Ethics in Business: a General View

The principles of ethics in business should be to provide employees with a code of conduct that is socially and morally correct and acceptable. Business standards were once based on a simple but functional moral code, "do the right thing". Most businesses strive to "do the right thing" but figuring out what that is may be more difficult.

Ethics Standards

In this ever-changing world, developing business ethics guidelines can present interesting challenges. Regulating business behaviour, including social and moral behaviour, may be met with some resistance.

Holding management accountable to the same standards, as required for employees, will benefit any plan based on moral and ethical behaviour, and it can succeed.

All employees, management included, should respond to their customers and suppliers using the same ethical behaviour code as required inside the company.

Profits Follow Ethics

Marketing strategies should also strive to uphold these standards as well. Companies that develop and use ethical business plans do profit.

Customer satisfaction can lead to increased sales, while employee job satisfaction will result in less absenteeism, resulting in less overtime and lower turnover rates.

Business Ethics

Certain standard ethical practices should be included in all business plans. A good place to start is by utilizing the principles of the golden rule, "treating others in a manner that you would like others to treat you."

Ethics plans in business need to include all aspects of human behaviour in the workplace. Management, employees, housekeeping, delivery service providers and suppliers should be included in the overall plan.

By implementing good moral standard practises, businesses will gain the trust of their employees, customers, and the public at large. This in turn often leads to higher profit margins and lower costs.

Unethical Marketing

Marketing is an important function for all businesses. Unfortunately, it is also the area where unethical business tactics are being practiced in some businesses.

Companies that use unethical marketing strategies could end up in litigation, or experience a decrease in sales, or end up having a higher employee turnover rate.

While the temptation to falsify information is high, utilizing a code of ethics in business is beneficial to the business. The cost of unethical business choices may result in negative publicity, employee dissatisfaction and the loss of valuable customers.

Ethical Decision Making

Ethical decision-making may be difficult for some decision-makers. Improving the ability of employees to make good ethical decisions falls on the shoulders of the owners and their managers. Owners need to look critically at their business model and its competition. They also need to decide to what standards they are going to hold themselves.

Applying Ethics to Employment Decisions

An area where ethical issues often also arise, is in the hiring process. This is also the areas where discrimination and prejudice most often occur. In many instances the very department that is usually responsible for safeguarding the ethics of the organization when hiring, is also discreetly the main violator.

Key to Success

Businesses that make good ethical choices, based on sound information, are often successful businesses. This will result in employee satisfaction and customer appreciation. Both of which can lead to increased sales, more contracts, and the continued growth of the business.

Comprehensive ethics in business plans require critical observations and sound business choices. Companies that insist that their employees adhere to an ethics code of conduct often discover that their employees tend to work harder and their customers are more satisfied.

For assistance in setting up a customized business code of ethics for your organization contact us.