The Importance of Ethics in the Workplace

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Morality Pages: 6 (2182 words) Published: January 13, 2006
The Importance of Ethics in the Workplace
From birth, most of us are taught what is right and wrong. Ethics is a trait that most human beings acquire, but with differences in values and perspectives, it may be hard to achieve. The problem lies in how ethics are taught to people. It is our duty as Americans and people on this Earth to train ourselves to become ethical in every thing we do. We should be practicing good ethics everywhere, at work, home, and school. Having good ethics should be part of our daily lives. This paper will discuss ethics and the importance of it in the workplace.

The Random House Dictionary (1999) defines ethics as: "1 A system of moral principles", "2 The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.", "3 Moral principles, as of an individual", and "4 the branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions." The Miniature Guide to Understanding the Foundations of Ethical Reasoning (Paul & Elder, 2003) breaks down the definition of ethics a little further. In the reading, it lists and shows examples of ethical concepts. The first ethical concept mentioned is, "Going beyond what is obligated to improve the lives of others." The traits of the concept are described as being charitable, generous, unselfish, and humanitarian. This ethical concept and its traits are similar to the United States Air Force's Core Value, "Service before Self." An example of this branch's core value is troops deploying to defend our nation and to protect the rights of the innocent. This core value shows them being unselfish by leaving their families behind. This is a very selfless act that the troops are showing America and the world. There are many other groups in America and around the world that show these traits. One particular trait that is shown is humanitarianism. Projects like Habitat for Humanities and the Peace Corps show an extreme amount of generosity and charity to help others. Even while watching ABC's Extreme Makeover's Home Editions, you see ordinary people trying to help underprivileged or unfortunate families. This is a very important trait for everyone to acquire, and it truly touches one's spirit. Another concept stated was "Relating to people in ethically appropriate ways". These traits include being civil, polite, tolerant, tactful, respectful, and courteous. People should possess these very important traits, although they may not show it all the time. Now that we have looked at a couple of good ethical traits, let's look at bad ethical concepts and traits.

One of the concepts of an unethical person is, "Using intellectual skills to get others to act against their own best interest." (Paul & Elder, 2003) Some traits of a person portraying this type of behavior are cunning, sly, crafty, trickery, double-dealing, misleading, and deluding. Some perfect examples of this type of person who possess these traits are Osama Bin Laden, Saddem Hussein, and Adolf Hitler. Over the years, we have seen countless acts where these men have used their skillful, devious minds to lead many followers to perform horrific deeds. Other traits that these men possess are causing pain or suffering, ignoring the rights and needs of others to get what they want and causing emotional discomfort: This is a short list of these concepts, but there are many more details of an unethical person.

There are three main reasons why we as human beings have had a hard time becoming ethically abiding citizens. They are: the ability to distinguish between ethics and Social Conventions, Religion, and Law. Social Conventions deal with the customs and traditions of individual groups, for example the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. The reason it is hard for these groups to become ethical is because...

References: Bonczek, S. & Menzel, D. (1994) Achieving the ethical workplace.
Public Management, 76, 13-17.
Paul, R. & Elder, L. (2003) The Miniature Guide to Understanding the Foundations of Ethical
Reasoning. Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.
Rosche, J. (2002) Workplace ethics: it starts with you. Contract Management, 42, 6-7.
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