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The weaknesses of an entrepreneur may go un-noticed by many, but can be all to evident to those on the receiving end of their fury or sharp business practice. The infamous rage of Steve Jobs in pursuit of perfection built one of the largest companies in the world by creating some of the most desirable and most popular consumer products ever seen.So can you make an omelette without breaking eggs? Is the downside of difficult behaviour or shady business dealings an acceptable trade-off for the success and wealth that entrepreneurs create?

Critically discuss this question. Make specific reference to the activities of two well-known entrepreneurs to help illustrate your position.Learning outcomes being assessed in this report and reflection

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate various conceptualisations of entrepreneurship and demonstrate an awareness of the ideological nature of entrepreneurship.
Literature Review

Entrepreneurs are the individual who have the guts and energy to change the existing business ecosystem, and create something which is more beneficial for the society and the community. The world has seen ordinary people born into ordinary families with ordinary education background, transforming the world with their cogent minds and their knack of business understanding. Thus, the entrepreneurs are tagged with the adjectives of innovation, ethical practices, creativity and business process understanding.

In the very present day, the role of an entrepreneur has become all the more important. Due to the changing dynamics in the business ecosystem, the leadership or the entrepreneurs have to bring certain changes in their leadership style to make the best out of the situation. They have to deal with tremendous challenges and pressure in the process of creating a business model which is sustainable.

They have the added responsibility of ensuring that the decision they take are not unethical and impact the employees of the business organization as well as the related stakeholders. Also it is literally impossible to make decisions which have a utilitarianism approach, that is do greatest good for the greatest number of people. Thus, in the process of becoming a successful business entrepreneur a lot of choices have to be made, which does not fall into the purview of ethical practices at times.

Therefore, the purpose of the report here is to identify if the entrepreneurs always have to take unethical and risky path to be successful (Can you make an omelette without breaking eggs?). Also the report will highlight how the entrepreneur thinks out of the box with respect to their business with the case study on Rupert Stadler and Jeff Bezos. Both the leaders however visionary in their approach has a different way of thinking, which will be the highlight of the report.

Literature Review

The authors Marcin, Wojciech & Katarzyna in their books ethical aspects of entrepreneurship discussed the role of ethics and its growing improtance to the budding founders or the entrepreneurs (Burton, et al., 2016). The authors say that ethics in business actvity are improtant as it directly impacts the end customers, thus one ethical practice can shake or break the faith and the trust of the customer on the businss orgnaization (Kuratko, 2016). 

The aim of the writing here is to ascertain if an entrepreneur can be an ethical question, the answer to which remains plausible, but still swings mostly on the side of , Yes. Uneithical practices which are done deliberately raises a question on the entrepreneurship ability of the person, however, if the unethical decision is taken for the greater good of the greatest number of people it can be dealt with less sevearty (Kets, 1985).

John Hooker in his journal on business ethics education states that the ethics of a person are a reflection of his upbrining in the society and on the basis of his cognitive learning from the external world (Read, et al., 2016).  The authors stated that an individual can have only limited learning when it comes to ethics, and accroding train himself to become an ethical person. It is more of the surroundings in which he is raised, the situation he is being exposed to and the nature of activity, which makes him take decisions which are ethical or unetihcal in nature (Burchardt, et al., 2016).

Case Study 1 (Rupert Stadler- CEO Audi)

 John in the journal defined ethics at the morality of the person in the tie of crisis. John also stated that ethics and entrepreneurship goes hand in hand, and unetihcal behaviour of the entrepreneur can seriosuly jeopradise the employees working in the organziation as well the business organization.

Elizabeth, Laura, Francesco and Jared in their journal on Social entrepreneurship and Business, overlooked the question of ethical nature of the social enterprises (Marvel, et al., 2016). The study here cited that outcome of the entreprenaurial innovative process have a deeper impact and social value which is beyond the direct effects on the transactional parties (Klotz, and Neubaum, 2016).

The authors mentioened that social entrepreneurs take their decision of ethics and unethical decision making by focussing on the four key differecnes: nature of emergent opportunities, differecnes in the mission, difference in resource mobilization and management and perfromance measurment of the social impact. Thus, at times Entrepreneurs take decision by bending the working rules and the exisitng policies for the greater good of the society and the community.

Case Study 1 (Rupert Stadler- CEO Audi)

The case study on Rupert Stadler will demonstrate how a CEO loses his mind in order to win a war with its competitors and allows for unethical behaviour in the organziation, whilst participating in the unethical means. Early in June 2018, one of the finest visionary of its times and a marketing marvel, Rupert Stadler was arrested as a part of probing towards the manipulation of emissions control in the vehicles of Audi. The move was taken over the emission scandel which rocked Vokswagon in the year 2015, after which a lot of arrest were the order of the day at Audi. It also resulted in company paying hefty fines to the tunes of billions to the government authority for cheating the customers and polluting the environment on the pretext of making it clean(Blackwelder et. al., 2016).

In the case here, due to bad leadership of Rupert cars sold in Eurpoe were equipped with a software which turned emission controls on during the lab testing and it again went off during driving to enhance drive perfromance. Stadler was always into the middle of controversy in dieselgate case, it was his strong ties with the family which saved him for quite some time. The huge crisis of dieselgate, which involved cheating with the federal laws of US and the intention of doing fraud and conspiracy costs volkswagon almost US $ 30 billion in fines and its impact on the goodwill is beyond any figures.

Now, it is literally impossible to carry such a mass scale operation without the CEO not in loop. Rupert was in the loop right from the start, and he too was okay with the plan of calibarating the vehicle to achive the desired results. The move was intended to potray diesel vehicles as clean fuel emission, a vehicle which would lessen the impact on the environment(Schafer,2017).

The dieselgate scandal which took the company by storm, also took with itself Martin Winterkorn, the veteran CEO at the VW. It also seems fair that the controversy of dieselgate came out in the open, else in most of the cases it has been seen that the offenders often get free, due to their power and money. The dieselgate case was a big eye opened also for the Audi Company but also for its CEO, who thought that the big and mighty can always find a way to escape (Poncibo, 2017).

Case Study 2 (Jeff Bezos- CEO Amazon)

The learning from the above case is that the CEO or entrepreneur sometimes takes unethical decision owing to the situation at hand. In this case, this was not entirely justified as Rupert Stadler was involved in the scandal to beat the increasing competition in the market. They were losing their battle in the Petrol car segment, and they wanted to come up with a clean fuel which was the need of the hour. This forced him and other top executives to take an unethical decision which at least resulted in the arrest of Rupert Stadler, and billions in fine for Audi group

Case Study 2 – Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and Founder

The case study of Jeff Bezos will demonstrate the social responsibility of the company and the vision of Jeff Bezos to help the community to grow along with the business organization. The vision Jeff has set for Amazon in itself shows the determination with which Jeff works for the benefit of the stakeholders of the organization. He wants the company to be the most customer centric company on earth, and in order to do so, he keeps a good overview of all the policies and procedures in the organization. Jeff takes it a step ahead; Jeff still keeps a mail of the customer support and responds to some of the concerns or query of the customers (D’Anselmi, Chymis & DiBitetto, 2017).

Another great step of Jeff is setting up of the programme Amazon Smile in the year 2013, it is a website which is created and activates a donation of 0.5% to charity every time the consumers shops at the website. The website allows for the donation to plethora of charity with which Amazon is associated. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has been under flak for a very long time, due to his comparison with the biggest philanthropist, Bill Gates. But Jeff believes that right now the time is to invest more and more in technology and do well for the mankind. Thus, he is looking up to the clouds while working on his entrepreneurial journey (Belitski & Herzig, 2018).

Jeff has also created a frustration free packaging which involves only 100% recyclable material to protect the environment. This thing will help Amazon to reduce the waste put out on earth by the company; it will help in curtailing the environmental pollution. Another program of Amazon, which is the brainchild of Jeff Bezos, is the Amazon Wish Programme. According to the programme, a person can create a wish list of the products he wants to buy, but somehow does not have the funds or the means to have a purchase.

The people, who come on the website, can make the wish come true of that person by ordering from the wish list. This just shows, how Jeff Bezos envisions Amazon to take care of the people who are in need, and he puts in tremendous efforts to make them happy(Bansal & DesJardine, 2014).

Jeff Bezos, who started his entrepreneurial journey back in 1994, was set out with a clear mission, to change how the people shop online. The company which was started off as an online book seller, at the very present scolds anything to everything on the platform. The company is setting up milestones in terms of technology by creating products like Alexa, Kindle, Fire stick, Drone delivery, Amazon go. The latest project of Amazon, Blue Origin is another step towards mankind. Thus, it can be said that Jeff Bezos ethics are a culmination of his vision for the company, and no matter what it takes Jeff has pledged to serve the world in a better manner, every single time.

Discussion

Jeff Bezos is a very ethical leader, whose ethical philosophy is an extension of Utilitarianism approach. The approach which states that one should do the greatest good for the greatest number of people is at heart of Jeff Bezos. All the actions of Jeff are inclined towards pushing the ecosystem of products and services to its customers. He ensures that the company in the process does not harm the environment, which makes Jeff Bezos a good corporate citizen (Turker, 2018).

Conclusion

The report can be concluded by saying that ethics and decision making plays the same role as that of behaviour of the entrepreneur in order to build his image. The human psychology plays a very interesting role as people see the decision taken by the entrepreneur, according to their benefits and same happens with the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are also admired all over the world, as they account for almost 75% of the world’s wealth. 

The life and journey of the entrepreneur is always under the lens of the customers or the admirers, an additional pressure to do good for the company also rests on the shoulders of the founders or the entrepreneurs. Thus, at times they have to take certain decisions which might not be ethical for the people or the organization, but he should still act in the best interest of all the stakeholders for the organization (Chell et. al., 2016). Leaders who adopt unethical decision making one day or the other lands in troubles, which disrupts the hard work of the entrepreneur all his life. Thus, it is always advised to take decisions which are based on the concept of “Do good for the greatest number of People”

References

Bansal, P. and DesJardine, M.R., 2014. Business sustainability: It is about time. Strategic Organization, 12(1), pp.70-78.

Belitski, M. and Herzig, M., 2018. The Jam Session Model for Group Creativity and Innovative Technology. The Journal of Technology Transfer, 43(2), pp.506-521.

Blackwelder, B., Coleman, K., Colunga-Santoyo, S., Harrison, J.S. and Wozniak, D., 2016. The Volkswagen Scandal. Harvard Business Review.

Burchardt, J., Hommel, U., Kamuriwo, D.S. and Billitteri, C., 2016. Venture capital contracting in theory and practice: implications for entrepreneurship research. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40(1), pp.25-48.

Burton, M.D., Sørensen, J.B. and Dobrev, S.D., 2016. A careers perspective on entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40(2), pp.237-247.

Chell, E., Spence, L.J., Perrini, F. and Harris, J.D., 2016. Social entrepreneurship and business ethics: Does social equal ethical?. Journal of business ethics, 133(4), pp.619-625.

D’Anselmi, P., Chymis, A. and Di Bitetto, M., 2017. Small Organizations Subject to Competition. In Unknown Values and Stakeholders (pp. 45-52). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Hooker, J., 2016. Journal of Business Ethics Education. Journal of Business Ethics, 13.

Kets de Vries, Manfred F. R (1985). The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship, Harvard Business Review, Nov/Dec 1985, Vol.63(6), p.160

Klotz, A.C. and Neubaum, D.O., 2016. Article Commentary: Research on the Dark Side of Personality Traits in Entrepreneurship: Observations from an Organizational Behavior Perspective. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40(1), pp.7-17.

Kuratko, D.F., 2016. Entrepreneurship: Theory, process, and practice. USA: Cengage Learning.

Marvel, M.R., Davis, J.L. and Sproul, C.R., 2016. Human capital and entrepreneurship research: A critical review and future directions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40(3), pp.599-626.

Poncibo, C., 2017. Legal Culture and Judicial Collective Redress: the Italian Experience. Zeitschrift Fur Zivilprozess International, 21, pp.31-55.

Read, S., Sarasvathy, S.D., Dew, N. and Wiltbank, R., 2016. Response to Arend, Sarooghi, and Burkemper (2015): Cocreating effectual entrepreneurship research. Academy of management Review, 41(3), pp.528-536.

Schäfer, C.C., 2017. Sustainability & crisis management: a valuable link to regain consumer trust and purchase intention: a case on Audi AG (Doctoral dissertation).

Staniewski, M.W., Slomski, W. and Awruk, K., 2015. Ethical aspects of entrepreneurship. Filosifija sociologija., 26(1), p.37.

Turker, D., 2018. Global Challenges: Aligning Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development Goals. In Managing Social Responsibility (pp. 161-176). Springer, Cham.

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