Business Ethics Write for us: Ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos,’ meaning ideals, norms, morals, or character of an individual or a group of individuals prevailing in a society. Therefore, ethics can be defined as a study of moral behavior and explaining what is right and wrong in an individual’s behavior by judging them based on the standards of ethical conduct expressed and established by the society in a specific field of activity.
Ethics as moral values attached by society to the actions of human beings, and they can be seen as codes or a system of control as they serve human ends. Usually, ethical standards enact in laws; however, ethical behavior is more than that and goes beyond government regulations and statutes. It means that an individual or a group has to adhere to moral principles and behave ethically. Every profession has its ethical behavior or ethics—for example, legal, medical, business, etc. Today we will discuss business ethics.
Meaning of Business Ethics
Business ethics refers to the set of principles or standards that govern the moral conduct of business. It is concerned with the relationship between an organization’s techniques, practices, and objectives. Business ethics says that companies have to be honest with themselves and society. Some examples of business ethics are treating workers fairly, charging fair prices to customers, providing good quality goods and services, earning reasonable profits, using accurate and appropriate weights of the goods, etc.
However, unethical behavior involves corrupting public servants to get favors, defrauding customers through misleading advertisements, providing a false image of the business in its books of accounts and financial statements, using the properties and assets of the company for personal use, revealing trade secrets to competitors, etc. A businessperson is ethical if they act upright and serve society’s interests.
An ethical business is good as it works for the interests of society. Honest companies have a good image in the eyes of the public, as people have confidence in the industry, which leads to tremendous success. Ethical activity is not only good for society but also for businesspeople and businesses as it helps them enhance the quality of their lives and the work they do.
Factors Influencing Business Ethics
The application of ethics depends on the personal values of the business owners. What is right and wrong within a firm boils down to individual ethics. Therefore, when managements choose leaders, ethics play a huge role. These individuals represent the firm. The management is ultimately liable for any unethical practice an executive or employee conducts.
More importantly, industry-specific government guidelines exist for working conditions, product safety, statutory warning, and social responsibilities. The policies need to follow for the smooth functioning of the firm. The social culture impacts ethics; businesses expect to adopt certain social and moral practices. Companies that fail to comply with societal norms risk ruining brand image, reputation, and credibility.
Principles of Business Ethics
Accountability: Ethics is all about taking individual responsibility. It goes both ways. Individuals are responsible for the unethical practices of the firm because they did not come forward to become whistle-blowers. Similarly, when an employee indulges in corrupt business practices, the firm is responsible.
Care and Respect: Professional interactions between co-workers should be responsible and respectful. Firms should make sure that the workplace is safe and harmonious.
Honesty: The best way to gain the employees’ trust is to communicate transparently with them.
Avoid Conflicts: Firms need to minimize conflicts of interest in the workplace. Excessive competition within the workforce can end disastrously.
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