Term Paper: Non-Profit and For-Profit Ethical

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[. . .] Many companies are now brining in consultants to help the company develop a company-wide code of ethics that has real meaning. In order for ethical standards to take hold in a company, they must be more than merely platitudes. They must be real enough for all employees to take to heart. Most companies, when they are developing ethical codes, first take into consideration any areas in which the company and its employees may be ethically vulnerable. These ethical codes also strive to create ways to accurately measure the degree of ethical behavior the company and its employees are using. Companies are also hiring full-time ethical compliance officers and starting ethics 1-800 hotlines to which ethical violations of the company or its employees can be reported. In the 21st century, ethics in for-profit companies is serious business.

For-profit businesses are increasingly open to a host of liability issues to which they were largely immune in the past. Many of these liability issues stem from product safety. Product safety is a huge thing nowadays. In the past, a child could play with a toy that was not entirely safe, such as a Slip and Slide or a Paddle Ball, one in which there was the potential for injury, and the company that created the toy would not have to worry about a lawsuit if the child got hurt while playing with it. Similarly, a person could drive a car with windshield wipers that did not work and the company would not need to worry about being sued if the driver of the car got into an accident in the rain. Today, however, the parents of a child will bring a lawsuit if a child gets so much as a scratch while playing with a toy, and car drivers will sue if their seats are not comfortable enough. Therefore, companies now have to test and re-test their products for safety in a variety of situations, some of them quite implausible. However, all of the money that companies spend to make sure their products are safe is nothing compared with the money those companies could lose if they were to be sued over an unsafe product.

Companies may also find themselves in the position of being sued if their products are not what the advertising says that they are. If a company claims that its product can do something, and it turns out that the product in fact can not do what it was claimed to be able to do, then that opens up the company to the possibility of a lawsuit, as well. Vitamins and other nutritional supplements are an example of an industry that is vulnerable to this type of lawsuit. Many of these products make claims as to their ability to improve or cure certain health ailments or conditions, and most of them fall far short of these claims. While the FDA now restricts most of the claims that a supplement can make on its labeling, some things are still allowed to get through that can potentially open up the company that produced them to a lawsuit. That is why it is so important that companies nowadays make sure that their product is just what it says it is and does what it says it does. Companies today are now taking extra precautions to ensure just that.

It is clear then that both non-profit corporations and for-profit companies both have ethical and liability issues that they are dealing with in this day and age. Both non-profits and for-profits have to make sure that they are being completely honest with the public, and are practicing full disclosure in order to avoid any hint of secrecy in their organizations. The ethical standards for both non-profits and for-profits, then, are much the same. The liability issues being faced by non-profits and for-profits, though, are a little different. While non-profits are more focused on preventing liability stemming from use of funds and disclosure of such use of funds, as well as discrimination in the distribution of such funds, for-profit companies are more concerned with lawsuits arising from the safety of their products and the truthfulness of the representation of their products. While the issues that liability for both types of organizations are a little bit different, they both stem from the greater issue of honesty. It seems, then, that the main concern of both non-profits and for-profits today is honesty. If both types of organizations remain honest in their dealings with the public, they can both better protect themselves from liability and scandal.

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