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Sexual Morality in Business[1]

Sexual Morality in Business[1]

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Published by: Segun Okeleye on Oct 10, 2011
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Babcock University Ilisan Remo


SEXUAL Morality in Business
An assignment submitted and presented in partial fulfillment of the course:

Christian Business Ethics
Done by:

Adeleke Azeez Adetoyi Olajide Babatunde Biliaminu Oluwole Omolayo Joseph M.Sc FINANCE

December 2010

History is full of examples of men and women who have grown extremely wealthy and famous from engaging in fictitious scams, contracts, trade in illegal products or services, robbery, extortion and even to child abuse and human trafficking as well as prostitution.

Companies and countries also have long history replete of engaging in businesses that are ethically outlawed by the laws of the individual nations and by international charter which include trading in illicit drugs, engaging in warfare with child soldiers and committing rape with women that has generated world wide condemnation. For a better understanding of this subject therefore, key terms need to be explained.

Definition of Terms
Business is defined as activity of making, buying, selling or supplying goods or service for money. (Oxford Advanced learner’s Dictionary). In pure commercial term, it is described as a legally recognized organization designed to provide goods, services or both to consumers or tertiary business in exchange for money. A business is also known as company, enterprise or firm. The term business is also explained as the state of being busy either as an individual or society as a whole, doing commercially viable and

profitable work and has three usage depending on the scope which could be company or corporation for singular usage; the generalized usage to refer to a particular market sector such as “the textile business” or the broadest meaning to include all activity by the community of suppliers of goods and services.

Morality is described as an act according to principles of good behaviours and what is considered to be right or wrong (Oxford Advanced learners’ Dictionary).

Ethics Moral principle that control or influence a person’s behaviours. It is also described as a system of moral principles or rules of behaviour. (Oxford Advanced learners’ Dictionary). Ethics is also a System of accepted beliefs and principles of conduct typically based on moral imperatives that govern the behavior of individuals and the groups and to which they belong (Irvin2002).

Ethical Culture what is generally referred to as “ethical culture “is actually a concept that integrates two distinct systems-ethical culture and ethical climate. Ethical culture looks at how an organization demonstrates its values and the extent to whish these values are taught and regarded. Specifically the ethical culture of an organization:


Teaches employees whether doing the right things matters Makes doing what is right expected and Includes formal ethics perform elements, reward and punishment systems and organizational myths.

Corporate Culture A Cognitive Framework Consisting of Attitudes, Values ,Behavioral norms and expectations which has been adapted by a society (Corporation, group or team)as the accepted way of solving problems.(Ahmed te al;1999).

Corporate Culture is the Philosophy that guides an organizations policy towards employees and/or customers. It should deal with the Stratification/or the allocation of the influence. Power and authority (Ouchi, 1981;Pascele and Atthas,1981,cited by Schein,1985)

Ethical Climate Ethical climate is concerned with the “collective personality” of the organization. It is the psychological view of the organization. Ethical Climate Particularly focuses on; ethics related attitude perceptions, and Decision making processes in an organization.(Ethics resource center).

Sexuality connected with the physical activity of sex (Oxford Advanced learners’ Dictionary).

Sexual Morality in Business
Values are a set of belief that unify different types and levels of employees across the company. Building a dream team with ethics begins with establishing values for an organization and instilling these values in employees.

In the last decade or so, women have made significant progress in obtaining responsible positions in organization. Among the reasons for this development are laws governing fair employment practices, changing social attitudes toward women in the workplaces, and the desire of companies to project a favourable image by placing qualified women in managerial position where some evidence suggest that women do have difficulties making it to the top(koontz,7).

Ethics as defined in management sciences is the application of moral values and as such it is commonly used interchangeably. The word ethics will therefore feature more often than “morality” in this paper.

Managers operate in a pluralistic society of diverse dimensions with divergent goals and corporation. It is the task of managers to integrate the

groups and their aims and working in pluralistic society has several implications for business which include conflict of agreement among groups.

All Persons Whether in business government or any other enterprises are concerned with ethics which is defined as the discipline dealing with what are good and bad with moral duty and obligation.

The increase of women in the workforce of companies has introduced new dimensions to ethical issues in management. Some of which are listed:


engaging in a romantic relationship with an employee, customer or supplier.


Corporate prostitution resulting from the indecent dressing of employees.


Sexual harassment which result from the indecent dressing of employees.

A practical example of sexual morality occurred in 1998 in which debates were held on the subject as it affected the then United States of America President Bill Clinton in an affair with a 21-year old intern Monica became a moral test of the nation.

Man who have high profile or important jobs and have ladies around them are not necessarily attracted to their looks, or what they own, but their power, their influence, their success and their self confidence. As Atlantes Psychiatrist Fran Pittman says “Certain women are defiantly attracted to power. We turn powerful men into sex objects who often have women chasing them. As a rule, men are just not very good at saying no…” (Goodall, 56).

The case of Clinton-Monica is just a case of several cases of sexual morality. Other examples include that of Congressmen Gary conduct and his intern, Kobe Bryant and the sexual encounter with a hotel employee, High Grant and the prostitute, Ben Affleck and Vancouver stripper R. Kelly and underage girls. Michael Jackson and those child molestation charges and the recent cases of the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in a relationship with teenage girls and the rape and sexual harassment charges against the Wikileak founder Julian Asange and the never ending saga of allegation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church that seems to have involved hundreds more Priests.

With all these examples, the issue of bringing in corporate culture development and re-defining the ethical climate in organizations need to focused in the discussion and formulation of ethical and moral issues in business.

Building a Culture of Ethics Doing Business with ethical and moral practical encourages better planning in the enterprise. Where unethical practices flourish, business people tend to try and cut corners and overprice products and services in anticipation of “requests” to fulfill obligations. Even worse some try to find more unethical ways to make their business thrive. This causes a spiral of bed practices that negatively influences the way businesses are managed.

In the areas of Human resources management, processes and procedure for employment are thrown overboard in an attempt to influence the employment of certain category of applicants that are female thereby jeopardizing the standard set by the organizations in its recruitment policy. Organizations have to be staffed by people who are not only competent but also healthy. This requires wellness or fitness programs and the management of stress which necessitates paying for performance which means measuring the contributions of individuals and rewarding them accordingly, this which is not always applicable due to lack of cultural ethics in the employment policy.

Also, ethical practices definitely make good business sense because they strengthen the character of a business and help an organization to distinguish itself purely on its business capabilities.

Long terms, ethics make for sustainable growth once ethical practices are compromised, the company goes on a slippery slope that is progressively harder to reserve. Observing ethical practical will cause short term pain but over the long term, business partners will realize your operating procedure and relate with you accordingly thus enabling the company to develop based on its principles and objectives without fear of being blackmailed or compromised by those its transacts with.

A sustainable business can only be built on the foundation of integrity – true values and principles which sum up ethical practices. For exchange, respect for the other party to a business transaction which ensures that you do not take advantage of them in labour relation as well as in commercial transactions.

Argument For/Against Morality in Business Manages, especially top managers, do have a responsibility to create an organizational environment that fosters ethical decision making by institutionalizing ethics. In organizations, managers compete for

information, influence and resources.

The potential for conflicts in selecting the ends as well as the means to the ends is easy to understand and the question of what critics should guide ethical behaviour becomes acute.

The factors that raise ethical standards the most are public disclosure and publicity and the increased concern of a well informed public. The factors are followed by government regulations and by education to increase the professionalism of business managers.

Americans, for instance have long held ambivalent feelings about sex. On the other hand, Americans morality has, from the very beginning, emphasized the right of people to be left alone.

Americans have moralized and criminalized a variety of consensual sex acts. Some states explicitly prohibit same-gender sexual acts while others with sodomy statutes prohibit anal and oral sex which had been enacted for over 25years. Incest is a felony in almost every state even when the participants are consenting adults. It has however been established that the domain of morality varies across cultures and social classes.

The diversity in culture make the universal application of ethics difficult. What a society classifies as morally wrong may be looked as right. For instance, the marriage of an Egyptian infant girl by the former Zamfara state

Governor, now a Senator Yerima is justified by the laws of Northern Nigeria and the Islamic prospective. The Iranian president Ahmedinajad was recently quoted as recommending females for marriage from the age of 16 years.

At this point, skeptics would agree that building a culture of ethics is beneficial to organizations, and that it is possible to do so, starting with the leader’s life and extending to their team and interaction with all stakeholders. However, extending this ethics to other spheres of influence such as one’s industry, community or country, often seems for-fetched, and largely impossible.

This is where the notion of moral courage takes centre stage; the willingness to step up and act in the face of wrong doing. There is a popular misconception that people in Nigeria do not believe that ethics is good for business but it has been established that ethical practices make business sense. A sustainable business can only be built in the foundation of integrity. Global competition demands global ethics. In the medium to long term those with ethics win and sustain business, those without go bankrupt.

The manifestations of culture in the business, public and nonprofit settings are far reaching. For example culture influences an organizations dress

code, work hours, work environment and the system and structures that define its operations. Regarding the issue of dress Code, the appearance of some female workers in organizations are clear attempts to seduce managers and potential clients particularly in the Banking sector. This has however attracted condemnation from the public in the past and the relevant authorities’ attention had been drawn into the debates.

Many aspects of culture are also intangible comprising the beliefs, values, standards and this constitutes the foundation of all actions and decisions within a team, department or organization.

While every individual has a set of values, beliefs and habits which form the very essence of who they are, the choices they make and what they do. In

essence, these three critical components determine their moral ethics which are typically shaped by religion, culture, the laws of the land and socialization.

Finally, ethics must begin at the top of an organization. It is a leadership issue and the Chief Executive must set the example. If ethics are poor at the top, the behaviour is copied down through the organization.

Weihrich, Koontz, Management – A global perspective (New Delhi: Tata McGraw – Hill Publishing Co. Ltd. Tenth Edition 2001).

Cole. G.A, Management – Theory and Practice (New York Continuum Fifth Edition 2002).

LEAP AFRICA, Building a culture of Ethics – A practical Guide for Leaders in the African Public, Private and Non-Profit Sectors (Lagos LEAP AFRICA Ltd/Gte 2009).

Goodall W., Why Great Men Fall – 15 Winning Strategies To Rise Above It All. (Abuja: still waters Publication 2007)

Haidt, Hersh M.A., ‘Sexual Morality: The Cultures and Emotions of Conservatives and Liberals’ Journal applied social psychology, (2001): 191 -221

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