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Lee Valley’s Advertising Technique Analysis in Terms of Business Ethics

People are in a state of constant interrelation with one another and this process should be regulated accordingly in order to evade violation of people’s rights, freedom, and security. Since business relations occupy the position of primary importance in modern society, these relations should be regulated and controlled from different perspectives, legal and ethical ones are of primary importance among them. Business ethics is applied ethics that analyze certain issues that arise in a business sphere on the basis of ethical principles (McLachlan 2008). The study of practical cases with the application of theoretical knowledge is especially important when studying business ethics since the analysis of existing business ethical issues suggests nontrivial results and usefulness for the future. The case with “clean referrals” of ‘Lee Valley’ presents great interest in terms of ethical dilemmas involved (Spence 2009).

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“Edmonton Journal” suggests the description of a very original advertising technique successfully applied by Leonard Lee, a seventy-year-old founder and chairman of ‘Lee Valley Tools’, “a $ 100-million retail giant” (Spence 2009). As Mr. Lee has admitted himself, the growth of his company depended a lot upon the referrals from the existing clients. Thus, he managed to turn his customer into an advertising tool and this advertising method has proved to be very effective as it has attracted 43 000 new customers to the firm (Spence 2009).

However, the ethical grounds of the method may be questioned and this accounts for the choice of this case for the present study. The secret of ‘Lee Valley’s’ success is that they explain to the customer that they would give $ 5 to charity if the existing customer provides an address and a name of some person whom they can send advertising material, for instance, a catalog (Spence 2009). Thus, three sides are involved in the scheme: ‘Lee Valley’, the customer, and the organization that receives “donations”. Still, the question arises if the sums that are donated by ‘Lee Valley’ are real donations. “If someone gives to charity for a tax write-off, that isn’t as fine motive as giving because almsgiving is a duty” (Duska, 2007, p. 30). Thus, these donations are the advertising tool and the tax write-off means. The ethical dilemma is in the intentions of the owner of ‘Lee Valley’. There is the necessity to establish the meaning of the sums donated if they are maybe considered charity, or bribery of the individuals, or speculation on the feelings of the citizens. Mr. Lee mentions the scandal in the United States about doctors being paid by manufacturers for presenting favorable papers on their devices (Spence 2009). A comparison of the cases from an ethical point of view is needed.

As for the ethical approaches that will be used in the analysis, the deontological approach, which studies the act itself rather than the consequences of the act, should be used while considering the rightness of the method of Leonard Lee. Virtue ethics may be applied as well because the analysis of the intentions of the firm’s owner can provide the basis for the study and final decision. The application of teleological theory also suggests non-trivial results since the attraction of future clients is the main factor and the result of Lee’s strategy.

Concluding, it is necessary to state that the analysis of Lee Valley’s advertising technique seems to be promising in terms of business ethics, especially because it does not violate legal rules and laws. Still, the question of ethics should be the driving force of any business. Thus, the application of different approaches will enable us to define the correspondence of Lee’s method to the business ethical norms.

Reference List

Duska, R.F. (2007). Contemporary Reflections on Business Ethics. Dordrecht: Springer.

McLachlan, J.A. (2008). The Right Choice: Making Ethical Decisions on the Job. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.

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Spence, R. (2009). Lee Valley’s ‘Clean’ Referrals. Edmonton Journal. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 13). Lee Valley’s Advertising Technique Analysis in Terms of Business Ethics. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/lee-valleys-advertising-technique-analysis-in-terms-of-business-ethics/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 13). Lee Valley’s Advertising Technique Analysis in Terms of Business Ethics. https://studycorgi.com/lee-valleys-advertising-technique-analysis-in-terms-of-business-ethics/

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"Lee Valley’s Advertising Technique Analysis in Terms of Business Ethics." StudyCorgi, 13 Nov. 2021, studycorgi.com/lee-valleys-advertising-technique-analysis-in-terms-of-business-ethics/.

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StudyCorgi. "Lee Valley’s Advertising Technique Analysis in Terms of Business Ethics." November 13, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/lee-valleys-advertising-technique-analysis-in-terms-of-business-ethics/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Lee Valley’s Advertising Technique Analysis in Terms of Business Ethics." November 13, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/lee-valleys-advertising-technique-analysis-in-terms-of-business-ethics/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Lee Valley’s Advertising Technique Analysis in Terms of Business Ethics'. 13 November.

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