Joshua L Young
August 20, 2011
This paper will discuss how ethics relate in our everyday lives and more specifically how ethics are used in our workplace also how ethics are used by companies. This paper will also cover how businesses have implemented ethical procedures, standards and how these businesses flourished because of the effective use of ethical standards.
“I consider ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man.”
Ethics in our Everyday Lives. As a society we are faced with ethical problems every day, and how we handle these situations shape our culture and lives. However, what are ethics? The meaning of "ethics" is hard to pin down, and the views many people have about them are shaky. People tend to associate ethics with their feelings. But being ethical is clearly not a matter of following one's feelings, nor should one identify ethics with religion, the law or "whatever society accepts." Ethics refers to the constant effort of studying our moral conduct, and our own moral beliefs, and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable and concrete. It is not enough to be able to do the right thing when we ourselves have nothing to lose. We must be willing to fulfill our ethical obligations at the expense of our self-centered desires and vested interests. (Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder, 2003) In short, ethics is doing what is right even when no one is looking. Well-founded standards of right and wrong that advocate what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, benefits to society, obligations, fairness, or specific virtues stem directly from having ethics. Ethical standards also impose the judicious obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, and fraud, therefore a society with a strong code of ethics tends to run smoothly. A society with no code of ethics could very well develop into anarchy. Although arguments have been made, to the contrary, ethics are just as vital in the workplace. Ethics are essential in the workplace because a tough ethical code provides a non-threatening environment with high employee morale, a company that exhibits clear-cut ethics tends to show higher profits, and simply because it is the right thing to do. Perhaps most important, attention to ethics in the workplaces helps ensure that when leaders and managers are struggling in times of crises and confusion, they retain a strong moral compass, and this goes for the workers as well. The Ethics Resource Center, a non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to business ethics, released the results of its 2005 National Business Ethics Survey, polling more than 3000 workers across America. The results were disheartening; 21% observed abusive or intimidating behavior toward employees. 19% observed lying to customers, employees, vendors or the public. 18% observed situations that placed employee interests over company interests. 16% observed violations of safety regulations and misreporting of time worked (Verschoor, 2000, pp. 19-20) Environments that accommodate these low ethical standards tend to feel hostile to the average employee. When this behavior is witnessed repeatedly over time, it lowers morale. And low moral easily leads the employee feels no loyalty towards the company and in turn the company feels no loyalty towards its employees. A workplace that encourages the effective ethical administration, however, is a workplace that breeds strong morale. Patricia Harned, ERC president, states "Creating a strong ethical environment should be a top priority of all companies." (Verschoor, 2000, pp. 19-20) According to "Workplace Ethics", a company with strong ethical guidelines has a few commonalities. Companies...