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Purchasing Ethics

Purchasing ethics refers to rules and regulations as well as guidelines that should be observed by all purchasing professionals. Most organizations or institutions have a well stipulated code of ethics that ensures all activities in that organization are carried out in a morally and an acceptable manner. Observing proper ethics is very important as it does not only enhance the success of the institution but also the public image.

Although ethics is applicable in every area, application of the same in purchasing is very important because situations that call for judgment of right or wrong are rampant in the same department. Studies of Wood (1995) indicate that though purchasing ethics has been observed in United States, it is still a mater of concern since some unethical practices like accepting gifts are still widespread. Due to this, the profitability and the public image of the organizations are greatly affected as well as the reputation of the purchasing professionals.

In United States, their reputation has been ruined and they have been labeled as unethical and dishonest individuals (Forker 1990). As a result, as stated by Banks McDowell, professional associations are worried about the public image of purchasing professionals as unethical. Since there is a lot of evidence indicating the same, this essay shall argue for the statement that public image of purchasing professionals is unethical. In America, there are a number of professional associations that deal directly with purchasing professionals.

For instance, American Purchasing Society which was the first organization to set up certification for buyers and purchasing professionals is a perfect example. Such and other organizations offer courses, seminars and guidance to professional buyers with an aim of improving their services. They also help other business organizations and managers to come up with a code of ethics that ensure purchasing is conducted in an ethical manner. Since the main duty of professional associations is to ensure ethics is observed, they are usually concerned when purchasing professionals become unethical.

According to Forker (1990), a survey conducted at the state of Arizona indicated that the respondents did not have serious ethical issues with purchasing professionals at the state level. However, the same study illustrates that due to media coverage of the pentagon procurement scandals, purchasing professionals at the federal level have been displayed as unethical and dishonest. Some of them are biased to some sellers and suppliers while others go to an extent of accepting gifts from a supplier in order to give them the first priority.

Such acts have contributed greatly in affecting the reputation of purchasing professionals. Unethical purchasing behavior is not only a domestic problem but also an international problem. A study which was conducted to investigate the extent of unethical behavior in India indicated that purchasing managers in paid little attention to stipulated code of ethics (Motwani, Kumar & Mohamed, 1998). Though the same situation is still evident in United States, unethical behavior is more rampant in India than in America. However, the variation results from difference in interpretation of unethical behavior in the two cultures.

Whichever the case, the study clearly illustrates that unethical behavior among the purchasing professionals and more so purchasing managers is a major concern since it is extending virtually everywhere in the entire world. As much as studies of Landeros & Plank indicate that purchasing professionals are more ethical than they were previously, the two authors acknowledge that some of the unethical practices can still be observed among the professionals (1996). The study was conducted using multidimensional scale of ethics which finds out how purchasing professionals would react to situations they face daily while performing their duties.

Professional associations ought to be more worried considering that duties and responsibilities of purchasing managers have increased and therefore failure to observe ethics can result to more severe consequences. Although other members of staff in purchasing departments fail to observe ethics, purchasing managers are more crucial because they control a lot of activities in the purchasing department. Most of studies which have been conducted have clearly indicated that unethical behavior is common among the purchasing professionals and has persisted for a long time.

Bribery and price rigging to mention just a few are among the many unethical practices observed among the purchasing professionals. Due to this, the public image of purchasing professionals has been ruined as members of the public have a negative attitude towards them. Though results of some studies indicate otherwise, there is a high possibility that unethical acts still exist but have not been exposed. For instance, due to media coverage in the federal level, a lot unethical acts has been exposed (Forker, 1990).

Although the practice affects virtually every person in the society, professional associations involved are greatly affected as it is their duty to ensure that ethics is upheld at all costs. References Forker, L. B. (1990). Purchasing professionals in state government: How ethical are they? Ethics, Journal of Business , 9 (11), 903-911. Landeros, R. , & Plank, R. E. (1996). How ethical are purchasing management professionals? Journal of Business Ethics , 15 (7), 789-803. Motwani, J. , Kumar, A. , & Mohamed, Z. (1998). Ethical behavior of indian purchasing managers. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review , 34

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