Biz Ethics. Not.

A downside of college is the lack of time a person can devote to leisurely activities. It has been said before that laughter is the best form of medicine, which is why a person, no matter how busy they are, should make time for pointless yet hilarious shows like the office. 

The great thing about pop culture is that it can take real world issues and find some way to make fun of them. On the episode appropriately titled Business ethics, the cast conducts a business ethics seminar which ends up causing more drama in the office.  The character known as Meredith is revealed to have been engaging in inappropriate activities with a supplier in order to gain a discount. As humorous as the actors make this episode, these kinds of things actually do happen in real life.

Although many businesses have policies and rules against unethical behavior, the point of the story is that sometimes rules and regulations aren’t enough.  Just as we have seen in cases like Enron and Lehman Brothers, unethical behavior is a huge issue for a business, and if it isn’t taken care of, it will eventually lead to a complete crumble of the company.

A lot of pop culture television shows and music get a bad rap for being untrue or overly dramatized, but they definitely help to address real world issues. In the case of The Office, we can enjoy the humor of business issues that occur in the 9-5 work world, with an appreciation for being an audience member rather than a pawn in the next big office scheme.


6 thoughts on “Biz Ethics. Not.

  1. Jordi commented on my post about HIMYM questioning the purpose of unethical exaggerations of businesses in comedies? Clearly, both of these shows exaggerate and make a humorous situation of unethical practices in businesses but why do this? I think there is some underlying truth behind both of these shows. Obviously inter office relationships happen in society, but do people engage in inappropriate behavior with suppliers? Bosses? These are unethical issues that are happening in modern day society so it is interesting that The Office portrays these issues through a comedic standpoint.

    • Does the use of comedy make it easier to talk about those issues? Or does it subtly enable them? What should be the ethics of inter-office relations? I think I read somewhere that many (the majority) o relationships emerge from work contacts. Which makes sense. You tend to date people you know, and you tend to know, ta-da!, the people you spend 6,8,10, 12 hours a day with.

      • I wrote a similar post about how these shows provide comedic relief but also presents issues that are found in many companies. It gives us the audience to laugh at our own mistakes in many ways. And to a point this may be the reason we watch these shows. Or it could possibly be that it makes the audience feel like they are better than the workers being portrayed because they would never do those things. Jordi I definitely think that the use of comedic relief makes it easier to talk about these issues and feel better about our own possibly unethical decisions in the workplace.

  2. I always feel so bad for Holly and Toby, but at the same time their characters (especially Toby) always bothered me the most. And now that I think about it, it is because of what Holly mentioned in the clip above: “Being the morality police doesn’t make you popular”. Nobody wants to feel like they are untrusted and need someone to watch over their actions, but the truth of the matter is that it is necessary. I’m sure at one point there was no one monitoring employees actions, but then the employees lost their trust because of something wrong that they did.

  3. My friend’s dad once told me that his average work day was exactly like the show ‘The Office.’ A large proportion of the days consisted of goofing around and wasting time, and the rest in meetings. All good humor has some truth to it. I believe the manager’s management style dictates the office culture, and Michael Scott certainly enabled a fun-loving atmosphere. Who wouldn’t want to work in that type of office?

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