The importance of a sales person is to be able to pitch sales and convince consumers to buy the company products. In order to do this, the salesperson needs to know their product well, have the ability to explain the benefits of the product to consumers and most importantly have a cajoling power (Schiffman, 2008). Working in a company that expects one to abide by unethical practices may lead one to rationalize their behavior in fear of losing their job; this means that one has to ride along with the company practices even though they are against one own personal values. A company paying the salesperson according to their unethical efforts in improving the sales by bringing in more clients may be forced to pressurizing clients to make decisions instead of giving them time to think about their decision. Another form of unethical sales would be to putting too much emphasis on closing a deal making the client very apprehensive as to whether to go for the deal or not. Dishonesty about the benefit and availability of a product is a tactic that can be used to attract and retain clients so that they can be in tandem with the company practices. Dishonesty can lead to consumers being deceived the a product serves an intended purpose while it doesn’t and because the main aim of the organization is profit before customers instead of the other way round, then one has to be dishonest to keep his job.
The use of the aforementioned tactics and more of others can be rationalized by a variety of reasons. The first reason is that because everyone in the organization does it, then one has no other option but to do it, and more so, it has been the norm in the company to do such. An ethical conduct is believed to be improved by the number of quantity of people doing it therefore its universality matters. One should not be excluded from condemnation if everyone does it. If one person or the whole organization community is unable to prevent the unethical practices happening, then the organization can as well desist from referring the behavior as unethical and get along with business as usual.
The second form of rationalization of behavior is that they are just as bad as you therefore everyone is similar. By examining the ethical practices and conduct in an organization, the sales person would come to the conclusion that a wrongdoer’s action would not be noticed and more so it won’t be criticized by anyone. The third form of rationalization behavior is that since the consequences of one’s actions has worked out for the best e.g. cheating a client that a product is available making them to wait but eventually availing it to them; this is a typical scenario of the end justifies the means. When good consequences arise out of unethical conduct, even if the good was unforeseen or unpredicted, the conduct should be considered as ethical. According to Teleological ethics or consequentialism, an action that produces positive outcomes then the results/outcomes outweighs any other considerations including the means (Roache, 2015).
If an action is not illegal then definitely is not unethical; this is a rationalization behavior that can be used by salespersons. Ethics being broad than law, the salesperson has a buffer zone to carry out their unethical practices. A good example is the principle in law referred to as caveat emptor, which translates to buyer beware. In this principle the person purchasing goods has no express warranty ensuring the quality of property/goods. The buyers may have less information about a good or property, and the salesperson may decide to capitalize on it by not disclosing any information that may hinder the sales such as defects (Harris, Mainelli & Jones, 2008).
Lastly, a salesperson can rationalize behavior by believing in the Bible, especially where it states “let him who is without sin cast the firs stone” (John 8:7). This is a biblical rationalization which outlines that no one is righteous and therefore all are sinners. The bible also outlines that one should not judge others because this is beyond the ability of human beings, and only God can do so. The salesperson can perceive all human beings as born with sin and are sinners in one way or another; therefore, none is better than the other in what they do, and sin is inevitable.
In rationalization behavior, people tend to act first and justify their actions later. The rationalization behavior that one would use in an interview with CNN is not the same that one would justify to oneself. The decision in informing CNN on what is going on the company largely depends on if the company is likely to be shut down or it is just some storm in a teacup. Another important thing to consider is if the interview is going to be anonymous or not for purposes of safety and job security. If the interview is anonymous, then it would be imperative to divulge important information to help CNN to provoke public and government attention to find out if the company would change its policies and practices. The other point in time where a salesperson would divulge important information to incriminate the organization would be if the organization is on the verge of closing down due to enough evidence against the company after the whistle has been blown against it.
If the two above situations exist, i.e. the interview is anonymous and the company is on the verge of closure, then the salesperson would divulge all the necessary information about the unethical practices. Some of the information that CNN needs to know during this situation is that the company forces salespersons to do unethical acts in order to increase the profitability. The company expects salespersons to be dishonest in their business as long as long as it benefits the organization. The salespersons are required most of the time to provide extra charges or unidentified fees to goods and services provided by the company. Payment of salesperson on the basis of their increased malpractices such as dishonesty is the order of the day in the company so it would be important for CNN to know that unethical conduct is the order because most of these situations are difficult to charge in a court of law so the business knows what it is doing and its playing it safe.
If the interview with CNN is not anonymous and the company is not on the verge of collapsing, then it would be imperative to divulge information that is not meant to incriminate the company because of dependence on the job. In this situation, it would be important to consider the repercussion of divulging too much information which is unnecessary. The interviewer from CNN would like to know if the company is unethical, especially to its sales department. It would be important to inform the interviewer that the competition out there is steep, and companies need to be aggressive in their practices; this would not mean that the company is unethical but rather is more proactive in its sales. It would be important to divulge that salespersons are paid according to the customers or sales that one makes and paid a commission which is a standard business practice.
On a personal point of view, it is important not to incriminate the company if one is a single parent with two children in college or if one is head of a household and was out of work for a year. Being out of work in it is evident of how it is difficult to gain employment in the contemporary world, especially due to high population, a more educated population and other determining factors. The children also in college would require fees in order to complete education and become better persons. These decisions are in compliance of natural law ethics which outline that people or individual are governed by natural inclinations where people are searching for the truth, they want to preserve life and propagate family (González, 2008). Happiness is important to any person, and even though it should not be done at the expense of others, it can be achieved at the expense of a few because ones action cannot please all people.
If the actions of the organization are being investigated for their legality, it would be important to divulge any honest information that would assist in the investigation. Giving out information that may be false or inaccurate may lead to repercussions such as jail sentence or fine in a court of law. Even though it is imperative to comply with the law, this presents an ethical dilemma where there is a conflict of moral situations in which choice of one would lead to transgressing another important choice (Miller & Selgelid, 2008). It is immoral to obstruct investigations, and also it is immoral to jeopardize the source of income for the family and also for others by providing information that may lead to the closure of the company. Choosing any one of the options would lead to serious repercussions.
The employee holds the ultimate accountability of their own actions in an organization and cannot blame it on the employer. The employer may play a part when it comes to influence the behavior of an employee, but unless the employer has held the employee hostage, then they are ultimately accountable for their actions. For instance, in the situation of an organization which carries out unethical practices, the only reason that would make an employee to comply with the practices is if they are dependent on the job for their livelihood and his/her salary depends on it. In a court of law, such argument has a zero percent chance of winning a case because such is setting precedence for future similar situation which may lead to widespread unethical practices. According to deontology theory, a moral action should be defined by rules, duty or obligation; this means that members of an organization that has unethical practices are bound by rules or duty to report such practices.