ROLE OF BUSINESS, PROFESSIONAL ETHICS IN TRADE AND OUR EVERY DAY LIFE

M.R. CHAUDHRY
June 16 - 22, 2008

Effort of decision making by companies, traders, businessmen, individuals and parties according to moral concepts and judgments is known as business ethics. It is the obligation of all of them to be honest to their customers, clients and to those they have any dealing in daily interactions. It is the responsibility of supervisors in a business concern and company to preserve the working environment and protect employees' genuine rights as far as possible.

It has been rightly analyzed that a good human rights environment is always good for business. Respecting human rights enhances worker's productivity and proficiency as well as management's output. On the whole it raises enterprise's productivity and profitability, which results in higher dividends to the owners and share-holders besides providing better scope for higher salaries and pecuniary benefits for management and workers. Workers work with more devotion, dedication and commitment produce higher and better quality products when they work in enterprises, which respect their dignity and rights. Companies which encourage free and critical thinking and which are able to send their workers and managers to institutes par-excellence and of high repute within the country and abroad to further improve upon their competence, managerial and technical knowledge and skills and to learn from the experience of their colleagues within the country and overseas can innovate most quickly and achieve higher echelon in the business world.

Surely, while companies consider seriously in the interest of wealth, they equally prioritize upkeep of their reputation. For that purpose they give a serious thought to abiding by ethics in their official business as well as social life as ethics promote human welfare. Some companies take initiatives in public welfare jobs like increasing the population of plants and trees in the country to give a valuable contribution in environmental safety; some companies go for providing water pumps and installing tube-wells to provide drinking water to communities in the areas where they operate and some others help in repairing, renovating schools and colleges and providing assistance to students in the form of text books, stationery etc.

Still there are companies, which make donations to hospitals and dispensaries for arranging free medical assistance to patients in far-flung poverty afflicted rural areas. Some of them provide medical aid to such communities by means of mobile dispensaries, duly staffed with qualified doctors.

Discussing ethics a little broadly, it may be worth-while to mention that promoting respect for human rights, which is the basic requirement of ethics, goes hand in hand with development of the rule of law. Corruption, hoarding, black-marketing and smuggling are unethical and immoral practices which must be curbed at all cost. We must, therefore, endeavour to behave and work honestly, efficiently and objectively in the best interest of our company, society and the country in fairness to all.

RULES OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ETHICS

If we strive to extend the values of different cultures, we will find common points.

- If we analyze the facts, we will realize that honesty and reliability benefit us.

- If we study a case from different perspective, we will discover the benefits of fair play.

- Respecting our colleagues is the smartest investment that we can make.

- Providing safe and healthy working conditions increases productivity.

- Making our performance transparent helps to inspire trust.

- Our little dissent can lead our institution in the right direction.

- Down-sizing labour force is only beneficial when each stakeholder is respected.

- To act as a fair competitor, we must establish our brand name.

- By developing new social security system, we can reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.

- We can increase our profit and productivity by acting against discrimination.

- All stake-holders will receive their due share if we protect the intellectual property.

- Our public relations will secure our reputation if it maintains quality and excellence.

- On-going changes in IT must be kept abreast with time as these are new forms of loyalty.

- Our economic achievements will only stand on firm footing if we diminish corruption.

- Long term success is possible if we constantly care for the environment.

- Let's care for our business by caring for our society that is for the welfare of our society.

MEDICAL ETHICS AND ISLAM

In Islam human beings are the crown of creation and are Allah's vicegerent on earth. They are blessed with reason, choice and responsibility. The goal of teaching medical ethics is to improve the quality of patient care by enhancing professional performance through consideration of the clinical values, beliefs, ability to recognize and analyze ethical problems. Medical ethics is one of the major areas where ethics are practiced in the field of health care. Medical doctors, nurses and staff all are required to adhere to medical ethics for the upkeep of health and care of the patients they are required to attend. There are a number of good names of some doctors, who were more responsive and kind to their patients. One of them was Dr. Amir-ud-Din who served for a long time in Mayo Hospital, Lahore as Chest Specialist. His dealings with his patients were legendary because he had no lust for money and would extend a helping hand to the poor and resource-less patients. Any violation of these ethics comes under the purview of professional misconduct.

ETHICS IN THE PROFESSIONS:

There are several special branches of applied ethics examining the ethical problems of different professions, such as business ethics, medical ethics, journalistic ethics, engineering ethics, legal ethics, and environmental ethics. There are also ethics in politics and economics.

While talking on ethics in politics, the scribe has recently come across news about wheat crisis in print media, which is reproduced below to show how unethical some of our rulers have been in defrauding the country. According to the news, the government of former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz exported surplus wheat (according to its initial claim) at the rate of $200 per ton.

After the shortage of wheat and flour in the country, wheat was imported at the rate of $515 per ton. Reportedly wheat was never physically removed from Pakistan. It was rather hoarded with ghost companies in the Gulf region acting as "importers".

It is urged that the new government should initiate an inquiry to fix responsibility for the scandal and punish the culprits as it is playing with the poor masses.

Presently sugar mafia is insisting that there are surplus stocks of sugar in the country and that they may be allowed to export these surplus stocks. However, it is being feared that it will be another scandal like that of wheat. The government must, therefore, control such unscrupulous elements, which make money and cause crisis by creating artificial shortage of food items in the country. People can only pray that sanity, good governance and ethics prevail to bring harmony and relief to the common man, who is always at the mercy of all types of mafias in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Readers would bear me out that before the shortage of sugar in the country, stockers and sugar-mill owners had sought for permission to export surplus stocks of sugar. But after that there occurred a sugar shortage in the market and sugar was (purported to have been) imported and prices of sugar in the local market reached a record high level. Some people say that there was also something fishy at the bottom.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS AND BUSINESS ETHICS:

It has been observed that sometime in the past some of our exporters and traders have been neglecting business norms and ethics and as a result of this negligence some of our valuable customers of mango, rice and kinno in the world imposed ban on the import of our agricultural products. This, besides causing irreparable loss, badly affected image and good name of the country. Our exporters should, therefore, ensure that they meticulously follow and fulfill the international law, business ethics and W.T.O. standards and requirements in exporting quality material, with proper standard packing, ensuring environmental safety standards at all levels and sticking to the terms and conditions of contracts with their buyers abroad. . No doubt our agricultural products like Basmati rice, Kinoo etc. are second to none. Only some care and caution is required for the upkeep of our image and boosting our economy.