influenced by society, culture, and environment or by a living creator, is that of the absolute truth of the Bible. As such, while I can exercise free will, my individual responsibility is motivated and determined by my relationship with Him and the truth He imparts to me. My values, then, derive from the true understanding of moral concepts, the freedom I find in Him, and the eternity which He provides.

So far in what you’ve read and in what you’ve experienced in life, does it seem odd or offensive to see Jesus Christ as the foundation for life and meaning?

  • Jesus Christ gives my life value, meaning, and direction. He is the living, loving, and true God. By assigning God first place in my life, I find my purpose with others only through Him. As Brown, 2018, asserts “Believers should be growing in our knowledge of God on a continual basis as God gives believers the cognitive ability to be “increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10)” (p. 120). He IS the foundation for life and meaning and it is only morally right that this is reflected in my life.

STEP 3

Have your answers to either of the last two questions changed after reading article 3?

  • Article 3, Epistemology, stresses the absolute power of God to provide purpose and meaning to our lives. Thus, this absolute power provides clear direction for His absolute guidance in my life. It is not a controlling power, but one that allows me to choose to sin or not, to exercise my free will, and to accept or reject Him, doing all with humility, and not a self-righteous spirit.

Now that you’ve read all of the articles, how has your view of meaning, ethics and your own worldview changed?  What questions or comments do you have about what you’ve read?

         The idea that a worldview is the house, with the two important components of framework and foundation, helped me to understand the basis of my personal worldview, and delineated for me a clarity between a Christian worldview and any other perception. The axiology and ontology portions of the readings were especially helpful to further my understanding. There are no gray areas in understanding worldview, only black and white, all or nothing. Romans 12:2 states 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (King James Version)”. This is my goal, within a worldview perspective, exhibited in my business dealings, and modeled in my personal life.

References

Brown, C. T., EdD. (2018). Naturalistic or biblical worldview of human development. Journal of

Alternative Medicine Research, 10 (2), 117-123.

Melé, D., & Fontrodona, J. (2017). Christian Ethics and Spirituality in Leading Business

Organizations: Editorial Introduction. Journal of Business Ethics, 145 (4).

Kim, D., Fisher, D., & McCalman, D. (2009). Modernism, Christianity, and business ethics: A

worldview perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 90 (1), 115-121.

Business Ethical Practices

Introduction

Fischer (n.d. a) defines ethics as the right way of doing things, and that when a company is corrupt, and breaks the law by moving into the gray areas, then this leads to ethical and legal violations. An act is considered ethical when these criteria are met: respect for basic human rights, alignment with good character, the benefits and costs are distributed fairly, and the net benefits exceeds the net costs (Lawrence & Weber, 2017, p. 106). Following ethical practices is a choice; the cost of violating these practices harms the corporation and all of its stakeholders. Consumer confidence is built when working conditions are ideal, employees are respected and valued, transparency and caring are practiced, environmental principles are followed, and laws and regulations are adhered to.

Ethical Practices #1

  • Hasbro is an excellent example of an ethical company, in which management leads from the front and sets the example for corporate behavior. In 2002, Hasbro developed an innovative program of five training modules for all executives, in which “significantly, personal leadership and ethics were among the five” (Anonymous, 2006).
  • In the article, “Hasbro Launches Global Supply Chain Well-Being Program, 2018), female workers are afforded the opportunity to gain the confidence and skills needed at work and in life. Through Gap Inc.’s PACE program (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement), various training opportunities have provided “an increase in self-esteem, workplace influence and efficiency” (Hasbro Launches Global Supply, 2018).
  • In 2010, Hasbro replaced all wire packaging ties with ones made of bamboo or paper. In 2011, policy was implemented to source paper from recycled content. In 2013, Hasbro eliminated PVC from all its toy and game packaging. Hasbro CEO Goldner stated “Our commitment to corporate social responsibility is behind everything we do at Hasbro” (Hasbro Pledges to Eliminate PVC, 2011) as they minimize the manufacturing impact on natural resources.
  • Hasbro has a number of philanthropic initiatives, including its Be Fearless Be Kind anti-bullying program (Hasbro Children’s Fun Launches, 2017), and the Autism Project for its ToyBox Tools resources (Hasbro and the Autism Project, 2018). Both initiatives seek to develop the concepts of empathy, fairness, sharing, and caring.
  • Over the years, Hasbro has participated in several programs to foster ethical relationship, while giving back to the community, including RightNow!, composed of churches, human service agencies, and businesses, and which brought together families with diverse backgrounds for the purpose of urging ethical reform in government. Internally, Team Hasbro is a company-wide program that gives employees four paid hours each month to volunteer in their communities. Hasbro Children’s Hospital, in Providence, Rhode Island, provides excellent medical care and innovative programs for children and young adults.  (Hassenfeld, 2011).
  • Hasbro was ranked #1 in 2017 on the 100 Best Corporate Citizens List by CR Magazine. The list is “based on a rigorous, independent analysis of the companies in the Russell 1000 Index across 260 data points. Hasbro’s advancements in sustainable packaging, renewable energy and climate change, as well as human rights, inclusion and community, contributed to its No. 1 ranking” (Hasbro Takes Top Spot, 2017).

Unethical Practices #2

  • Volkswagen, the third largest auto manufacturer in the world, violated several emission standards, when, in 2015, it disclosed that “nearly 11 million diesel automobiles were intentionally equipped with a ‘defeat device’ software that allowed them to cheat emission testing” (Huckabee, 2018, p. 155).
  • Robert Bosch, GmbH, supplier of the defeat device, and one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, was investigated for rigging engines to recognize testing, (Merenda & Irwin, 2018). Exhibiting a desire to further its strategic objectives and capture the market for diesel vehicles in the US combined with the emphasis on fuel economy, “VW elected to knowingly deceive automobile buyers and regulators” (Huckabee, 2018, p. 160).
  • According to Huckabee, 2018, VW violated the 1970 Clean Air Act for emissions, and CAA prohibitions against installing a defeat device, as well as violating the certificate of conformity prohibitions. As Huckabee also states, “…ethics refers to rules or guidelines that establish what conduct is right or wrong for individuals and for groups. For years, VW knowingly, willingly, and intelligently chose to deceive its consumers and the general public violating both standards for acceptable conduct” (Huckabee, 2018, p. 157).
  • Several corporate executives and engineers were initially persecuted and convicted followed later by the company’s admission that the behavior was corporate as well as individual (Crête, 2016). From the corporate governance aspect, “the question to be asked is whether the culture, values, priorities, strategies and monitoring and control mechanisms established by the company’s management board and supervisory board – in other words “the tone at the top”-, created an environment that contributed to the emergence of misbehavior” (Crête, 2016, p. 28).
  • VW has a history of unethical conduct, as also, from 1993 to 2005, Volkswagen was involved in scandals involving bribery, pirating, patent infringement and prostitution (Merenda & Irwin, 2018).
  • Due to the diesel scandal alone, the company’s unethical actions impacted VW’s stockholders and consumers, but consumer perceptions for automobile manufacturer BMW, also dropped, indicating that similar competitors also be negatively affected by scandal (Trump & Newman, 2016).

Conclusion

A corporation’s ethics position is under corporate control; unethical managers will pursue their own self-interests through cheating, fraud, unlawful practices, and deceit. Volkswagen, in 2017, pled guilty to three counts of criminal felony and paid $2.8 billion in criminal penalty (Rogerson, 2017). Rogerson also asserts that “Volkswagen intentionally deceived those to whom it owed a duty of honesty” (p. 31). Ethical managers place ethics and corporate responsibility as a priority and weave ethical principles into strategy and stakeholder relationships; their worldview house is built upon a firm foundation. Unethical managers are not resisting the temptations or opportunities to make unethical choices. Dr. Fischer reminds us that covenant is a morally informed agreement consisting of mutual care and accountability, and that ethics is more than just getting by, but is an act of service to all we are in relationship with (Fischer, n.d.b).

References

  • Anonymous. (2006). Hasbro and Executive Development. Development and Learning in Organizations, 20 (1), 26-29.
  • Crête, R. (2016). The Volkswagen Scandal from the Viewpoint of Corporate Governance. European Journal of Risk Regulation, Vol. 7, Issue 1.
  • Fischer, K. (n.d. a) Ethics and Corporate Responsibility Basics.
  • Fischer, K. (n.d. b) Worldview, Covenant, and Ethics. PowerPoint.
  • Hasbro and the Autism Project Partner for ToyBox Tools. (2018). Professional Services Close-Up. Business Insights: Global.
  • Hasbro Children’s Fund Launches Be Fearless Be Kind Initiative. (2017). Entertainment Close-Up, Business Insights: Global.
  • Hasbro Creates Global Supply Chain Well-Being Program. (2018). Manufacturing Close-Up, Business Insights: Global.
  • Hasbro Pledges to Eliminate PVC from Core Product Packaging. (2011). Manufacturing Close-UpBusiness Insights: Global.
  • Hasbro Takes Top Spot on CSR Ranking. (2017). Entertainment Close-Up, Business Insights: Global.
  • Hassenfeld, A. G. (2001). Hasbro’s Leadership Spans Business and Community. Providence Business News, 16 (3), 31.
  • Huckabee, G. (2018). Ethics and Justice—What Penalty Should Volkswagen Be Compelled to Pay for its Unethical and Unlawful Conduct, and on What Basis? Journal of Leadership, Accountability, and Ethics. 15 (4), 155-182.
  • Lawrence, A.T. & Weber, J. Business and Society: Stakeholders, Ethics, Public Policy (15th ed.), New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Merenda, M. J. & Irwin, M. (2018). Case Study: Volkswagen’s Diesel Emissions Control Scandal. Journal of Strategic Innovation and Sustainability. 13 (1), 53-62.
  • Rogerson, S. (2017). Is Professional Practice at Risk Following the Volkswagen and Tesla Revelations? Computers and Society. 47 (3), 25-38.
  • Trump, R. K. & Newman, K. P. (2017). When Do Unethical Brand Perceptions Spill Over to Competitors? Marketing Letters. 28 (2). 219-230.

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