The three major drivers of unethical business behavior are greed; false beliefs, fear of change or failure; and a desire to take things for granted.
I’m also a fan of the term: “false beliefs”, because they are often what people “believe” and therefore drive them to do things. And I’m a fan of the term “false fears”, because they are a form of fear that can cause people to do things without realizing how bad such actions can be.
These are the three major drivers of unethical business behavior. Greed, fear of change, and desire to take things for granted are all related to the three major drivers of unethical business behavior. We’ll talk about greed and fear of change in more detail down in the next section, but greed is the most important driver because it is the most obvious and the most pervasive.
Greed is the most obvious and the most pervasive. It is often the case that people want to do the most to make money, and this is the main driver. When people are seeking to make a bigger profit than they need to make, they will do things that are unethical. For example, a lot of people will buy and sell stock without following securities laws. Most people will also do things that are unethical.
People will do things that are unethical because greed is the most obvious driver. The more money that you make, the more options, the more things you can get paid for. That is a primary driver for people to go after what they want. Once you have your “thing”, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can do whatever you want with it.
But greed and unethical behavior are actually two sides of the same coin. One is motivated by greed, and the other is motivated by a desire to get rich. When people do things that are illegal or unethical, they do it out of greed—like buying and selling stock without following securities laws. People do it because they want what they can get for it. It is the same reason people do things like making out like bandits in the streets, or kidnapping children or selling them into slavery.
Here’s the point, greed is not an emotion or something that we can control. We will feel greed, but we will not be able to stop it. We can, however, control the type of greedy behavior that we are guilty of. The difference is, greed is not a choice we are free to make. We are born with a certain type of greed, and we are not free to choose a different type.
The more ethical behavior you do, the more likely you are to be associated by your company with unethical business behavior. There’s much more to this but I think you get the point. It’s also why you need to keep a very close eye on your employees at all times. They may be committing unethical behavior because they don’t like it, or because they just hate you or something. They need to be watched and kept on their toes.
It may sound obvious, but here it is again. We are a society of greed. The more we are all involved in business, the more we are all involved in business. So the more business we have, the more we are all involved in business. It makes sense. Our natural inclination is to want the largest rewards for the biggest risk. So if business is your business, then your business is obviously a risk.
The fact is that a lot of bad behavior comes from greed. It is a natural human trait to want to achieve the greatest amount of wealth in the shortest amount of time, and to take advantage of others who are also trying to do the same thing. The natural inclination of human beings is to want to maximize their own personal benefit, which is why the more we are all involved in business, the more we are all involved in business.