- 1. In “The Sociological Imagination”, Mills states that “In so far as an economy is so arranged that slumps occur, the problem of unemployment becomes incapable of personal solution” (Mills 10). What does he mean by this and dhow does his example relate to the significance of the article?
In his article, Mills defines the sociological imagination as the ability to see things socially and understand how the individual affects society as a whole. His examples allow the reader to gain an understanding about the structure of society, and how the individual interacts with his or her surroundings. The example stated about unemployment seems to explain the concept of individuals affecting society as a whole. Years ago layoffs only affected a small amount of people, allowing society to be aware but not actively pursue a solution. With the increasing job loss in times of economic recession, the combined individuals who are no longer considered “working class” have a collective greater effect on society. In essence, the significance of the article is to understand the great paradox: although the individual may not directly affect society, society can directly affect the individual. Instead of adhering to the “personal situation and character of a scatter of individuals”, we now look for a solution to alleviate the plight of the entire society (Mills 10). This demonstrates that key societal behavior can cause the most change in the culture and development of a society.
2. In “Managing Business Ethics”, divorcing business from ethics results in distrust on each player in a business catastrophe. What is the significance of reputation after a business scandal and how does this relate to the concept of cynicism.
In his “Theory of Moral Sentiment”, Adam Smith indicates that humans are inherently moral beings who strive to “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”, regardless of praise received from our actions (Trevino & Nelson 3). Rushworth Kidder extrapolated on this sentiment, and specifies how capitalism itself will only succeed when supplemented by morally just decisions in business. When unethical decisions are made, not only can this result in profit loss, but the reputation of the corporation, the employees, and even the country is affected as well. The article talks in depth about the financial crisis of 2008 and the problems that led to its demise. With the contributions of, and not limited to, individuals (Alan Greenspan), corporations (General Motors and Fannie Mae) and government (President George W. Bush), the United States continues to suffer the consequences of a poor reputation. It is the businesses, government, and people that hold the reputation of our nation. If an unhealthy amount of cynicism comes into play, we would not only sacrifice our financial security, but our relations with other nations as well.
3. Why is there such a dichotomy in the difference in how ethically people predict they’ll act, and what they actually do?
This journal explains that the majority of business failure comes not from a villain in business practices, but by decent people who make ethically questionable decisions in times of stress or pressure. We may not plan to be unethical, but in certain cases the result explains otherwise. The authors of the journal discuss how we hold an optimistic mirage of ourselves, and are inherently good people doing unjust things without knowing at the time. Although our brains works extremely hard to continue seeing ourselves in a positive light, there are a plethora of pressures that lead individuals to do things they wouldn’t normally do (after more reflection). When an ethical lapse does present itself, it is usually under the circumstances of a clear disparity between right and wrong.