Ethics in the Workplace

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Morality Pages: 5 (1765 words) Published: October 18, 2006
Ethics in the Workplace

What is ethics? Is ethics an ability that grows in us from a child or does our parents teaches us ethics? According to, states that the word ethics means, "the code of good conducts for an individual or group." Ethics also means, simply stated, that ethics refers to standards of behavior that tell us how human beings ought to act in the many situations in which they find themselves-as friends, parents, children, citizens, businesspeople, teachers, professionals, and so on. There are many characteristics of ethics. There are good and bad ethics. But when sociologist Raymond Baumhart ask business people "What does ethics means to you?" According to him, the replies he received were: "ethics has to do with whether their feelings tell them what's right or wrong, Ethics has to do with their religious beliefs, being ethical is doing what the law requires, Ethics consists of the standards of behavior our society accepts, and I don't know what the word means." (Wallace, 1985) All of those could be true, but the word "ethics" is hard to define and many views are quite shaky. If at a young age you find your daughter is stealing from the corner store, do you tell her that it is not ethical. Do you teach her that stealing is wrong? But is that ethical? So the question still remains, "What is ethics?" "According to Norman E. Bowie, "Ethics is two things. First, ethics refers to well based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually In terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, And loyalty. Also, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy." (Bowie, 1990) Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well founded reasons. What does workplace ethics and ethics in general have to do with each other.

Workplace Ethics is a subject that we have all heard of. In fact, the subject of Ethics in general is something that most people are familiar with, and what is commonly understood about ethics is there are ethics and then there are workplace ethics. What most people don't realize, however, is that there is no such thing as workplace ethics; ethics are the same, (or, should be) whether in the workplace or in your personal life. Ethics are about making choices that may not always feel good or seem like they benefit you, but are the "right" choices to make. They are the choices that are examples of "model citizens" and examples of the golden rules. We've all heard the golden rules: Don't hurt, don't steal, don't lie, or one of the most famous: "Do unto others as you would have them done unto you." "These are not just catchy phrases; these are words of wisdom that any productive member of society should strive to live by. In our personal lives, most people try to do exactly that." ( Wallace, 1985) Ethics are thought of by many people as something that is related to the private side of life and not to the business side. In many businesses, having ethics is frowned upon or thought of as a negative subject. This is because business is usually About doing what's best for number one, not about what's really the right thing to do. "Take ENRON, for example. Were the actions of Enron's CEO's a good example of ethics? No. But, what they WERE was a CLASSIC example of two things: One, those actions displayed how ethics were not used in any way. Two, their actions painted a grim and realistic picture of what can happen when ethics are neglected. Had ethics been considered in the first place by the leaders of the company, there would have been no scandal. If ethics...
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