Business Ethics and Ethical Decision Making


  1. NCAA encouraging ethics and compliance

The NCAA has used the realism moral philosophyto encourage ethics and compliance in college football (Ferrell,Fraedrich &amp Ferrell, 2015). The realism moral philosophy is ofthe opinion that human beings are naturally competitive. They arewilling to do anything to serve their interests in a competitivesetting. This philosophy does not assume that humans are naturallybenevolent and kind. In the quest for their personal interests, someare likely to engage in unethical behavior. It is for this reasonthat the NCAA was created- to curb unethical malpractices in collegesports.

NCAA encourages a culture of ethics andcompliance by developing a set of principles upon which collegefootball teams should operate. In what is dubbed “the principle forthe conduct of intercollegiate athletics”, the NCAA outlines themajor guidelines for college football. The principles touch on theconduct of athletics staff, the well -being of student athletes, andthe culture of sportsmanship among college athletes.

In addition, the body also stipulatesguidelines on the recruitment of players, the academic standards towhich the players are held, and compliance with NCAA rules. By makingthe principles public, the NCAA is trying to encourage ethicalbehavior and compliance. Ethical behavior is important for businessesto adhere to. If the body kept the principles a secret or left outkey information, then it would appear that the body is out to makemoney from fines instead of encouraging ethical behavior.

NCAA encourages ethics and compliance byenforcing the rules. Colleges incur hefty fines for non-compliance torules as well as to some ethical behavior. The body has ensured thatdisciplinary measures are stringent enough to act as a deterrentagainst future malpractices. Although some teams still engage inunethical behavior, the cases would have been more without theprinciples of this body.

  1. Criticism about NCAA Compliance against Ethics

It is true that the NCAA is more concerned withcompliance than ethical values. The body has come up with complianceregulations upon which all colleges must operate. Any institutionfound to be in violation of the principles is liable for heftypunishment. The hefty punishments are imposed to ensure compliance.The body is only concerned with the violation of its principles andnot the upholding of ethical behavior on and off the field. Forinstance, coach Petrino was not in violation of the board’sprinciples when he hired Ms. Dorrell despite the conflict ofinterest. As unethical as it may sound, it is surprising that theNCAA could not find fault in his actions. This particular incidentgoes to lengths to show that the body is only concerned with theviolation of its principles alone.

The NCAA does not organize campaigns to promoteethical behavior in college teams. It assumes the role of themalicious tutor that watches its students err so that he can punishthem later. Of course the NCAA gains from these fines, but then itshould do a lot more to ensure that ethics prevail in the game offootball. There are no media campaigns by this body, to supportethical behavior in the game. The body does not come out to condemnthe actions of individual players such gender violence or alcoholabuse, yet it claims to be concerned with the welfare of players. Inmy view, the NCAA is out to make money off penalties placed oncollege football teams rather than promoting ethical behavior.

  1. Proactive Response to ethics and Compliance

The first proactive response by studentathletes, coaches and university administration would be to reportany violations to the NCAA or other relevant authorities. From thecase study, it is quite clear that some colleges cover up non-compliance to avoid jeopardizing their revenue. A case in point isthat involving sexual assault allegations against a coaching staff.The university tried to cover up the crime in order to avoid taintingits image. Institutions can create a proactive response to ethics andcompliance by promoting a culture of integrity (Ferrell, Fraedrich &ampFerrell, 2015). Any actions that violate ethics should face fulldisciplinary action without fearing what the impact would be on theuniversity’s revenue. Institutions and coaches alike need to moveaway from the culture of placing more importance on revenue than onthe culture of integrity.

As Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrell (2015)indicate, the presence of role models for ethics, in an organization,is a proactive response to ethics and compliance. It is unrealisticfor the administration and coaches to behave unethically and expectthe student athletes to uphold ethics in retrospect. Enhancing ethicsand compliance ought to start from the top flowing downwards. Theadministration and coaches should lead the proactive response toethics and compliance by avoiding unethical practices duringrecruitment and handling the player welfare. If the top is clean,then the student athletes will have the motivation to act ethically.This is because ethics are part of the learnt behavior, where peoplelearn from each other, especially from the people leading them. Incontrast, if the administration and coaches keep indulging inunethical practices, the student athletes will not feel theobligation to stop participating in unethical practices such asbartering and doping.

  1. Kevin O’Leary’s Opinion about Poverty

When Adam Smith invented the philosophy ofFree- market capitalism, he relied on the morality and goodness ofbusiness people (Ferrell, Fraedrich&amp Ferrell.) However, asbusinesses began to grow in the late 18 Century it became largelyimpossible to uphold ethical behavior. Under the current capitalistsociety, managers are only concerned with profits without taking intoconsideration the possible impact of their decisions on the society.From the video, it quite unethical of Mr. O’Leary to claim that itis okay for 1% of the world’s population to control over 80% of itsresource (Neo, 2015). This is unkind to around 3.5 Billion people whoare living under the poverty line (Neo, 015). In addition, his claimsthat the few rich people act as a motivation to the poor, is aninsult to the poor people.

As much as the capitalist society dictatesevery man should take care of their interests, it is unethical forbusinesspeople to thrive on the sweat of poor people. Mr. O’Learyforgets that it is the poor people that provide labor and market forhis products. The poor might seem useless to O’Leary but he shouldremember that his businesses thrive only because they (the poor)decide to maintain political stability. It is ethical for the rich togive back to society because the society has played a major role intheir success. Not every poor person is a lazy bum surviving onbenefits. Some are in the situation because they lack opportunities.The likes of O’Leary are not rich because they are geniuses, it isall because of the opportunities they had. Maybe if O’Leary hadbeen raised in a politically unstable environment like the MiddleEast, he would not be in a position to ridicule the poor today.

  1. Trust in Business Practices

According to MacDonald (2015), ValeantPharmaceuticals has lost a better part of its share capital due tounethical engagements with a specialty pharmacy called Philidor. Manyshareholders have withdrawn their investment to the point of placingthe company on the verge of collapsing. I agree with the writer’sopinion of trust in the business.

No sane investor can entrust his money with abusiness that engages in unethical practices. When the malpracticecame to the public, the investors could not help but wonder how manymore were yet to come to light. They had to act fast. Businessesshould adopt a culture of upholding ethical behavior. Secretengagements should be a mirage for serious business ventures thatintend to maintain their investors. As Ferrell, Fraedrich and Ferrellwrite, ethical behavior emanates from the top of the hierarchy inboth centralized and decentralized organization structures. Wheninvestors find out the top leadership of the business is unethical,they automatically assume that the whole system is rotten.

Businesses should make all their operationstransparent. It is unethical for a business to make major decisionswithout informing its shareholders. The investor- businessrelationship can only prosper if there is mutual trust between thetwo. When the trust disintegrates, the consequences could be direlike in the case of Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Trust is very brittle-takes time to build, but can easily shatter in the shortest timepossible.


Ferrell, O.C., Fraedrich, J., &amp Ferrell, L.(2015). Business ethics ethicaldecision making and cases. 10thEd. Cengage Learning.

MacDonald, C. (2015). Trustis themost valuable asset any company has. Canadian Business. Retrievedfrom,&lt November, 2015

Neo, N. (2015). KevinO`Leary Says 3.5 billion People Living in Poverty is `FantasticNews`. YouTube. Retrieved from,&lt 8 November, 2015