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Conflict Management Assignment

Submitted By: Muhammad Furqan Zeb 01-111072-182 BBA 6-B Submitted To: Maam Kishwar

Is Business Bluffing Ethical?


One of the great dilemmas in business has always been whether a certain amount of deceptions or trickery is an ethical practice. For decades businessmen have perfected some form of business bluffing whether it was to gain an edge against a competitor or to get a promotion. However, simply because everyone else is bluffing does not make it an ethical practice, or does it? Albert Z. Carr has attempted to answer this question in his article, "Is Business Bluffing Ethical?"The "bluff' in business is regarded as one of the most widely accepted game strategies according to Carr. Try to think of business as one big poker game. Bluffing in a poker game does not reflect at all on the morality. Business is just like a game in which there are many players who play it with some rules & regulations as there are some rules & regulations in the game. We can take example of poker. Many players sitting around the table & the bluff with each other in order to win the game & according to them that bluffing is not unethical as it is a part of that game. This is an important thing in the poker, so if a person is bluffing in poker we cant say that he does not have moral standards or he is doing something unethical. Bluffing we can say is a requirement in the poker, so it is justified that it not a wrong act to do bluffing while playing poker. Thats all about the poker. Now if we start talking about business we see a lot that people are bluffing with others while making some business deals, during selling & buying, during negotiations. So now what we can call this? Is it all unethical practices? Or is it ethical. I will support the statement of Albert Carr that business bluffing is ethical. Bluffing is ethical in the business the thing is that the rules, principles & regulations will remain same. We can take an example of a scenario that if there is a buyer & seller & they are negotiating on any product. The seller will quote the higher price first which is not the actual price of that product. Then buyer will quote the price within his/her range. So we cant say that seller is bluffing, actually he is just starting with a higher price so then in bargaining he will get a good price & of course the buyer will also bargain within his/her limits. We can take another example from the article Business Bluffing Reconsidered by Fritz Allhoff. Imagine that I am dealing with a car seller. I tell the seller that I cannot pay more then $10,000 as its my last range. In response the seller is saying that he cant sell less then $12000 as it will be loss for him. Both are actually lying with each other. But what we can say is it unethical? No. Because both are bluffing about their reservation prices & even in the negotiations you will never tell your reservation price to other party. So it is a common practice. The goal of business bluffing is not to cheat or make a loss of other party but it is just for making your position strong. This is very necessary in the business. We can again take example of poker by quoting Albert Carrs Statemtent:

Business, like poker, warrants a certain amount of bluffing. He holds that business is a game, and so long as all those playing are doing so with an understanding of the rules of the game, personal ethics do not necessarily apply in the same way they would in a businessperson's personal life (Carr 1968). Business ethics is different from the ethics of religions. We see that religion teaches us to take care of yourself as well as your society & never harm anyone. In Business the thing is same that you would not harm anyone but you have to make a strong position as well as you had to develop a different behavior of your customers. So in this case bluffing is not ethical, as you are just trying to attract your customers & then you are giving them what they, want. This is not an unethical practice. Business is a two way game, as in every deal there use to be two parties and every party use to play bluff in order to get maximum benefit. Business ethics is a bit more difficult to define. Chryssides and Kaler (1993) believe it is a byproduct of the actions taken in a variety of ethical situations. While in part a system of normative behaviours agreed upon by the majority of those involved in business, business ethics may also be thought of as the spoken and unspoken guidelines of the business community that exist to assist those in the business world in resolving questions of conduct. (Chryssides and Kaler 1993). In the present world the businesses are developing so fast & new trends are emerging so as I mentioned above that bluffing is important to make ones position strong. It is also expected by every businessman that bluffing can be done by him or anyone can bluff him. Bluffing in actual is not lying it is just to make your position stronger as well as it means not to reveal the whole information. There are spoken & unspoken rules of business. But most of the times the situation make the rules. So if we take business like a poker game. Then anyone who wants to win will make his position strong by bluffing.

Bluffing can therefore be consider a game strategy employed by one or more persons who withhold, misrepresent, exaggerate, or in some way allow others to misinterpret the truth to enhance the strength of their position during negotiations. (Car 1968, Allhoff 2003) Carr presents several main assertions that bluffing in the business arena should be viewed in a similar manner to bluffing in poker. First, it is an expected activity in the game of business. Carr considers business a game, and one in which bluffing is what any good game player does. He contends that since most seasoned business people will expect bluffing, and even use it as a strategy themselves, anyone who doesn't bluff is likely to lose. (Carr 1968). The companies ultimate goal is to make profits, but on the other hand they also have some social responsibilities. So if they bluff according to some limits which is not dangerous for some one health then is ethical. As they are making their position strong & if they have to survive then it is necessary for them. We can also find utilitarian perspective in business bluffing, as your end justifies your means & greater advantage for greater number if people.

Examples
The first example can be taken from the call center industry. If in the interview you tell them that you are working for some limited time. Either they will reject you or give you job on less salary then other employees. The reason is that because call centers have to give training to each & every employee so they want an employee for a longer time period. But if you bluff with them & say that you will work with them for a longer time period they will never reject you & even give you the pay which they are giving to other employees of same level. Bluffing is not unethical here because you are willing to do job but not for a longer time period. It will not be damage that call center if you leave the job because they have thousands of people wants to join them.

The Second example can be of the 2nd hand mobile sellers or car dealers. They will never ever tell you the exact price of their product. They will always put the price higher. They justify it that they are not lying they are just asking for higher price as they are doing business & profits are their ultimate goal. So they will tell you the higher price, because they know that customer will bargain & if they put the price higher then even after the bargaining they will get a reasonable profit.