I disagree with the Sam Walton example. He put thousands of small businesses out of business amongst other things. To harm another is BAD, not
I disagree that the Undercover Boss shows bosses are good or ethical. They are "showmen" and getting free publicity and advertising. It's all an
act. Their goal is cheap advertising and publicity and the pitance $1,000 scholarship and other trivial gimmicks paid to the employees is a thousand
times less than they would have normally had to pay for that amount of publicity.
I believe one can be a successful business person IF your definition of success is not the commonly touted, mammon worshipping, greedy, he who makes
it to the top is a saint definition.
To me, success is having a small business that makes enough income to cover the costs of doing business, plus a very small profit, and harms nobody
else, helps others and is never in debt. This is not the standard definition of success though.
No, with the standard definition of success it is impossible to be good and ethical.
Example, a bible thumping salesman who sold anti-slip tub strips for THOUSANDS of dollars. The strips cost the company mere pennies, and were locally
available in hardware stores for mere dollars. The target customers were the elderly, under the misguided assumption that all elderly were rich and
could afford to be ripped off. When asked how that saleman could justify his excessive bible thumping with ripping off old people, he quit his
The bible thumping salesman's wife worked for an oil company I won't name as it applies to all of them actually. She was a secretary and the
conversation was about illegal and unethical business practices. When asked how she could justify her excessive bible thumping with working FOR a
company whom she knew was doing illegal and unethical practices, she replied that it was the company doing it, not her. When she later figured out
that being an accomplice or condoning illegal or unethical company practices actually went against her religious beliefs, she retired.
I have seen many good and ethical businesses; but, they fall into MY personal definition of successful, and not the common perception. They made
little profit; but, were happy, treated employees and customers well, and either had no debt or were responsible with paying debts promptly and on
So, define success and the answer is clear upon your definition.
edit on 18/1/2012 by Trexter Ziam because: typo
18/1/2012 by Trexter Ziam because: add Undercover Boss