Business Ethics & Cheating in Relationships

If you start typing in Google, “Why do” the third suggestion is “Why do men cheat?” Of course, cheating is not engendered and women are “closing the gap” on cheating, but the topic is always floating around in any relationship.

In Art Wolfe’s The Corporate Apology, he presents the details of the Ford Pinto case. Essentially, Ford could pay $49.5 million in court settlements for approximately 2,100 vehicles that would probably burn & injure it’s inhabitants or they could pay $137 million to fix said vehicles before they went to market. They choose to save $87.5 million.

So what does this have to do with cheating?

Well the article’s author, Wolfe, suggests that the reason corporations make decision in this way is because: 

  1. “The victims of corporate actions are out of sight and mind.”
  2. “Students are trained to understand the business environment by seeing humans as units… Business is conceived of, taught and practiced as a game that bears no relation to life.”

These two factors combined is what brings the cheating metaphor into focus for me. Imagine being “the other woman” or “other man.” It’s a lot easier to be that person if your lover’s partner is not someone you ever see (e.g. long distance relationships). You are so removed from that person you’re hurting that is does not feel applicable to you.

Next, envision it all as just a fun past time, nothing serious. You then come to a point where the weight of your actions are not considered. It’s all a game and if you’re benefiting (getting your jollies, so to say), you’re winning!

With this outlook, you’ve got nothing but up sides. Depending on the situation, you may stand to lose nothing significant, especially if you’re single. (Of course, this doesn’t take into account affairs in which there are real feelings versus no strings attached situations.)

But what if you had to publicly apologize to the partner of your lover? This is the solution Wolfe offers. This humanizes your actions, the situation and the victim. No more is it a game in which you reap all the rewards, rather now, you must reveal yourself as being a party to injuring a fellow human being and bare the shame.

This is not, in any way, an attempt to mitigate the actions of the person involved in the relationship, rather a consideration to take into account before involving yourself in a potentially damaging situation. Every human being deserves dignity and respect and you should consider what happens when shit gets real and how you’d feel on the other side of the situation be it driving around the deadly Ford Pinto you just greenlighted or being the cheatee.  Both relationships and business can be fun, but it’s not a game.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *