Ethical Behavior in the Workplace
Final Paper: Ethical Behavior in the Workplace Mirinda Frazier SOC 402 Instructor Dana Rock 6/25/2012 Ethical Behavior in the Workplace An organization should perform with ethical conduct at all times- this means that both the employers and employees must act respectably throughout all the various dimensions of business practice and transactions with consistent ethicality. Good business ethics are vital for the success of any organization, and should be established from the very beginning; an organization will function better when the company morale is high, and the organization is built upon a strong ethical foundation.
When the groundwork is paved with a concrete set of business ethics, this provides a more meaningful workplace, and a more clearly outlined path for the organization to follow- correctly guiding behavior and business transactions in the right direction. An organization which functions unethically, in my opinion, will not function successfully. Despite how much money a business makes, it is worth nothing without integrity. Integrity is something that cannot be bought by a company; when all the money is gone, the only thing left at the end of the day that really counts is the integrity of the organization.
Without integrity a company is ultimately unethical, and entirely worthless; good business ethics can make or break a company, and heavily depends upon whether or not the company will succeed. What are Business Ethics? Why are they Important? Dictionary. com (2012) lists ethical as “pertaining to or dealing with morals, or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct…being in accordance with the rules and standards, for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession. Ethics, or the choice of morality between what is right and wrong really comes down to individual belief- not everyone will agree on everything at the same time, and it is natural for people to have different opinions, as expected some divergence will exist. However, to help everyone within the company to ‘stay on the same page’ it is important to develop and have a set standard or ‘code of conduct’ so that everyone understands proper company etiquette and the individual company’s protocol. Having a ‘code of conduct’ or system in place helps to guide behavior in the right direction, and to eliminate any discrepancies.
When an organization has a set of business standards in place for what is acceptable/right conduct, this helps to instill ethical behavior as a principle requirement and as a customary aspect to the organization’s existence. An organization is better equipped to sustain ethically when the company protocol necessitates proper and ethical behavior. Having good business ethics should be a fundamental component to the organizational life; business ethics significantly impact all levels of business transaction as well as everyone that is affiliated: the people (employers, employees, customers, investors, etc. . Having good workplace ethics helps to ensure that all business transactions are conducted in an ethical manner- both within all the business relations involved within the internal and external environmental. Viara Giraffe (2011), author of Contemporary Social Issues and the Workplace explains that, “From a socioeconomic perspective, a business organization’s responsibility extends beyond meeting the goals of profit or productivity and includes an implicit obligation to customers, employees, and the community as well. In A Study in Business Ethics, author Rituparna Raj (2009) also talks about how a business has a sociological and economical responsibility to practice proper business; he explains that a business is not only an economic entity, but is also considered a sociological institutions as well as they operate within a social structure, and influence social lifestyles- therefore they have a social and economic responsibility beyond using this as an infrastructure to merely maximize profits, but should also work for the welfare of their society as well- the same society in which they operate, and which helps them grow.
One of the most apparent implications of business ethics is simply that an organization’s ethics has considerable implications on the way it is perceived; it is hard to deny that the demeanor of a company significantly portrays its overall reputation. The company’s moral standards have momentous association to and on all levels of organizational life- all degrees of business are affected, so it is important to develop a strong set of ethical principles and enforce proper ethical behavior. Organizational ethicality will help to create and uphold a more admirable and trustworthy organization from all levels, and from all respects.
Ethical business practices begin with the leaders of the organization, they must exude ethicality. The leaders of the organization set the example of behavior, and will have the most significant and influential bearing on the employees’ conduct. The organization must have leaders who are the exemplar of ethicality, and set the tone for appropriate conduct. The leaders of the organization are an important component to instilling and enforcing ethical behavior. Ethical behavior means not only doing what is right in front of others, but also doing what is right behind closed doors even when no one is watching, or around.
Ethical behavior also entails resisting selfish tendencies and striving for the good of all/others- this means working for beneficial gains beyond those which are merely self fulfilling. Although the whole intention of having a business is generally to profit and make money, and though making money in itself is not wrong, the approach taken to obtain this can be unethical. As the famous and visionary organizational leader Henry Ford (founder of Ford Motor Company) is quoted as saying, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business. Proper Workplace Ethics- Behavior and Practice When an organization thrives upon ethicality, and centers itself on good ethical business mannerisms in practice, this provides a strong core of values to work by and a more solid ethical foundation to uphold the organization. This helps to create and establish a general ethical ideology, and a common shared rationale among all to work for and work by; this helps inspire motive in and behind all the organizational objectives as well. The leaders and company protocol should consistently exemplify ethical behavior, require it, and enforce it.
Ethical business philosophies are an indispensible element to creating a trustworthy and respectable infrastructure within the organization; when ethicality is a steadfast component in the organization, it provides directional support to steer the organizational behavioral in a more meaningful, correct, and direct course of action. When employees have ethical leaders who are role models for organizational behavior, correlated with a clearly defined system or code of conduct set in place, they are more likely to approve and adopt ethical business behavior and practices.
A strong ethical workplace will help everyone to work together, and create teamwork within. Ethical behavior and organizational practices help to develop togetherness and unity within the workplace, which in turn will help promote teamwork and productivity. Organizations rely heavily upon effective team working skills which must be centered on ethical practices; this means that everyone does their ‘fair share’ equally and ethically. Oftentimes, a collaborative team effort is more effective to an organization rather than what each person could contribute individually alone.
When everyone works ethically, puts in equal effort in working together in a joint group effort- this makes for a healthier and more enjoyable workplace atmosphere. The ‘golden rule’, a rule of thumb for ethical behavior- “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or in other words, treat others how you would like to be treated and respected, is a straightforward and simple judgment to remember for ethical workplace behavior. Business ethics are workplace issues and attributes to other workplace issues as well, and has great sociological implications.
Having good workplace ethics can also be benefificial to both the organization and those involved within; good ethical behavior and business practices can easily solve many problems and offer an easy solution. When ethical business practices exist, it creates a sense of organizational association and togetherness and this involvement can rekindle the company’s work ethic and overall create an even stronger contribution/participation, commitment, and enthusiasm from everyone- this not only benefits the employees and makes for a more enjoyable workplace atmosphere, but also benefits the company as well.
Ethical behavior should thoroughly promote and exude fairness; everyone should be treated equivalently, employers and employees of all levels/positions. Proper organizational ethics should require equal opportunity and help to ensure that everyone is playing fair and by the same rules/regulation. Ethical business means not allowing, racism, sexism/or sexual harassment, or discrimination of any kind to exist. Unfair is unethical.
There should be matching company wages being paid, equal opportunity for advancement and promotion, as well as the same incentives/bonuses; ethical behavior also needs to have just mediation with good discretion and the identical underlying repercussions for all. When ethical business standards are not set in place, this creates confusion, and is a more inviting environment for conflict to exist. Ethical behavior is more likely to be the norm when it is consistently reinforced, and accentuated in every part of even the most typical and daily transactions; this will help to implant ethicality within the workplace permanently.
Like the saying goes, ‘practice makes perfect’, repetition will help to instill that ethical behavior is reoccurring, and a frequent part of the organizational performances/transactions. If the emphasis is always on ethical behavior, and its importance is stressed and understood by everyone, then chances are you will begin to see more of it, and it becoming common place in the business. To help increase ethical behavior in the workplace, it is important to constantly recognize and reward ethical behavior as well; this will help to promote and further encourage it.
Ethical business should always be observed in a proactive light, and frequently measured; as this helps it to remain currently regarded within the workplace, and keep it at the forefront of everyone’s concern at all times. An organizational environment that has an ethical and respectful atmosphere faces a more promising and advantageous future. Workplace ethics are behind all good businesses and it is the driving force which compels virtuous action and behavior. Good work ethics are what set the good companies apart from the bad.
By refusing to maintain an ethical workplace environment you are only refusing your organization- and preventing it from existing at optimal efficacy; ultimately poor workplace ethics will adversely affect your organization and overall is depriving for the organization. Unethical business practices could eventually result in the demise of the organization altogether. Improper and unethical behavior affects decision making negatively, as there are no values to uphold or compel the right choices to be made.
Poor decisions made now can have long lasting and future implications- some of which may be forever impinging upon the organization and its success. Unethical business ethics can destroy numerous elements of the occupational life: profits/revenue can be negatively impacted, turnover rates can increase, performance may decline and can become unimportant to employees, incentives and benefit/compensation may become insufficient, a lack of commitment and dependability may develop, investment and investors may plummet, as well as the consumer/customer base. With so many important organizational constituents affected and influenced y the business ethics practiced, it is imperative to uphold a strong honorable code of ethics so all business is conducted admirably, and so the organization is better equipped for success. Ethicality means not only developing, enforcing, and following the ethical policies set by the company, but also involves adhering to all federal and state government laws; when a business breaks the law or engages in illegal activity (or unethical business practices) they face the possibility of penalties, fines, and other consequences that could all lead up to the extinction of the organization.
Organizations have a legal and ‘social’ responsibility to everyone included within every depth and measurement of business life. Having an ethical organizational is essential for countless reasons: it lends a moral helping hand in resolving organizational problems and conflict fairly, improves organizational procedures, helps to develop and implement organizational strategy, decision making and organizational change is carried out more efficiently and honestly, just to name a few.
Most importantly, a solid ethical foundation in the workplace is fundamental to having strong ethical working relationships with people- both inside (with the employees & employers etc. ), as well as outside in the external environment with the networks of people and other business connections such as (consumers/customers, investors, business partners, etc. ). On the other hand, unethical behavior does just the opposite to these important workplace dimensions, people, and practices, and can impede on the organization’s ability to grow, ultimately hindering organizational success.
By instilling ethical business standards you are infusing the organization with strong institutional values to better uphold the organization together. Having ethical business principles within the workplace ensures that the utmost legal and moral standards are regarded at all times, and constantly observed as a customary way of the organizational life, behavioral conduct, and occupational relations. An organization which functions unethically, in my opinion, will not function successfully; organizational integrity is one of the most important, if not the most important aspect of the organization.