4 December 2012
Ethics, in general, are a set of beliefs about good and bad, right and wrong. Business ethics deal with the same issues, except in a business setting. An individual’s personal ethics begin developing as a child and are influenced by family, social groups and culture (Kelly/McGowen, 2012). In today’s complex and competitive business world, employers need to ensure the employees who represent a corporation display sound ethics because it will have a direct impact on the overall success of the business. Educating employees on a corporation’s code of ethics will ensure there is no confusion about expectations and policy. Employees who are aware of the positive character traits that are the foundation of sound ethical decisions and the excuses that can impede good ethical behavior will be able to build a stronger personal code of ethics. Michael Josephson, from the Josephson Institute of ethics, details six pillars of character in his book “Making Ethical Decisions; Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Whether in an individual’s personal or business life, having strong ethics will help show your true character and build a good reputation. The quote “Perhaps a man's character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing. Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president (1809-1865), is a great example of how character and reputation intertwine. In my opinion, trusworithiness is the most important character trait that should be displayed in a business professional’s life When you are trustworthy, you are held in higher esteem and need to live up to the expectations of others (Josephson, 2002). A trustworthy person is honest, truthful, sincere, and candid (Josephson, 2002). A trustworthy individual also has integrity and is known for being reliable and loyal (Josephson, 2002). These exemplary traits are, to...
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