Ethical behavior has long been the subject of debate among philosophers, scientists, and now business professionals. The question of what is ethical behavior is subject to great debate and important issue in business dialogue today. Most experts agree that the following characteristics comprise ethical standards. They need to be rules of thumb in business practice everywhere.
A company cannot operate efficiently without honesty from all employees. Deception and distortion of the truth complicates operations and fosters an environment of distrust. When discovered, an untruth may lead to serious consequences of the offender as well as to employees and customers. Dishonesty often reduces productivity and can impair company relations with the public. In contrast, a company known for honesty is often very popular. Customers will frequently refer friends and acquaintances to the organization due to its trustworthiness.
Equal treatment for all employees and customers is essential for a company to be one of high regard. Discrimination for any reason must be off limits. At the same time, people of any race, religion, ethnic background, or sexual orientation, along with other personal distinctions, should be treated the same. Favoring one group of individuals over another compromises equality. In turn, this creates dissatisfaction, both by those who experience it and others who observe it. Everyone should have the same opportunities and face the same challenges within an organization. The company should adjust only for special needs individuals. They must impose justifiable limitations and make sure these employees are still able to perform job duties.
When asking what is ethical behavior, a common response and expectation is integrity. Generally, integrity may be defined as moral uprightness in a person who stands for what is right, one who does not participate in illicit or immoral conduct that violates company policies or public sensibilities. For example, in the current moral climate, most people look unfavorably on a leader who is a serial adulterer, liar, or thief. The public prefers to do business with leaders who respect others in personal and professional relationships.
Fair play is essential for every organization. Managers should conduct evaluations in a uniform manner. Every employee’s behavior needs an overview in a similar fashion to all the others. Management should ensure that they reprimand equitably so that no one receives lighter or harsher penalties than other employees for work issues. Contracts, grants, training opportunities, and assignments should be awarded on consistent principles rather than by a leader who plays favorites based on personal preference.
In practicing ethical behavior at work, everyone must to accept a full share of responsibility over job duties as well as assisting others if the need should arise. Shirking duties or performing poorly in a deliberate manner due to laziness or carelessness violates the tacit expectation of integrity within the company. An employee who fails to keep up with his or her workload should receive a reprimand or even termination from the company.
Integrity is a virtue that all of us should follow in everyday life as well as in professional endeavors. Adopting the above behaviors ensures that an organization functions with integrity.