Poker Analogy for Business Ethics

poker analogy

Personal Morality versus Business Morality

According to A. Carr, there are strong differences between business morality and personal morality. Business morality often dictates that a person should at all times maintain complete transparency, and never tell malicious lies. It also dictates that a person follow the law at all times, even when the laws have not been framed by the business, and that all decisions are made based on strategy. When we think about personal morality, according to Poker analogy, you don’t really have to be completely transparent during the game, as bluffing is perfectly acceptable, as it even forms a part of the rules of the game. Also, according to Poker analogy, there is no need to always follow the rigid strictures of the law, when you think about what you ‘should’ do versus what you ‘ought’ to do. I’m pretty sure you can think of several business men who fit the bill right there, especially when it comes to taking advantage of loopholes in the law. There are also political commitments that business persons need to honour. If you are interested in reading more about business bluffing, Click Here.

Issues with the Poker analogy

According to critics, the most vocal of whom was Gillespie, business is not a game. While you can certainly get away with using Poker analogy in a poker game, you can hardly apply that to a business, which is foundationally based on trust. According to Gillespie, you cannot operate on the fundamental reasoning that ‘everyone else is bluffing, too’. There are honest business persons out there and it is up to other business persons to follow the ethical path and lead by example. Lying and cheating, should therefore not really be a part of an ethical business practice, if we follow this line of reasoning. If a business is legal, then it can be permitted to function as per the laws of ethics. Gillespie felt that in business there is a lot more at stake than the Poker analogy of a pot. This is because of the huge investment of persons and their livelihoods into the successful functioning of a business, and so it is only fair not to deprive them of a fair functioning of the business world.

If we follow Poker analogy, we can see that we can break the rules only if the moral cost is too high, or if fulfilling that duty will threaten the person’s well being. It’s also true that the business world operates on its own set of ethics, which may not even conform to a person’s ideas of personal morality, and therefore it is unfair to mix the two. You can always remedy a tricky situation in business by removing the root source of the problem, and fixing that first.


Leave a Reply