The Lucifer Effect Essay

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The common consensus within the business field is that businesses have a social responsibility to protect and improve the societies they affect. Social responsibility is the belief that businesses and their employees have a duty to act in a manner that benefits their environments and society. The concept of social responsibility stems from ethics, which are simply the moral principles that guide a person’s behavior. However, despite this, it is clear to scholars, researchers, experts, and businessmen alike that sometimes ethics and responsibility are thrown out the window in favor of cutting costs and increasing corporate profits. This tendency for otherwise good businesses to act in badly is known as the Lucifer effect, and is a very real…show more content…
In Zimbardo’s work, “The Lucifer Effect in Business”, he studies this complex concept which involves the process of good businesses beginning to turn towards evil practices, just as good people often go bad. As Zimbardo states, to understand this concept, it is imperative to first understand the psychology of evil as it pertains to the human thought process. This involves analyzing the factors that lead a person to make evil choices. Just as in the Clergy Journal’s article about the child making a taxable income, most of us would probably be okay with overlooking ethics in a similar situation in favor of the child having a little extra cash. This aspect of common culture is exactly what researchers like Zimbardo to claim that people are not inherently evil, but rather they mimic what they have been taught. Zimbardo refers to the surrounding factors figuratively as the barrel and states that it is the environment that affects decision making. This would validate the idea that ethics teaching is important in producing businessmen more likely to make choices which positively affect the common good. It also nullifies the notion opposite the barrel, which states that when people perform evil actions it is because they are just evil people, or bad apples. Often, however, common people only see these bad apples in business…show more content…
While some scholars argue for more teaching of ethics in college curriculum, others argue that a business culture or environmental change is needed. Some experts and experienced members of the field argue that business is not an inherently bad field, but that the reputation has been soiled by a few bad apples. Given all this information, I tend to agree with the argument that finance and business are not bad fields, they have just been soiled by a few evil people. I believe there are several bad businesses such as the Nestlé Corporation; and good businesses like Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that prove cases of evil and corrupt business practices can be linked to the actions of a few evil people in power. I find this argument to be relevant and interesting because unethical business practices often appear in the news, and this influences the public perspective on businesses. Many people tend to think most businessmen are evil, greedy, and corrupt. This is not always the case, and I aim to demonstrate why others should think in the same
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