Ethical Relativism Versus Absolutism in Xerox

In: Business and Management

Submitted By koichi777
Words 259
Pages 2
Jonathan Temporal

UNSW ASB Student number 3413771

Xerox’s actions are reminiscent of ethical relativism. As derived from Donaldson’s (1996) article, ethical relativism holds that no single code of ethics is superior than others, and so there is no absolute right and wrong (Donaldson, 1996). Ethical absolutism holds that regardless of one’s location or environment, there is only one correct set of ethical principles (Donaldson, 1996). As a business, Xerox’s main concern is making a profit. As long as it profits, it doesn’t see anything unethical in selling machines with capabilities greater than what customers actually need. Even if Xerox did see this as not being completely ethical, it compensates for this by doing a good deed – donating a percentage of its profits to charity. Hence, Xerox’s standards of what is ethical behaviour is very flexible and changes depending on its other actions.

Donaldson (1996, p. 7) enumerates three core values that define “minimum ethical standards for all companies”. Evaluated against these core values, I believe Xerox’s actions are not unethical. These actions do not physically harm the customers, nor do they deny them of basic human values (Donaldson 1996). For every sale made, Xerox donates to charity. To me, this reciprocity satisfies the “Golden Rule” (Donaldson 1996, p. 7). Finally, Xerox did not force or deceive customers into buying their more expensive machines. Xerox can be said to have encouraged customers to “up-size” their purchases – like many other companies do. But at the end of the day, the decision to buy or not is solely the…...

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