Code of Conduct for Ethical Business

The Story of Abdul Hassan

Abdul Hassan was a mobile food vendor selling fresh vegetables, fish and poultry. Every morning he goes round Kuantan town in his van to sell fresh vegetables, fish and poultry. His van is an expensive van and well equipped with refrigeration facility to keep fish, poultry and vegetables fresh and in good condition. He is now a very successful businessperson because his main concern has always been the interest, satisfaction and welfare of his customers.

He started his business on a bicycle. What he did was to go to the wholesale market very early each morning and spent a lot of time selecting good quality vegetables for sale. He washed and cleaned the vegetables and made them look really good. Many people liked to buy from him because his vegetables were specially selected, cleaned and were of very high quality. Many of his customers did not have the time to go to the market and spent time selecting such good quality vegetables. Also many did not have the skills like Abdul Hassan to make the selection. Abdul Hassan did this for them.

Second, Abdul Hassan's prices were very fair. They were almost the same price as the vegetables sold by vendors in the market or supermarkets. Even if it was more, he made sure that his prices were never more than 10 per cent. Customers began to trust him for honesty. Abdul Hassan was also very reliable. He went round selling his vegetables without fail even on rainy days. In addition, he had a very pleasing personality. He was always kind, courteous and respectful to his customers and never got angry with them even those who by nature wanted to bargain and were petty with him. He began to build a regular clientele.

Abdul Hassan's business prospered. From bicycle, he moved on to a motorcycle. From vegetables he added on fish. His high quality products, fair prices, honest and most tolerant attitude and behaviour further enhanced his business and prosperity. He moved from motorcycle to a small van and now to a larger van with refrigeration facility. Still he has not changed with his prosperity. He is still very quality conscious. His pricing is very fair. He is trustworthy and honest in his dealings. He is very pleasant in his attitude and respectful to his customers, young of old, rich or poor.

One day, someone asked Abdul Hassan about the secrets for his success. Abdul Hassan said that his philosophy as a businessperson is that he deals in food and the business must be dealt with in the most responsible way. He pointed out, " I will not buy, cook and eat bad food. So I will not sell low quality food or food that is not fit for consumption. I do not want to pay high prices for my purchases. So, I do not charge exorbitant price for my goods. I make fair profit. I would like to deal with reliable, dependable, trustworthy and honest businessperson. So I, as a businessperson aspire all the time to be reliable, dependable, trustworthy and honest in my business dealings. That is the secret of my business success."

Questions for discussions:

Based on the story discuss the following questions:

1. What is the importance of good business ethics?

2. What are the characteristics of ethical business?

3. What are the roles and responsibilities of an ethical business?

4. What contributions can ethical business make towards consumer protection and national development?

5. What are the elements for a code of conduct for ethical business?