The modern business environment offers business owners more and more innovative tools and techniques to increase their revenues, create organizational culture, and generate success. Along with benefits available to many companies, more and more issues surrounding their honesty occur in the recent years. Fierce competition and a desire to earn much have made cheating and business fraud a commonplace. Cheating seems to integrate into marketing strategies, making fairness a rare characteristic.
Cheating is defined as one of the subclasses of deception. Bernard Gert (2005) associates cheating with a special case of breaking the implicit promise. Cheating takes place only in those activities which have a built-in objective and which is entered voluntarily. The basic rules of such activities are drawn up explicitly or grown out of custom. All the individuals to whom the rules are applied are guided and judged by the common system. They know what practices are forbidden, required, discouraged, allowed, or encouraged. The fact that the participants are guided and judged by that system is not considered irrational (p. 16). Such systems regulate the behavior of all the subjects that join it.
Cheating occurs when the subject of the system intentionally gains an advantage over other subjects by violating the standards of fair performance. These standards include statues, laws, nonlegal rules, ethical and moral principles, promises, etc. Cheating is a way for businesses to gain an advantage over competitors without incurring the costs of their effort. The calculus is the simplest: can we gain something for nothing without being punished? If yes, cheating becomes an integral part of company`s market strategy.
Dishonest practices are rooted deep in the competition. The fiercer competition is, the more cases of cheating in business setting occur to face the new requirements. One of the recent surveys indicates that one-fourth of employees, clients, or companies` leaders are asked to engage in cheating while 41% of them have carried out the act (Ferrell & Hirt, 2015). Every company must obey the laws aimed at not causing harm to customers, competitors, employees, or society in general. However, beyond these regulations, there is a strong necessity to compete to become the leader in the industry. Although many laws and rules have been passed to make monopolistic practices and activities illegal, companies still gain control over the market by engaging in the questionable practices that harm effective competition.
The increased number of cheating practices in business is associated with many social factors. Today, many leaders bear no accountability for their immoral or ineffective decisions. They do not exhibit an adequate level of integrity, saying that honesty makes them more vulnerable, allowing their rivals to take advantage of them. Cheating has become a norm and people no longer feel responsible for the consequences of their performance. Indeed, every worker has their best interests at heart. To survive, the companies are involved in cheating more often today than they used to be a couple of decades ago.
Cheating and competition have become the interrelated notions without which business is almost unimaginable. The problem is that the roots of the cheating practices used by companies come from cheating practices used by students to attain their educational goals. A habit of cheating appears during schooling when a child does not feel responsibility for plagiarizing or using other tricks to compete. This tendency is brought further into the adulthood, where these people use cheating to take advantage of others. Since they did not bear personal responsibility for their actions at college, the would not bear it when performing at the workplace. When such students are asked of cheating, some of them admit lying for their own purpose. They derive maximum benefit from these practices and avoid punishment. More than a half of such students explains that cheating is a norm which complies with the ethical standards of contemporary generations. So, the modern environment cannot expect companies not to cheat of they consider dishonesty a common practice.
Evidently, the society undergoes a tremendous change in people`s way of thinking and performance. Profit has become a primary objective intruded by the culture. Honesty and integrity are no longer valuable assets in every sphere of people`s lives. If dishonesty and cheating start early in the childhood and is not punished, these people will always be looking for doubtful ways to pursue their goals. Setting up their own companies, they will create an organizational culture based on cheating and dishonesty. Integrity today is treated as weakness and the leaders try to avoid it in order to stay safe.
Fierce competition becomes even fiercer due to people`s assumption to there is no existence without cheating. This notion has become an integral part of the everyday performance and then affected the business settings. Later-on, core business principles were transparency and honesty. This shift in moods is associated with the increasing number of companies that strive to be the leaders of their industries. Such companies perform without thinking carefully about the means and tools they use to achieve their organizational goals. Their leaders behave so because there is a dominating view that every subject of business environment relies on similar practices, sacrificing the interests of employees, customers, and the society.
Joining the market, new companies are forced to cheat in order to survive and gain profit. Otherwise, they will be unable to operate at a loss, making bankruptcy inevitable. Lack of personal responsibility since the early childhood and a tremendous shift in business ethics explains why companies cheat to go ahead.
- Ferrell, O. & Hirt, G. (2015). Business Ethics and Social Responsibility. In Ferrell, O. & Hirt G. Business. McGraw-Hill Education, New York.
- Gert, B. (2005). Cheating. Teaching Ethics. Retrieved from https://www.uvu.edu/ethics/seac/Gert-Cheating.pdf