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Essay on Ethics

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  • April 2007
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Ethics by definition is a set of rules or standards that govern the conduct of a person or members of a group. Ethics involves learning what is right or wrong, and doing the right thing. The controversy: doing the right thing based on a moral principle or doing the right thing based on the situation. Doing the right thing does not always mean the same thing to different people, ultimately; it is up to the individual. Business ethics is knowing what is right or wrong in the workplace and doing what is right. Doing what is right, is not just the obvious "be good," "don't lie," etc., in times of stress, these values are overlooked. With all the scandals showing up in the press, business ethics has come under scrutiny. Did these companies have a business code of ethics? If they did, were they ignored out of greed or out of confusion? Without a strong code of ethics, managers/leaders have no strong moral compass to guide them in times of crisis and confusion.

Business ethics can be broken down into to broad areas:
1.Managerial mischief, example Enron, includes "illegal, unethical, or questionable practices of individual managers or organizations, as well as the causes of such behaviors and remedies to eradicate them." Here in lies the problem, more often than not, business ethics is more a matter of dealing with dilemmas that have no clear indication or what is right or wrong. 2.Moral mazes of management consist of the day-to-day problems that managers have to deal with from conflicts of interest to misuse of company resources.

From the time of Aristotle, ethics has been the domain of philosophers, academics and social critics. There is has not been a practical resource designed specifically for leaders and managers. Most information on business ethics contains sensationalistic stories of business "gone bad" but not the daily concerns faced by managers and leaders. Or the information deals with simplistic ethical questions such as "Should Harry steal from...

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