A company’s ethics will determine its reputation.
Good business ethics are essential for the long-term success of an organization. Implementing an ethical program will foster a successful company culture and increase profitability.
A company's ethics will have an influence on all levels of business.
It will influence all who interact with the company including customers, employees, suppliers, competitors, etc.
All of these groups will have an effect on the way a company's ethics are developed.
It is a two way street, the influence goes both ways, which makes understanding ethics a very important part of doing business today.
Ethics is very important, as news can now spread faster and farther and quicker than ever before.
Simply stated - Ethics refers to standards of behavior that tell us how human beings ought to act in the many situations in which they find themselves. Whether as friends, parents, children, citizens, businesspeople, teachers, professionals, and so on.
I will cover Ethics more in future blogs but for now, I think it is helpful to identify 4 Things Ethics Is NOT:
-Ethics is not the same as feelings. Feelings provide important information for our ethical choices. Some people have highly developed habits that make them feel bad when they do something wrong. But many people feel good even though they are doing something wrong. And often, our feelings will tell us it is uncomfortable to do the right thing if it is hard.
-Ethics is not following the law. A good system of law does incorporate many ethical standards, but law can deviate from what is ethical. Law can become ethically corrupt, as some totalitarian regimes have made it. Law can also be a function of power alone and designed to serve the interests of narrow groups. It may have a difficult time enforcing standards in some important areas and may be slow to address new problems.
-Ethics is not following culturally accepted norms. Some cultures are quite ethical, but others become corrupt or blind to certain ethical concerns. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" is not a satisfactory ethical standard.
-Ethics is not science. Social and natural science can provide important data to help us make better ethical choices, but science alone does not tell us what we ought to do. Science may provide an explanation for what humans are like, but ethics provides reasons for how humans ought to act.
The challenge is that there are two fundamental problems in identifying the ethical standards we are to follow:
- On what do we base our ethical standards?
- And how do those standards get applied to specific situations we face?
Ethics is NOT an easy topic. But it IS a topic that needs to be addressed by our businesses and business leaders. I will dive more into this subject in future blogs.
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