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The Ethics of Purchasing Agents

Every profession is responsible for upholding communal social principles such as justice and fairness. Due to the nature of their job and access to multimillion-dollar funds, purchasing agents are exposed to the temptation to act unethically more than any other group within a company (Monczka et al., 2016). Three rules serve as the foundation for their ethical behavior: working for the organization’s benefit rather than personal enrichment, upholding its formal ethical standards, and treating suppliers with professionalism and respect (Monczka et al., 2016). If purchasers ever feel enticed to engage in morally dubious behavior, they should seek guidance from the Bible.

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Firstly, salespeople may offer gifts or favors to purchasing agents in order to secure a wanted contract. This violates the professional standard of eschewing personal enrichment and biblical condemnation of bribery. According to the Old Testament, bribery is a perversion of justice that “blinds the discerning and perverts the words of the righteous” (Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV), Exodus 23:8). The most famous example is Judas, who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver which directly led to the latter’s crucifixion. Accepting bribes is unethical, potentially illegal, and clearly evil from the biblical perspective.

Secondly, a purchasing agent may use deception to meet aggressive sales goals. Willful misrepresentation to manipulate prices is known as “sharp practices” (Monczka et al., 2016). For example, a buyer might request bids from unqualified suppliers to lower the price of a qualified one. This is considered unethical because it disrespects the supplier. Furthermore, the Bible clearly denounces all instances of lying, manipulation, and deceit as sinful: “the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Holy Bible, NIV, Proverbs 11:3). Exploiting people’s weaknesses for personal gain might even be considered the domain of Satan, who manipulated Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. Engaging in activities that fall just short of fraud is professionally disrespectful and considered a crime against God.

In conclusion, purchasing agents may face many temptations but are responsible for upholding professional and biblical standards of behavior. They might be offered a gift or favor from sellers in exchange for awarding an advantageous contract, but this is very clearly a case of bribery that Exodus views as a perversion of righteousness. On the other hand, they may feel motivated to use technically legal strategies to decrease prices. However, the Bible clearly states that manipulative liars will eventually be found out and punished.


“New International Version (NIV)”. 2011. Bible Gateway. Web.

Monczka R., Handfield, R., Giunipero, L., & Patterson, L. (2016). Purchasing and Supply Chain Management (6th ed.). Cengage Learning.

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