By KELVIN ESIASA
SOMETIMES I have wondered why some business people want to ride their businesses on cheating rather than doing the right thing. It is slowly becoming a practice in Zambia where some companies and micro-entrepreneurs want to cheat as they conduct their business.
In the past some business people would buy shirts at a lower price and later resell it at three times that price.
They would even cheat that they bought the merchandises from China, South Africa or Tanzania. If one mentioned that the shirts they were selling were from Comesa Market or Kamwala trading area many traders would say they would not buy from these two places because they were full of imitations.
Street hawkers are also doing the same. They would get some second-hand products from Soweto Market and resell them at an exorbitant price. The hawkers even lie that the products are from reputable sources.
Of late I have also seen some business people buying products from China and South Africa and resell them in Zambia at a triple price rather than pricing them fairly.
Some South African firms have also adopted this practice. Some of them are playing around their price strategy. For example, a pizza in South Africa is R59 (in terms of Kwacha this should be K25), but in Zambia they just substitute the rand and replace it with K59, which is very expensive in Zambia.
I have also seen situations where a product is R500 (meaning K250) but is priced as K500, which is double the price.
Some West Africans have flooded the internet with fake business deals and companies. In Nigeria they have been described as 419 fraudsters. These individuals are going round the globe tricking individuals with fake business deals.
They have made it very difficult for people to trust any information from the internet.
Some Asian firms are also flooding the global market with imitation products making it very difficult for customers to pick genuine ones. So nowadays it is very difficult to identify which business person is doing the right thing.
This is because some entrepreneurs are dishonest.
A strong ethical culture within business is important in safeguarding business development. Employees who abide by workplace ethics will be able to protect and respect business.
Workplace ethics are an integral part of fostering increased productivity and teamwork.
Business earns a lot of respect and cultivates a strong image in the public domain when one makes ethical choices. Building a strong public image through ethical conduct also earns a business more clients.
Customers are most likely to develop trust and do business with the organisation that observes ethics.
Ethical conduct in the workplace encourages a culture of making sound decisions. It also enhances accountability and transparency when undertaking any business decisions.
Ethics are a requirement for human life. Without them, our actions would be random and aimless. There would be no way to work towards a goal because there would be no way to pick between a limitless numbers of goals.
Even with an ethical standard, we may be unable to pursue our goals with the possibility of success. To the degree which a rational ethical standard is taken, we are able to correctly organise our goals and actions to accomplish our most important values.
Any flaw in our ethics will reduce our ability to be successful in our endeavours. Ethics in business are not only common sense, but make a lot of business sense as well.
So, if you see a person trying to unethically conduct business please stop them and warn them that one day they will be caught, and that they risk losing their customers.
The author is president Zambia Society for Public Administration.
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