The TV episode I chose to examine from a business, government, and society perspective is from the show Boy Meets World. I am sure many of you are familiar with the sitcom comedy-drama, as it aired for seven seasons on ABC from 1993 through 2000, but for those of you who aren’t, I will sum it up. Basically, the show chronicles the experiences and everyday life lessons in the world of Cory Matthews, your typical teenage boy from Philadelphia as he grows up from a young boy, through middle school, high school, college, and later married life.
In the episode “Life’s Tough, Get a Helmet”, Eric Matthews, the naïve older brother of Cory, engages in unethical behavior by purchasing a term paper from a magazine ad for “Term Papers by Gerard” and trying to pass it off as his own work. He intentionally attempts to deceive his teacher, Mr. Feeney, going so far as to say to him, “I almost enjoyed writing this paper.” However, Mr. Feeney easily sees right through Eric’s not so clever ploy because the paper addressed a completely different topic than was assigned. In fact, Mr. Feeney is even able to identify the original author of the paper as one of his students from the prior year. When he realizes that he has been caught red-handed, Eric admits to paying for the paper from a term paper writing service.
I saw the episode as relevant to the concepts of business ethics, ethical decision-making, and fraudulent and deceptive activities that we have discussed in class. Specifically, the financial disaster of 2008 and the Enron case came to mind.
As for the financial crisis, several decision makers’ actions were unethical. The credit rating agencies and others involved did not focus on the importance of responsibility and honesty to their stakeholders. They gave biased and misrepresented ratings.
As for Enron, the leadership failed to protect investor interests by recording misleading transactions. In the business world, accurate reporting of financial statements is absolutely essential as investors should have access to correct and quality information when making investment decisions. Such fraudulent behavior by Enron was unethical.
I believe that Eric, the credit rating agencies, and Enron’s leadership should have acted with more personal integrity. Professional Codes of Conduct and Academic Codes of Conduct are meant to guide behavior. These individuals and groups should have adhered to such principles.