My Light and Shadows
Introduction and Alignment
In today’s culture, you are faced daily with news of incredible CEO bonuses, cheating politicians, and citizens engaging in reprehensible behavior without perceived consequence. It can be difficult to determine how you should respond to these messages. This assignment will help you examine some of the best business ethical standards created by secular scholars with what scripture says. Through this assignment, you will learn not only the highest standard the world has created, but you will also compare and contrast that to what God has said.
Upon completion of this assignment, you should be able to:
Examine the guidelines offered by the world and the Bible for ethical living.
Distinguish behavior accepted by those serving the world from behavior by those serving Christ.
Textbook: Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership
Web Article: Principles for Business
File: Template for Analyzing the Logic of an Article.docx
In Romans 12:2, you are told, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” The challenge for you as a student of ethics is that it often appears necessary to meet both the Christian and secular standards, although they may appear to be different. Followers of Christ can be assured that meeting His standard means meeting the highest standard, and any human standard that indicates otherwise is questionable at best.
Perhaps the notable effort made by secular scholars to determine a universal code of ethics is the Caux Round Table. Formed from a group of international business leaders and academicians, the Round Table created seven principles for business as an attempt to develop a shared perspective of business behavior that would be acceptable and honored by people from all cultures and background.
A number of biblical scholars have attempted to summarize what the Bible has to say about business ethics. One such scholar, Jerry White gives us five excellent guidelines for conducting our business activities.
First, there is the guideline of a “just weight” as found in Deuteronomy 25:13-15. The principle of a just weight is to give a full amount in exchange for a fair payment. Another way to look at it is to give full quality for what is paid for and according to what is advertised. You must accept responsibility for both the quality and the amount of your product or service. As a business owner, do you fairly represent your product or service? As an employee, do you give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay? Remember, as it says in Colossians 3:23, you are working for the Lord and not for men.
Second, the Lord demands our “total honesty.” Ephesians 4:25 calls upon you to speak the truth. Jerry White reminds you that “Although you will frequently fail, our intent must be total honesty with our employer, our co-worker, our employees, and our customers” (p. 65). This is a difficult principle to adhere to. James 3:2 says this is where you often fail, but if you can control your tongue, you will be able to control the rest of your body as well. The Living Biblesums it up best in Romans 12:17, which says, “Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honest clear through.” You must ask yourself: Are you totally honest in reporting your use of time, money, and accomplishments?
The third principle is “being a servant.” Someone has said Christians like to be called servants, but don’t appreciate being treated like servants. To serve God sounds glorious, but to serve others is another matter. As usual, Jesus Christ is our example. Matthew 20:28 says that Christ did not come to be served, but to serve others – in fact, to give up his life for others. The value of a business is its service. How well it serves the needs of its customers will determine its success. The business, in turn, is made up of people who must do the serving. The value of the employees is in how well they serve the customer’s needs. This is putting the needs of others before your own and then trusting God to meet your needs in the process.
The fourth guideline is “personal responsibility.” You must take full responsibility for your own actions and decisions. You should not try to excuse your actions based on pressure from within your business or organization to do what you know is not right. We all fail at times to do what we know we should do. You must then accept the responsibility for what you have said or done and not try to pass that responsibility on to someone else or try to blame it on some set of circumstances. Romans 12:2 warns us about the danger of allowing the world to shape us into its mold.
Finally, there is the issue of “reasonable profits.” This principle is quite a bit harder to get a handle on, but it is still vital to look for guidelines. What is a “reasonable” profit? This is something each person has to deal with on his own. Luke 6:31 is a great help on this. It says that you should treat others the same way you would want to be treated. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself how you would want to be treated in a particular situation. To the business person, this is the price of the service or product above cost. To employees, it is the amount of their wages for service to the organization. Luke 3:14 says to be content with our wages, but the Bible also reminds the employer in 1 Timothy 5:18 that the laborer is worthy of his wages.
It is all too easy to rationalize your way around many of these principles, but God will hold us accountable in the end. Ultimately it is God whom you serve and to whom you must give an account.
White, J. (1978). Honesty, morality & conscience. Colorado Springs, CO: Nav Press.
Read the article Principles for Business at http://www.cauxroundtable.org/index.cfm?menuid=8″.
As you read this web page and in particular, the seven principles for responsible business, think about the ethical problems you may have seen. Consider whether following the Caux Round Table principles may have eliminated these problems.
Use the file Template for Analyzing the Logic of an Article.docx to help you further analyze the article.
Review the summary of White’s five principles for business drawn from the Bible, which was presented in this workshop. As you read this summary, think about the ethical problems you may have seen and consider whether following these five biblical principles may have eliminated these problems.
Write an 800- to 1000-word paper to answer the following questions:
What differences and similarities exist between the guidelines offered by the Caux Round Table and White’s biblical principles? Use the Analyzing the Logic of an Article template to help in this analysis.
What principles or guidelines are there, if any, in White’s five principles that go beyond the seven principles of the Caux Round Table and what is the impact of these principles on the organization, the employees, the customers, and the other stakeholders?
How suitable is it to use scripture as a basis for business ethical decision making for global managers and what challenges or problems might exist for the Christian manager using White’s five principles as an ethical guideline?
Your answer to each question should provide a detailed evaluation that demonstrates clear, insightful critical thinking.
Be sure to use correct spelling, grammar, and APA format and include at least five scholarly sources in your response. (Note: cover pages, academic sources, reference pages, etc. do not count towards the word length requirement in your paper.)
When you have completed your assignment, save a copy for yourself and submit a copy to your instructor using the Dropbox by the end of the workshop (Turnitin will be enabled).
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