In this day and age there is more and more emphasis being placed on ethics and the impact they have on a business. When examining ethics it should be duly noted there are two ways of broaching the subject. The first is an individualistic approach, where each person remains responsible wholly for their own actions, while the second is communal in nature, where members of a business entity share responsibility for their colleagues’ behavior. In most scenarios, more attention is paid to the individualistic method and that could be based upon how our society functions with a laissez-faire attitude and survival of the fittest rather than identifying oneself as a community member, but more attention could certainly be awarded to the communal viewpoint because an individual is only a part of the whole and while change does occur initially at this level, community is definitely as important. It could have a much more wide-ranging impact on how a business will efficiently run.
For this discussion of ethics and their impact on business organizations the short film the Entrepreneurial Spirit: Birds Barbershop was selected. The film centers upon the business enterprise of partners Jason Rapaport and Michael Portman in their hometown of Austin, Texas. The two men were childhood friends and decided to embark on their own endeavor after detesting the political nature of working in large corporations. Their concept was to extract the core services of a neighborhood barbershop and make that more palatable to their clientele. Their main goal is to give people “more bang for their buck” which includes creating an extremely pleasurable experience at a lower price. One of the main tenets of how Rapaport and Portman envisioned accomplishing this was employing people that did not look at this job as a way merely to pay the bills, but as a way of life. They wanted them to have a vested interest in the growth of the business. For Rapaport and Portman’s vision, this was an extremely important part of how their business would function because they do not view growth as opening a multitude of shops to reap financial benefits. If their employees care they will take ownership and responsibility on their own and in turn have a stake in how successful the barbershops will become because there is a personal attachment.
External social pressures have become a huge factor in managing a business’s ethical organizations. In the case of this film, it is of the utmost importance, because Birds Barbershop is a small enterprise that depends on community involvement and patronage for its growth and survival. If they don’t listen to what the public says they will be out of business. So the partners keep close tabs on customer and employee suggestions. They like to keep their fingers on the pulse so to speak of the neighboring areas to discover current trends or what people feel is important for them to continue walking through the door. This vastly differs from a larger business where the focus traditionally has remained on merely staying within legal boundaries.
Naturally any opportunity, whether it be business or personal, that involves a financial stake would be susceptible to social pressures and would determine what sort of ethical approach would be undertaken. It seems obvious all these factors would play a role in personal decisions, such as goals and how one would conduct themselves, and business decisions as well. This is exactly why Rapaport and Portman are highly selective in the people they hire and have certain criteria, other than previous professional experience, to ascertain who they bring on board. Their attitude is you are only as good as your staff and
without employees that are willing to go above and beyond because their futures are tied into the future of the business, true growth would never be achieved and the customers as well as the staff would be at a tremendous disadvantage.
There really is not much discussion about the relationship between legal and ethical issues in this film. The main gist of the piece is to illustrate how Rapaport and Portman utilized communal ethical techniques to commence and continue their business. Then it delves into buttressing that concept with interviews from each man and by depicting their shop. They feel without the right employees and the right communal approach their business will not succeed because that is their model. As far as legally, each man probably assumes with the right staff and the right atmosphere, legal ethics would not be much of a concern because the business will hum along at its own rate and pace. Why would that be a major dilemma if you have happy employees that care about their job and elicit this kind of ethical behavior with their customers? It would be a win-win situation and legal ethics would be much further down on the list than organizational ethics. It would not come close to taking center stage other than legal problems generally do not surface with the right people in the right places. That would be the relationship.