Corporate Business World:
Ethics and Morality
BA 3200 – Business Ethics
Professor Verleaish Jones
January 17, 2014
Ethics and morals are a requirement in the corporate business world. Each day employees are faced with moral and ethical issues; and because they have their own individual set of morals, they behave differently. Many have formed a good understanding of the basics of ethics, leadership, morality and social responsibility; but most do not really understand the true meaning of values, ethics and morality. The roots of ethics in America teach us “Ten Universal Values,” namely, honesty, integrity, promise-keeping, fidelity, fairness, caring, respect for others, responsible citizenship, pursuit of excellence, and accountability. However, recent history teaches us 12 ethical principles that include two additional values, namely leadership, and reputation and morals to the list that I will discuss in this essay. I will also discuss the differences between ethical and moral issues. In business, ethics and character count. Therefore, I will also discuss some organizations that have been destroyed or damaged due to their unethical and immoral behavior in business.
Let’s begin with Merriam Webster’s Dictionary definition of ethics. According to this dictionary, ethics is defined as: an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior; a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong (Merriam-Webster). According to our text, ethics is defined in two ways. First, it states that ethics are the principles of conduct that governs an individual or group. An example would be the rules by which an individual lives his or her personal life (Text pg 8). A great example would be when a child makes the decision to break the rules of a game, he is creating conflict between himself and his playmates. Then again, the child who chooses to play by the rules ultimately enjoys friendship and closeness with his playmates, which is a benefit to himself. Our text defines ethics from the dictionary as “the study of morality.” Ethics may deal with morality, but it is not the same as morality (Text pg 8). Our text states that ethics is a kind of investigation [that] includes both the activity of investigating as well as the results of that investigation. Whereas, morality is the subject matter that ethics investigates (Text pg 8). This brings us to the dictionary definition of morality which defines it as: beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior, or the degree to which something is right and good; the moral goodness or badness of something (Merriam-Webster). Two good examples are correcting a financial error in your favor when you know that it would never be discovered and a co-worker stealing food out of the freezer. These are crimes, the moral issue is do you report them or not? There are guidelines and standards in which employees are expected to follow if an employee decides to stay employed.
Ethical principles serve as a guide to making decisions and they also serve to establish the criteria by which your decisions will be judged by others. In the business world, it is critical how people judge your character because it is the basis of trust and credibility. Your reputation is what people perceive of your actions. Are they honorable and ethical? Whereas your character is defined by your actions and if they are they honorable and ethical according to the following 12 ethical principles: 1. Honesty – Be honest in all communications and actions.
2. Integrity – Maintain personal integrity.
3. Promise-keeping – Keep promises and fulfill commitments. 4. Loyalty – Be loyal within the framework of other ethical principles. 5. Fairness – Strive to be fair and just in all dealings.
6. Caring – Demonstrate compassion and a genuine concern for the well-being of others. 7. Respect for others – Treat everyone with...
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