all is fair in love war and business essay

all is fair in love war and business essay

Exploring the Notion of ‘All is Fair in Love, War, and Business’: Ethical and Practical Implications

1. Introduction to the Concept of ‘All is Fair in Love, War, and Business’

All may be fair in love, war, and business, but all of these leave something to be desired. There are contrasts to one another, but there are also similarities. Love and business are of the commonly called peace pursuits; war is as surely a peace pursuit as an ambition pursuit. These three, so often discussed by the history of mankind, are the nucleus of discussions concerning business. Love-mate makes a unity of the concept; political-mate makes another unity of the concept; business-mate makes the third unity of the concept. All this is imagination at work as well as convention and reality.

“What has all this to do with business?” would doubtless be the question of an average man of enterprise whose thoughts are mostly engaged in the task of developing his business or who is absorbed in the struggle of competition with others in business. These several links that unite business with a multiplicity of interests and human purposes do not necessarily signify that business excels all others or has the highest claim upon our attention, for each of the interests that moves mankind, whether it be social, political, religious, or intellectual, is in a sense not only an essential unit of society but also vitally related to all the rest.

Introduction to the concept of “All is Fair in Love, War, and Business”

2. Ethical Considerations in Love, War, and Business Practices

In his recount as an officer during the field (English Civil War) encounter, Sir Henry Wotton’s Morale (written in 1625) provides a well-known declaration about the concept that “the principles of an allegiance [power structures] being moved or changed, all dependents are excused from their former bonds. – All is fair in love, war, and business.” In his telling, Wotton considered few things demanded a subsequent examination on their actions and prescribed philanthropy. The ever growing complexity and changes in the skills [rules of engagements] in managing the transactions in the commerce (business) have arguably defied this gentle public official’s recommendation. Emerging technology capabilities and constraints in loading and securing products, developing financing alternatives, and technology advancements in enabling alliances, have made this injunction-based foundation for managing the transactions stack outmoded. Using some historical perspectives, this paper examines the business management aspects of the love, war, and business mantra.

3. Practical Applications and Consequences of Applying ‘All is Fair’ Mentality

Enhancing corporate cultural sub-components (values, principles, behavior) can go some way to improving business, individual and society outcomes by improving overt and private sector decision-making and motivation as trust will improve and therefore the associated corporate reputation. Increased ethical behavior will also lessen the overall corporate violence present. People have an ethical threshold that needs to be met as they hold and live by values (a critical psychological resource affecting job-related attitudes and behaviors), either personal self-serving or organizational. When their ethical threshold is crossed, the company refuses to cooperate; they cannot be bribed, blackmailed, coerced or distracted and their reputation, societal legitimacy in the long term is at risk. Those who have crossed the path of the unethical employee can then experience directly (customers) or indirectly a level of corporate violence due to their relationship with, or the power of, the company.

This ethical and value disconnection can play out through culture, characterized by the prevalent corporate culture and the unwillingness or inability of fellow employees to have ethical and sometimes highly competitive behavior aligned. Ethical culture, with lower levels of moral intensity, leads to moral disengagement where rational minds justify behavior; or it can lead to a cynically negative view of the world where no one is seen to make a socially or environmentally driven decision as every perceived good act has an alternative business reason. Company culture, previous relevant learning, experience on the exploitation and perceived benefits; as well as power, fear, or feeling of organizational vulnerability can exacerbate or mitigate ethical behavior and corporate violence levels.

4. Balancing Ethical Standards and Success in Love, War, and Business

This is a commentary by recipients of “Information Geotimes.” For guidelines to submit a commentary, please see “about us” Exploring the Notion of “All is Fair in Love, War, and Business”: Ethical and Practical Implications Next, “War” is examined in a more aggressive context. The characteristic of most Western cultures, in contrast to most other societies, is that the individual pursuit of economic interest and territorial advantage were largely free from social control. War was the external expression of that internal self-perpetuating economic process. There was a willingness that the state should organize an open process between potential economic winners, and force was used to ensure that these conflicts occurred outside society rather than within it. Driven by commercial interests, the concept of war in its original political societal sense fragmented early societies and propelled individuals and communities into opposing camps. Consequently, while love and war both involve emotional forces in human relationships, the struggle for wealth other than by peaceful activity continues to undermine traditional morality and ethical norms.

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The notion of “All is fair in love, war, and business” implies that all ethical mores on conduct should be set aside when conducting amorous pursuits, rivalrous intentions, or commercial activities. This article critically examines this aphorism in the context of business and offers an alternative perspective. A test of the importance of ethics within a historical and sociological context then places references to love, war, and business in practical perspective. Love is considered as a society reinforcing ingredient of Western cultures. It is suggested that despite periods of repression or evolution in kinship institutions, there has been, for most individuals, an agreement with social norms, leading to a relative lack of tension between the demands of socialization and individual needs.

5. Conclusion: Revisiting the Notion of ‘All is Fair in Love, War, and Business’

Our critique of the phrase pointed to its twofold nature: A definition problem prevents serious discussions about AFI, because what is considered fair business practice by one culture might be seen as unfair practice by another; its utility for fostering trust is put in cause as well, due to uncertainty about what fair illegal behavior is. From reviewing the literature it became apparent that while AFI has been traditionally considered as a guide to action in business context, its validations and practical implications have somewhat been taken for granted. Our contrast of opinions sought to explain why scholars display opposite views and to examine possible areas of agreement. Likewise, the many moral implications are considered, as one should be aware of the negative outcomes that the application of the AFI phrase entails. After this, it is clear enough that the AFI has not been as popular within the field as some of its proponents think it to be, and definitely not with the youth. Thus, we consider the effects of socialization and tolerance to immoral behavior, and propose the development of practical business training programs to help future managers to handle the gray areas they will encounter throughout their careers.

This paper sought to offer a critical discussion of the idea that ‘all is fair in love, war, and business’ (AFI). It examined the origins of the phrase, explored its definitions and historic use, and presented and compared some regular arguments in favor and against the AFI notion. Finally, the paper discussed the main implications of holding views subordinate to the AFI phrase and afterwards invited for the theory to be revisited by scholars. The AFI notion, despite the time it has been around, has not been subject to a thorough scrutiny.

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