Unedited
10/17/11

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Ethical Drift

Ethical Drift: Slowly drifting away from professional and legal standards and personal standards a business person has long been associated with. Eventually there is an ethical split forcing in a rational person "a correction of course." This is a natural part of business. Here the primary focus is on the details of business rather than the fine details of ethical behavior. When a course correction is made standards of business are changed or affirmed.

A characteristic of drift gone too far can be seen in arbitrary decisions affecting quality and price. Often, a business conceals from itself (a subconscious action) that it is lowering its quality and standards and is becoming arbitrary in its decision-making. When this happens there arises an ethical split in the business ( also a split between the conscious and the subconscious). Having standards does not mean you cannot change them, but if you do, you do so in a way that it benefits the business in the long term. A small business can devolve from offering something of value to a radically optimizing business that may eventually lose its cliental. Small businesses survive by offering something unique, personable, fast service, high quality products, socially hip products, or low sales pressure. Any business can maximize its profits by extracting money at every turn and lowering quality but they are not likely to last the long haul. A small business is not always a highly capitalized enterprise with a large advertising budget to sustain its customer base. This is what sets it apart from larger business and corporations.

Small business people are bombarded with temptations of every description. One of the most powerful forces on drift is greed. Once greed sets in the ethical nature of the business changes and the tendency of the business person to tell the truth deteriorates. Ethical business follow the principle of reason not greed.

Associated concepts

Error accretion
Self-Regarding Duty
Personal ethic
Farming/Hunting
Short Term vs. Long Term Gains
Spirit of Sale