GD Topic: Ethics or Profit?


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One of the most important areas on which GD topics are placed in the final selection round in IIMs, XLRI, FMS, IMI and other top MBA colleges is the Abstract GD topic which requires your opinion based writing and what positives and negatives you could find in the GD topics. One of such abstract GD topics is Ethics or Profit which is very relevant for an MBA aspirant to understand when he enters the management world. Below are shared the key points of information and the way you could present your views   on the GD topic ‘Ethics of Profit’. 

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Difference between Ethics and Profit

Ethics are the moral principles that govern a person's behavior. The term is derived from the Greek word ethos which means custom, habit, character or disposition. Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy.


Profit is a financial benefit that is realized when the amount of revenue gained from a business activity exceeds the expenses, costs and taxes.


Relation between Ethics and Profit
There are broadly two schools of thoughts that exist regarding the relation between ethics and profit. One school of thought believes that ethics are prerequisites for a business to be profitable in a longer run.


The other thought is that ethics and profit are mutually exclusive to each other. If a company is ethical, it may not be profitable. It is a common belief that a profitable company must necessarily be unethical in some or the other way. 

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No-Profit target is unethical for a company: Key points

  • If analyzed from a different viewpoint, for a company which is in business; it is unethical for it to be not profitable.
  • A company that cannot make profits is misspending the available resources.
  • It is the liability of the company to pay back to the creditors, its shareholders and employees.
  • A company resulting in losses upset the economy, promotes inefficiency and most importantly, does not contribute towards social responsibility.
  • Such companies have no business to force its employees into economic insecurity and ambiguity, which is highly unethical.

Ethics Pay

  • The UK's Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) claims to have added substantially to the evidence that ethics pays. In its report 'Does Business Ethics Pay?', the IBE finds that in a sample of FTSE 350 firms 'ethical' companies outperformed those which made no such claims on three out of four financial measures market value added [MVA], economic value added [EVA] and price/earnings ratio.
  • Many companies maintain a balance between making profitable business and being ethically responsible.
  • The ethics line while making Profits sometimes gets crossed in effort to maximize profits. Companies that cross too far over the line may face legal repercussions that can prove costly and can cause damage to the brand.
  • There exists companies that have made money through moral indifference such as Exxon, and companies concerned with social responsibility that have not made much money at all.

Conclude with a balanced approach
Business needs to remain ethical for its own good. Unethical actions may yield positive results in the short run and even give meteoric rise. However, for sustainable business and profitability of the firm, business is required to conduct itself ethically and to run activities on ethical lines. Doing so would lay a strong foundation for the business for continued and sustained existence. Time and again, it has been proved that it is only ethical organizations that have continued to survive, grow and become profitable, whereas unethical ones have a pattern of growing quickly and even more quickly dying and forgotten.


Tips to improve your participation in GD round
This topic in GD round is one of the hot probable topics and has been carefully chosen and solved with the sole aim to help you succeed in GD round. If you follow the few key tips, you can improve your chances to get through the GD round

  • If you are clear and know the topic well, it is good to be the first to start the Group Discussion
  • If you are not well versed with the topic and fee a bit confused on it, try to gather information from first 1-2 speakers and then place your view point.
  • Use the quote and data, if you are sure of the source else leave it. You may encounter volley of questions on the economic statistics, trade data or historical facts from your fellow participants. Unless very sure, don’t use it.
  • Make multiple entries using the opportunity to speak. Take clue from your predecessor and turn it to your benefit
  • Speak in a firm and audible voice. Don’t shout as it wouldn’t do any good.
  • Even if you agree or disagree to the view point of other participant, add value by giving reasons for it when you speak but don’t simply say I agree or disagree

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