business ethics: Is un-illegal cheat ok in business?


In business world, many companies,salespersons, businessmen are unethical, they don't tell you the whole picture or they minimize or magnify some aspects, or they ignore some aspects on purpose. Some of their behaviors may not be illegal, but unethical. And I feel so uncomfortable. I want to be a businessman and I want to be rich. It seems that if you want to be rich, you have to cheat. What is the truth? Is legal cheat(cheat which doesn't break the current law) ok?

Sales Ethics Business Morality

asked Jul 6 '10 at 21:36
116 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • If you are Chinese (from other qeustion) you should read "The Art of War" from Sun Tzu. There are differen strategies to deal will most business situations. The governament laws are unavoidable, so deal with them and do not cheat. Cheating is one of the reason most people do not trust copanies from certan coutnries (or at least I do not trust) – Ross 14 years ago

4 Answers


If you find yourself having to lie/cheat to make a buck, then your marketing department needs a serious overhaul.

answered Jul 8 '10 at 03:19
Henry The Hengineer
4,316 points


Having a profitable business alone isn't success. Every business needs cashflow (and profit) to survive like the body needs oxygen, food, and air. Just because a business has cashflow, doesn't mean it's a success, much like we aren't a success in life just because we sat around and survived.

If you have to lie/cheat/mislead to make a dollar, it's like tricking a girl into liking you.

You might make some money/trick her for a while, but it won't last.

Know your product. Know the value you deliver. Know the clients it will benefit. Only sell to them and you'll have a lasting business.

Always generate more value than which you are paid.

Otherwise your client turnover rate after they feel "had" will be much higher than it needs to be.

It's easy to try and be someone else in business. The problem is it always comes back full circle. If you like honesty, and integrity, and when people eat their own cooking before giving it to you as advice, do it yourself.

Not every customer values it, but not every customer is for you. There's a big difference between a good dollar and a bad dollar. It's tough in the start but it's worth it.

Be a defender of keeping goodness and kindness fashionable. Your startup is your declaration of your moral and professional independence.

answered Jul 8 '10 at 06:45
Jas Panesar
244 points


I don't believe you will be successful if you are not true to yourself and your own morals and ethics.

And even if you are ... will you be happy having achieved your goal by sacrificing your integrity?

(Sorry. Heavy I know. :) But that's my take on it!)

answered Jul 6 '10 at 22:25
Susan Jones
4,128 points
  • But what if you are truly an unethical and immoral person like a sociopath? They lie instinctively. – Jeff O 14 years ago
  • I guess what I'm trying to say is that there doesn't have to be a conflict. I can't control what other people do (like sociopaths!) but I can act with integrity in my business as much as I can choose to do that in other areas of my life. I have found it is always a mistake when I think I have to act a certain way because of other people's perceived expectations. – Susan Jones 14 years ago


I don't think it's OK. For one lying is just too much trouble. My memory sucks, so I would get caught anyway.

Now how far do you want to take the whole "tell them everything"? Do you have to conjure every worse-case-scenario? "It is possible that our Sys Admin could be a foreign spy who will leak your information to demonic-possessed-child-slave-terrorist-hackers or your competitors."

This is why more companies are open, so they don't even accidentally fail to inform current and potential customers.

answered Jul 6 '10 at 23:01
Jeff O
6,169 points
  • I think we are on the same page Jeff! – Susan Jones 14 years ago

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