The Business Ethics of Henry Ford

No one had the remotest notion of the future of the internal combustion engine, while we were just on the edge of he great electrical development (Ford 1926, 34). Ford was faced with a difficult situation: The Edison Company offered me the general superintendence of the company but only on condition that I would give up my gas engine and devote myself to something really useful. I had to choose between my job and my automobile. I chose the automobile, or rather gave up my job (Ford 1926, 35).

Ford took a risky business investment. He had left the security of a steady income, and set out on pursuing his own ideas. He can be compared to the intransigent men. He took great risks while pursuing his ideas that would ultimately change humanity. In the beginning there was hardly any one who sensed the automobile could be a large factor in industry (Ford 1926, 36). The year from 1902 until the formation of the Ford Motor Company was practically one of investigation (Ford 1926, 37).

Ford had experimented with different materials and designs to make his car a quality car. There were several companies producing cars at this time, Ford did not agree with their motives, as he states: The most supervising feature of business as it was conducted was the large attention given to finance and the small attention to service (Ford 1926, 37). Secondly, he mentions his disgust of his competitors workmanship, An article apparently was not built with reference to how greatly it could serve the public but with reference solely to how much money could be had for it (Ford 1926, 38) Ford was not pleased with the current automotive business ethics, The automobile business was not on what I would call an honest basis(Ford 1926, 38).

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Instead of following the industries motives he created his own: My idea was then and still is that if a man did his work well, the price he would get for that work, the profits and all financial matters, would care for themselves and that the business ought to start small and build itself up and out of its earnings (Ford 1926, 38). Ford had comparatively the same economic view of reinvestment, as did the entrepreneur of England. He states: Money is not worth a particular amount. As money it is not worth anything, for it will do nothing of itself. The only use of money is to buy tools to work with or the product of tools. Therefore money is worth what it will help you to produce or buy and no more (Ford 1926, 39-40). Ford saw money for its true intent, in other words to foster production.

He didnt see money as wealth. These ideas would help him put together a well-respected automobile manufacturing company. The only foundation of real business is service (Ford 1926, 41). Ford had based his business ethics upon this idea. A manufacturer is not through with his customer when a sale is completed (Ford 1926,41). Complete service and customer satisfaction with his product was a primary goal for the company to strive towards. This is supported when he guarantees: The price and the quality of the car would undoubtedly have made a market, and a large market. We went beyond that. A man who bought one of our cars was in my opinion entitled to continuous use of that car, and therefore if he had a breakdown of any kind it was our duty to see that his machine was put into shape again at the earliest possible moment (Ford 1926, 41). Ford saw the huge production possibility along the horizon. Rather then direct competition with the other manufacturers Ford followed an alternate route. Time spent in fighting competition is wasted; it had better be spent in doing the work. There are always enough people ready and anxious to buy, provided you supply what they want and at the proper price, and this applies to personal services as well as to goods (Ford 1926, 45) Ford followed strict work habits that helped his business become successful. By no means was he a lazy man that reaches the vertex of his career and stops. All his efforts were focused on the task he wished to accomplish. Leisure and work bring different results. If a man wants leisure and gets it then he has no cause to complain. But he cannot have both leisure and the results of work. (Ford 1926, 46).

Ford lists the ideas he formulated about business as follows:

  1. finance is given a place ahead of work and therefore it tends to kill the work and destroy the fundamental of service.
  2.  That thinking first of money instead of work brings on fear of failure and this fear blocks every avenue of business it makes a man afraid of competition, and changing methods, or of doing anything which might change his condition.
  3. That the way is clear for any one who thinks first of service, doing the work in the best possible way. (Ford 1926, 46)

I found Fords business ethics to be very positive. He exemplifies that a product can be manufacture at low cost, of high quality, and provide a high degree of customer satisfaction.

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The Business Ethics of Henry Ford. (2022, Sep 30). Retrieved from

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