Critique of “Getting Business Off Steroids” Essay

Critique of “Getting Business Off Steroids” Essay

The analogy between the ethics of business and sports could hold. Sports constitute a business (Torres, 2009) and business is like competitive sports. There is also the propensity to cheat in both business and sports fuelled by the drive towards victory. This boils down to the problem of faulty decision-making of key business decision-makers and sports players (Torres, 2009). The analogy is strong relative to faulty decision-making manifesting in cheating behavior, as driven by the quest for victory that sets aside excellence. The competition in business and sports is both highly intense. The basis of victory is numbers, profit margins and shareholder dividends for business decision-makers and homeruns and wins for baseball players. Business decision-makers and baseball players could succumb to faulty decision-making and cheat to achieve top numbers. However, the analogy is weak relative to lack of self-control as a human fault as an explanation for cheating. The desire for power and its decline influences self-control in business while popularity and its demise strongly affects self-control in sports. These different factors create different contexts for cheating.

Faulty decision-making as the common ethical problem in both business and sports differs in contextual operation. The problem is within the control of key decision-makers in business because they have free reign over the motivation towards victory or excellence and the decision to cheat or not. The problem operates in part at the individual level for sports players together with external coercion. While sport players eventually make the personal decision to ingest steroids, the team managers, fans, advertisers, co-players and the media partly force the decision to cheat.

Cheating as the manifestation of deformed character due to the quest for victory, which clashes with excellence, (Torres, 2009) provides only a partial explanation of the problem. This places the problem in absolute black and white and decisions become exclusively dependent on internal control. A theory integrating internal motivations and external context provides better analysis of the problem. Ethical behavior depends on interior control given specific contexts. People are not absolutely corrupt or honest. Specific situations also determine ethical action.

The self-diagnostic questions targeting excellence (Torres, 2009) stands, by considering both short and long-term impact with internal and external implications. Asking these questions could hold in directing decision-making towards excellence. However, these questions do not necessarily prevent internal corruption and cheating. These questions focus on the outcome, which is excellence comprised of immediate objectives, competence, cooperation and trust as specific achievements. However, these do not strictly account for the path in attaining the outcomes.

The chapter provides an explanation of the common ethical problem in business and sports. It also explains that business decision-makers and sports players engage in cheating because of lack of control and internal corruption (Torres, 2009). The weakness is the rigid typology of faulty decision-making as internal corruption due to the motivation of victory. Faulty decision-making led to eventual failure in the examples. However, faulty decision-making is not necessarily or solely due to internal corruption. External factors also explain faulty decision-making.


Torres, M.B., 2009. Getting business off steroids. In J. Friedland, ed. Doing well and good: the human face of the new capitalism. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, pp. 3-30.

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