Many organizations develop guidelines to train and educate employees on proper ethical behavior in the workplace. Most companies use an anonymous reporting method to ensure employees aren't castigated or punished for turning in people who engage in unethical behavior.
In the wake of corporate scandals that cost employees and investors billions of dollars, the federal government passed legislation that requires publicly-registered corporations to have a corporate code of ethics. While Sarbanes-Oxley Act of —SOX—does not guarantee the elimination of unethical practice, it does provide a way to legally address such behavior. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations provide an additional incentive for having corporate codes of ethics and ethics training.
Companies that have made a bona fide effort to prevent unethical and illegal behavior are likely to receive less severe punishment if an employee be found guilty of breaking the law.
Many corporate ethical standards fail because they are too vague and general and give no specific directives. Codes of ethics must be specific enough to convey the intended conduct. However, they must avoid being so prescriptive that a literal interpretation becomes an excuse for noncompliance. Also, codes must be general enough to avoid encouraging defensive management, where an employee becomes unable to act and make decisions fearing that any action will be unethical.
The roles of top management and senior staff are critical in developing the culture of an organization. Most experts agree that the chief executive officer and vice-president level executives set the ethical tone for the entire organization, and lower-level supervisors obtain their cues from these individuals.
If a company is to maintain ethical behavior, its policies, rules, and standards must be worked into its control system. Remaining ethical is not a static issue. It requires review and evaluation. Companies need to periodically review their priorities and make necessary adjustments.
Otherwise, their standards and training become outdated. The potential for unethical behavior in business is everywhere. However, several factors contribute to how real property administrators can act ethically. Keep in mind that ethics is positive—it is meant to help you succeed as well as to render judgment when you fail. You must determine how to balance conflicting needs. Ethical dilemmas are rarely simple.
Several conflicting issues may be linked, and several parties may be involved. Most frustrating of all, you may find that a response to one of these situations may be unethical for the others. Clear communication is critical. Many of us have thought ourselves to be in an ethically compromising situation, only to discover later that we misunderstood, or were misinformed about, the motives, actions, or circumstances contributing to the situation.
Having an understanding of cause and effect is also vital. The process of how events develop is just as important as the end result. Establishing an ethical standard for business conduct involves more than a written policy.
The most compelling support for an ethical standard is adherence to and enforcement of that standard by those who institute it, and by those for whom it is written. More than briefings and policies handed out to every single employee, our behavior, practice, and deeds are the foundation for creating an ethical standard and making it stick.
Find out how the US Navy is getting safe, sustainable modular offices quickly and at a low price point September 26, In "Contract Awards". Six concepts form the foundation of trust upon which ethical business practice is built: Ethics refers to a set of rules that describes what is acceptable conduct in society.
People appreciate the fact they can take you at your word, as customers only ever do business with those they trust. Being an ethical executive means you do not deceive others by misrepresenting the facts, overstating and exaggerating or only giving partial truths. Being ethical in business means maintaining a high level of personal integrity.
This is how you earn the trust of others, whether they are your customers, team or your superiors. In this definition integrity means having a consistent character that is demonstrated by an alignment of your thoughts, words and action.
Sometimes it requires you to have moral courage to do the right thing, and it takes inner strength to live up to mistakes and admit when a fault has been made. Despite a great pressure to do otherwise, ethical business managers live by a moral code they believe in, principles to maintain and they fight for their beliefs — without sacrificing their honor for the sake of just getting a job done. Your word is one of the most important tools in your arsenal as a business manager.
Keep every promise that you make, and always fulfill a commitment. The trust you build as an ethical executive means people like doing business with you, as you take every reasonable effort to fulfill not only the letter, but the spirit of the promises and commitments you have made. You can learn more about building trust in a business in this course. Just do what you said you were going to do.
You need to be loyal to both your company, your team and yourself, while operating within a strong moral compass. If you demonstrate your loyalty it builds trust, and shows that you place a high value on advancing the interests of both the company and your colleagues. You should not ever place loyalty above your other principles, or use it as an excuse for unethical behavior. Demonstrate your loyalty but always make an independent judgment, and never use information that you have gained in confidence for your own personal advancement.
Steer clear of conflicts of interest, and if you ever decide to leave your company do it on the best of terms. Give reasonable notice, respect any information that was gained in your former employer, and never engage in activities that take advantage of a previous position that was held.
In all of your actions, you must strive to be fair and just. An ethical executive is committed to fairness in all that they do, and do not seek to exercise their power for an unfair advantage or use indecent methods to gain a competitive edge. Being an ethical executive means that you are committed to being fair, employ justice in your decisions and treat all people equally, with tolerance and acceptance of diversity.
Being fair also means being open minded, admitting when they have made a mistake, and adjusting their beliefs and positions when it is appropriate. This involves having a genuine concern for others, as well as a sense of compassion. An ethical business manager is caring, benevolent and kind to both customers and staff, and seeks to reach their goals while causing the least amount of harm and the greatest amount of good.
Being caring means understanding that there will be an impact on every stakeholder following a decision, and they always consider the financial, emotional and long term business consequences of an action. Being ethical means treating everyone with respect, demonstrating this by being courteous and having an equal treatment of people regardless of who they are.
Respect is given because everyone deserves dignity, privacy and rights, and they adhere to the rule that you must strive to treat others the way you would like to be treated.
An ethical executive always obeys the law, and never breaks the rules, regulations or laws surrounding their business activities. Being ethical in business is also about pursuing excellence in everything that you do.
Delivering the highest quality of service or products makes business sense, especially if there is a constant endeavor to always improve.
You need to demonstrate the principles and ethics you want your team to live by, and take an active role as a leader to be a positive role model.
The best way you can enforce an ethical mentality is to lead by example, and creating an environment within your business that values decisions made on principles and standards of ethics. You can learn more about the ways you can approach being a leader in this recent post. Ethical business managers enhance the good reputation of a company, which at the same time boosts the morale if its employees.
The company reputation is very important, as well as the pride and morale of their employees. As an ethical business manager you need to avoid taking actions that undermine this respect, and they take action to correct any inappropriate behavior of others.
Being ethical means holding yourself accountable, and acknowledging and accepting personal accountability for their decisions, and any consequences.
Not just personally, but an ethical manager will stand up and take accountability in front of their colleagues, their company, and the community. This is the foundation that takes your company to the success that it deserves to reach! Create a Course Corporate Learning Mobile.
Ethical behavior tends to be good for business and involves demonstrating respect for key moral principles that include honesty, fairness, equality, dignity, diversity and individual rights. The Business of Ethical Behavior For more information on ethics, see the How To article from March , Determining What is Ethical. Paying attention to ethics makes good business sense. Ethics is an important part of business. Companies use ethical behavior models to ensure managers and employees follow the proper rules of the company and the business environment when working. Many organizations develop guidelines to train and educate employees .