Ethical and Unethical Behavior

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Chapter 1 identified knowledge of workers as a key economic resource of the twenty first century. If an employee leaves a company to work for a competitor, what types of knowledge would be ethical for the employee to share with the new employer and what types of knowledge would be unethical to share?

Ethics is defined as the rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or group. (Bovee, Thrill and . 2007, pg 63) When an employee leaves one company to work for a competitor, they aren’t just taking their skills or qualifications with them. They are taking the knowledge of the previous company that they worked for, such as product information or production plans. It is up to the former employee to keep in mind the ethics of behavior when it comes to their knowledge of business. Not only to respect the privacy of the company, but to avoid breaking any laws.

Competing fairly and honestly is the first ethical behavior that should be followed. Businesses are expected to compete fairly and honestly and not knowingly deceive, intimidate, or misrepresent themselves. (Bovee, Thrill and Mescon. 2007, pg 65) While majority of companies and business abide by this ethical behavior, some others try to obtain an unfair advantage by using the knowledge of hired employees from competing companies against them. An example of competing unfairly would be discussing trade secrets. It is unethical to pass on information about things such as a client list, products, or plans on future merchandise to the competitor, whether it is from a former employee or someone hired to spy from the inside.

Communicating truthfully is a simple enough concept; tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (Bovee, Thrill and Mescon. 2007, pg 65). As the owner of a business, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are being honest with your employees and your customers. How do you think an employee is going to work when they know you lied to them about vacation time you...
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