What role do you believe government regulation should play to ensure ethical conduct by businesses?

Respond to…

What role do you believe government regulation should play to ensure ethical conduct by businesses? How do different political viewpoints potentially shape the answer to this question?

The government’s role in regulating ethical conduct by businesses should be an educational and oversight role.  The government should set forth rules and regulations for all businesses to follow ethical behavior practices. Give businesses the tools and possibly literature, as a whole, so all businesses know how to train their employees and what is expected of them.  It is up to businesses to hire people with great character who will not only follow the rules but carry themselves in a manner that is in line with the companies goals and motto. Only when an employee of the business acts outside of the rules and regulations set forth by the government should the government get involved.  They might get involved to find out if the act was an isolated event or an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed. If found to be an ongoing problem, then the government should apply the necessary penalties to fit the act. In most cases, the unethical acts are isolated events that require only the business to get involved and remedy the situation.  “On the flip side, business leaders must also apply appropriate sanctions for bad or illegal behavior”(Seaquist, 2012).

“The ethical accountability of business is one of the areas in which the government has tried to legislate ethical conduct.” (Seaquist, 2012).  People with differing political views will have a different answer to this question because of their ideologies. People who are on the conservative side might see things differently from those on the liberal side of the aisle. Liberals might not have the same issues or problems related to those of a different political party.  One party might be in favor of harsher penalties for certain acts than others. Politics should not be deciding factors when it comes to ethical issues or regulations. Regulating ethical behaviors should be black and white, with all businesses on the same page, so everyone knows how to respond to certain situations.


Seaquist, G. (2012). Business law for managers [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/

Respond to…

As I stated in discussion one, this is such a controversial and difficult topic to address. Government regulation in business, in my opinion, is a necessity. While I understand the argument that the marketplace is self-regulating, and that the government regulations impose a burden of high costs on businesses, small businesses in particular, in the end I would still say that government regulation is necessary.

To say the marketplace is self-regulating and does not need any government regulation after what we as a country have seen businesses do historically would be irresponsible. We have seen the need for government intervention in business through the 2008 credit crisis, the bailouts that followed, and the continuous news stories of businesses who have been fined for not being compliant with the regulations of the government. The government rules and regulations create someone for these businesses to answer to for their actions and hold them accountable. To me, that is necessary.

“The US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) reported its findings in January 2011 that ‘the crisis was avoidable and was caused by: widespread failures in financial regulation, including the Federal Reserve’s failure to stem the tide of toxic mortgages; dramatic breakdowns in corporate governance including too many financial firms acting recklessly and taking on too much risk; an explosive mix of excessive borrowing and risk by households; and Wall Street that put the financial system on a collision course with crisis; key policy makers ill prepared for the crisis, lacking a full understanding of the financial system they oversaw; and systemic breaches in accountability and ethics at all levels’ (FCIC, 2011)” (Woodside, 2012, p.128). This statement sums up my opinion about this topic and the need for regulation, because when left unregulated we have seen the mess that can be made. The rules and regulations imposed by government may be a burden, however they are a burden with a purpose that is worth it.

I do believe that the rules and regulations should be different for small businesses vs large corporations. It is large corporations that pose the greater risk to society as far as business goes, and they are who I believe need to be regulated more so because of their large-scale impact on society. There should be some regulations on small businesses, but not at the same level as the large corporations, which is the case in government regulations today. “A combination of political pressures and equity concerns has resulted in numerous legislative provisions that exempt small firms from regulatory requirements or reduce their burden of compliance” (Weidenbaum, 1998, p.60). This alleviates the issue that some raise in the argument that the regulations imposed by government inflict too high of a burden on small businesses, because the small businesses are exempt from many of the regulations and rules that large corporations are held to.

Regulations should play the role of setting guidelines and industry standards and holding companies to those industry standards with punishments such as fines. The government should be holding companies accountable for their actions and putting out the fires before they get too big.

I think that political views may have an affect on the answer to this question, although for me it does not. I think a republican would generally be likely to answer this question that they would want little to no government intervention in business, and that there is no need for government in business. I think a democrat would be more likely to answer that they would want more government regulation in business. I think that government regulation is necessary, although only to a certain extent. I don’t think this because of a political reason, but because I believe that greed can be a dangerous thing in the business world, and if left unregulated people and companies are capable of unethical business behaviors.


Weidenbaum, M. (1998). Government Regulation and Medium-Sized Business. Society, 35(3), 60–63. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=273938&site=eds-live&scope=site

Woodside, A. G., Man-Ling Chang, & Cheng-Feng Cheng. (2012). Government Regulations of Business, Corruption, Reforms, and the Economic Growth of Nations, 11(2), 127–142. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eoh&AN=EP88422183&site=eds-live&scope=site

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