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Quick bits for the business professional.

Ethics: What does this look like for a company?

Company ethicsThere are a great many misconceptions about ethics and ethical behavior.

Chief among the misconceptions is that morality and ethics are the same.  This could not be further from the truth.

Ethics Are:

  • A code of values set and owned by an organization or company. This means they are written and usually distributed.
  • The determination of the required behaviors and values for team members within a system or organization.
  • The demonstration of the correct choices and actions valued by an organization.
  • Often documented in a code of conduct document.
  • Influenced by laws, regulations, and society expectations.
  • Owned and dictated by an organization.
  • Can be embraced partially or fully by individuals operating within the organization. Full compatibility with a team member or leader’s personal values or morality is not required. Some compatibility is needed for job satisfaction.
  • Not preventative of bad behavior or performance but define boundaries. If a team member is determined to do something unethical, they will.
  • Prescriptive. This means an event occurs and the organization determines it to be unethical and creates a new ethical standard to cover future occurrences. No one has an ethical crystal ball to predict future ethical challenges.
  • Concerned with value and judgment.
  • Guidelines for decision making.
  • Rules to justify behaviors and decisions. The most common justification of a response or decision related to ethics is saying “no”.  Using ethical standards allows you to turn down or respond in the negative when a request is crossing ethical boundaries.
  • Guidelines for dealing with other people.
  • Supported by choice.  All decisions and choices are either ethically compatible or not ethically compatible.

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