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what is ethical behaviour in the workplace

Clear, specific standards of conduct are the foundation of an ethical workplace. It … Successful business leaders often say that treating people morally is a very important aspect in obtaining success. Human conduct towards ethics in today’s workplace is an important issue; recent headlines show consequences of unethical behavior on both companies and employees. Generally, ethical behavior is doing the right thing and adhering to professional standards. Companies should always have an employee handbook or code of conduct available so employees understand where the company stands on everything from social-media use to dating co-workers. Productivity will increase: When the working staff and the workers value the work given to them and … Let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect your ethical behavior in the workplace. Some people’s moral code has much more flex than that of others, and that’s why laws get made — because eventually, an incident reveals how important it is for the black-and-white moral clarity that laws provide. Ethics can be influenced by upbringing, social norms, education, history, religion and so on, but every culture has some precepts on what is deemed the ethical way to behave. Ethical Behaviour Within the Work Place: Ethical behaviour is behaviour that is appropriate. This employee won't close the store two minutes early; she will stay 10 minutes late, if someone needs help. The simplest reason ethics matter is because they mark the difference between right and wrong. In a workplace, employees are expected to uphold certain outlined ethical behaviors. Despite the value of ethical behavior, it can be difficult to encourage ethics in the workplace. Ethics at work can refer to the way employees govern themselves and their work attitude, but it can also refer to the morality or lack thereof surrounding a workplace. Every company should have a code of ethics in place that represents the company’s values, responsibilities, and conduct expectations. Those who don't follow the ethics rules at work are subject to disciplinary action, possibly even firing. At work, ethical behavior is the legal and moral code guiding employee behavior. It requires ethical behavior that drives interactions with other employees, customers and leadership. That includes the employer, the employee, co-workers and the public. While this definition is a good start, it doesn't give specific guidance. She frequently writes for corporate clients representing Fortune 500 brands on subjects that include marketing, business, and social media trends. An ethical behavior is essential for a society to function properly. These examples of ethical behaviors ensures maximum productivity output at work. Consider questions like, is it ethical to take office supplies from work for home use, or is A scant 33 percent of employees reported feeling somewhat engaged by their workplace in Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace poll. I certainly wasn’t going to break any of Arnold Palmer’s golf records. For example, an employer may not expressly state that one employee should not take credit for a project if he had nothing to do with it. Employees will follow the lead of managers if there is no set standard. Ethics in hiring and firing, such as nondiscrimination, creates a more diverse workplace. These are terms used to identify … Second, it benefits the organization internally by helping to ensure its success. Business leaders need to set clear guidelines for ethical behavior in the workplace and to consistently train employees on working according to those expectations. Ethical standards must be met to prevent potential bullying and discrimination, which leads to high turnover, high anxiety and low productivity. Putting these values into practice starts at the top, and executive officers must set the tone for the rest of the company. Companies have an ethical stance in both how they project themselves to the wider world and how they operate internally, from hiring practices to carbon footprints. Ultimately, the definition of "ethical" varies tremendously. The blame for that lies entirely on workplace culture and poor management, but there are some steps managers can take to change that. On the flipside, it's sometimes illegal for cafes to donate leftover pastries to the poor, but it’s the ethical thing to do because someone who is hungry gets to eat. A company's ethical climate, goals and policies can all have a significant impact on employee behavior. One is how the employee governs herself within the workplace, but the other is the ethics at play in the corporate culture and how the company conducts itself both inside the firm and also in the larger world. Work Institute: How to Define Ethical Behavior & Why It's Important in the Workplace, Harvard Business Review: 6 Traits That Predict Ethical Behavior at Work, Indianapolis Record: Ethics and professionalism in the workplace, Association for Business Communication in Ethics Training; Codes; Deloise A. Frisque; 2005, Difference Between Code of Ethics & Conduct, Examples of Business Ethics in the Workplace, How to Help Employees Make Ethical Decisions. Many individual factors affect a person's ethical behavior at work, such as knowledge, values, personal goals, morals and personality. By acting ethically, a business i… 3. It’s all about how a person or company’s morality influences the decisions made and the behaviors exhibited. Violating company internet policies. Workplace ethics can go two ways. There is no shortage of companies that take advantage of this gray area. Ethical behavior is acting in ways that is consistent with how the business world views moral principles and values. As with all ethics guidelines, these rules at work consider what is best for all involved. Ethical dilemmas are constantly on the radar for companies, including their environmental practices, payroll choices, political wrangling, hiring policies, revenue reporting and so much more. A business is an organization whose objective is to provide goods or services for profit. It … In fact, unethical behavior can sink the company – the now-defunct Enron Corporation is a prime example of how unethical behavior at the highest level can result in the destruction of reputations and a company’s demise. Changing this status quo is seen as an ethical imperative for many people today. Contained within the basic code of ethics in the workplace are words like, trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, (Chatov, 1980). Employees who have high ethical standards are proactive to help solve problems with co-workers or customers. You want people in the organization who handle money and financial transactions to do so ethically. Ethics in the workplace is defined as the moral code that guides the behavior of employees with respect to what is right and wrong in regard to conduct and decision making. The best professionals are attuned to the ethical implications of their decisions, and when faced with one of those gray-area issues (no clear right or wrong), they seek help. Act in a socially responsible manner. They don't pass the buck or point fingers at others; they take responsibility. The work ethic you have is your personal standard for how you do your job. Business ethics determine employees’ everyday conduct. Ethical communication in the workplace is another area that staff needs to be clearly trained on. Many professionals won't remain in business if the public doesn't feel that the person or the company operates ethically. A conscientious employee is concerned about doing his job to the best of his ability. Ethics are reflected in how they treat suppliers and consumers, how they interact with others, how they do their tasks and how they communicate internally and externally. Business ethics is ethics as it relates to the conduct or behavior of the members of a business organization. Some writing projects have included ghost-writing for CEOs and doing strategy white papers. Today’s consumers are increasingly savvy about companies they support, and a growing segment do so based on their ethical beliefs and world view. Ethical behavior is acquired at all levels of socialization such as in the family, in church and at school. And could be pivotal for career growth. Each of these can affect morale, performance, loyalty, job turnover and even employee work ethic. The diversity issue also applies to equality between male and female co-workers, where equal work should mean equal pay, but the gender pay gap still persists, with the U.S. Census reporting that women earn 80.7 cents on the dollar compared to men, who take in an average of $9,909 annually versus female counterparts. Ethics come down to the subject of moral philosophy. Ethical behavior at the workplace Ethics are defined as moral principles that govern the behavior of individuals, guiding their conduct in every aspect of their lives, including at workplace. It also guides how someone performs her job. Ethical behavior in your career will do you so much good. Just remember that some unethical behavior seems harmless, but it’s a big indicator of your character and who you are, and folks will notice. No one likes a bully, and there's no room for this behavior whatsoever in the workplace. Ethics guidelines also set the tone for how companies deal with conflict. It is based on morals. When it comes to ethics in the workplace, diversity is a big topic today because it’s not just about hiring diverse workers but also elevating them to managerial and c-suite roles. One person's success reflects well on everyone in their workplace. People and customers feel safe when working with a company if they know people are following morally sound guidelines. That means 67 percent of workers were actively or somewhat disengaged while at work. Although these traits are not wholly indicative of someone's ethics, they do serve as baseline indicators for employers. 5. So, the law and ethics don’t always work in tandem. When not writing, Kimberlee enjoys chasing waterfalls with her son in Hawaii. It may be legal for corporations to have environmentally destructive practices in foreign countries, but it's unethical for them to destroy the environment for the sake of money and then walk away. Beyond work ethic and instilling work ethic is that dubious line between workplace laws and ethics. Professionalism and ethics in the workplace are the guiding principles that an individual or the company has established. If business leaders follow ethical principles, that sets an example for employees. An employee handbook may list specific behavior expectations but many components of ethics are guided by a person's moral code. The organization has a group of people that work together to achieve a common purpose. Still, nearly every society and faith on the planet has a variation of the golden rule — do unto others as you would have them do to you — which is tantamount to an ethical precept. Unethical behavior in the workplace has been present since man built the first office building. Ethics in business is essentially the study of what constitutes the right and wrong or the good or bad behavior in the workplace environment. Legally, he’s not obligated to check in with the homeless person and see if he's OK, but it is unethical to just walk on by. But, besides instilling in me the importance of keeping an honest golf score, my dad was teaching me anothe… He used to say to me, “Count every stroke, including your penalty strokes.” Since I hit the ball out of bounds a lot, it wasn’t easy giving myself the two-stroke penalty each time I hit the ball out of bounds. Steffani Cameron is a professional writer who has written for the Washington Post, Culture, Yahoo!, Canadian Traveller, and many other platforms. • Positive work ethic is the collection of all the values and actions that people feel are appropriate in the work place. Workplace ethics can go two ways. A person’s reputation is of key importance for a business leader, and if a person’s reputation is damaged by poor ethical conduct, the business will also suffer. An ethical business has a better public image. When hiring new employees, evaluate their value system, and educate new hires about the company’s policies during orientation. For instance, an employee who works at a cash register is expected to balance the drawer and deposit the correct amount of money at the end of the night. Follow the laws and customs of society. Ethical behavior in the workplace is important for many reasons. An important aspect of workplace values and ethics is integrity, or displaying honest behavior at all times. They aren't afraid to share knowledge, opinions, or simply an extra pair of hands. Any company taking credit card information needs to maintain strict privacy and information protection policies to get consumer confidence. Never bully. Benefits. If the boss comes in and makes fun of a customer or another employee, the staff will think this is okay. How would you answer when faced with an ethical dilemma? First, it prevents the external constituents of an organization (i.e., the public, other organizations, and the environment) from being harmed. Cyberslackers. Ethics is also important for those citizens who do not aspire to work in law enforcement. Each of these can affect morale, performance, loyalty, job turnover and even employee work ethic. The good news is that managerial styles can greatly improve employee work ethic simply by creating systems and habits for getting work done and interacting in the workplace. Being a professional requires more than wearing a nice suit. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. • In other words, ―”ethics” is the name we give to our values or good behavior. Most trustworthy and ethical behavior starts with money management. Ethics extends beyond issues of right or wrong. With more than 15 years of small business ownership including owning a State Farm agency in Southern California, Kimberlee understands the needs of business owners first hand. Ethical behavior is acting in ways that are consistent with how the business world views moral principles and values. Ethical behavior helps to protect a company’s assets and can make an organization a better place to work. Google is a great example, considering its presence in China, because it is the ultimate champion of the free internet and information exchange, so much so that "just Google it" has joined the modern lexicon. These are all things that can be taught, but they also come down to an employee’s internal moral code. Ethical behaviors can be identified in both individual relationships and work relationships. Ethical behaviour is the right way to behave. Ethical behavior guides whether someone will perform minor infractions if she feels no one is watching. An ethical workplace should model behavior from the top down and from the inside out, from ownership all the way down to front-desk reception staff. Michigan State University: 5 Common Ethical Issues in the Workplace, Sling: Transform Your Business Culture With Ethics In The Workplace, HR Zone: Ethics in the Workplace: An Introduction, Forbes: Creating An Ethical Workplace May Not Be Easy, But Is It Critical? For instance, a man walking down the street sees a homeless person huddled against a building, seeming to be in bad shape. That why it's essential to have a codified set of ethical standards for your business. An employee who is upset with a client or co-worker is not supposed to break confidentiality and spread or forward an email or gossip. Ethical behavior promotes trust in the workplace. There are many examples of ethical communication in the workplace. This doesn't mean you have to accept it on your team or in your company, however. There is the law, and then there’s ethics; it’s possible for a behavior to be legal while still considered unethical. Lead by setting an example of good ethical conduct and good ethical problem-solving skills. The employees of Fizzy Soda are out … Those work ethic characteristics are moot if employees are working for a company that doesn’t use its talent as best as it can. When customers complain or if a co-worker accuses another of wrong-doing, an ethical company can go to its employee handbook and follow established fair procedures to get a resolution. Civic virtue. Banks, financial representatives, lawyers all must follow high ethical standards. Using abusive language towards a client or a colleague is usually … A true professional is willing to help their co-workers when they are overburdened or facing a challenge at work. It’s about how detail-oriented you are, what sort of quality you’re intent on delivering for every project you do, whether you’re punctual, how you treat your colleagues, if you take accountability for what you do and so much more. Yes, It Is, Qualtrics: How to Define and Develop Your Workplace Ethics, PYMNTS: Building A More Ethical Workplace Culture. Workplace ethics are not the same as work ethic. 3. I remember playing golf with my dad when I was young. The way companies operate and are perceived by the public often comes down to the ethics at work in their firm. Ethical decision making in the workplace takes into account the individual employee’s best interest and also takes into account the best interest of those impacted. It evaluates the moral implications of actions being taken on each of the previously mentioned contexts. Unethical behavior in the workplace has been around since the beginning of time but that doesn’t mean it has to be acceptable in your company. The need for ethics in business is twofold. 4. Generally, a company sets forth a minimum standard of ethics and expectations, even though there are employees who may have a higher personal set of ethics. The main definition of ethics is that it is a philosophy which seeks to uphold various fundamental issues that mainly address morality and so on. There are many things that you can gain from having good behavioral ethics in the workplace. For instance, employees may be required to dress in a defined way and use acceptable language as indicated in codes of conduct. Multinationals with offices in different countries and on different continents face ongoing ethical challenges because accepted norms vary quite drastically by region. ● Always be ethical; ethical behavior is acting within certain moral codes in accordance with the generally accepted code of conduct or rules. An employee skimming a quarter out of the cash register is not acting ethically, or lawfully. At work, ethical behavior is the legal and moral code guiding employee behavior. The concept can also be applied to corporations as entities. Here are 4 ways to foster an ethical workplace that reaps the rewards of good behavior… However, encouraging everyone to follow workplace ethical principles is also good for business: 1. Workplace ethics are codes of conduct that influence the development of an ethical culture within the workplace. However, to provide any of that to the Chinese public, they kowtow to a communist government known for suppressing free speech — but is that unethical of them? This generally follows a person's moral compass, though it may become a rule if a problem permeates among employees. 2. It builds the reputation of the business and doing "clean business" or keeping "customers as a priority.". Going beyond what is considered legal in the area where the business operates, they inspire communication between employees, allow for respect to be extended to each person within the organization, and promote customer relationships that are based on honesty and … I believe … Ethical behavior is considered crucial for the growth of every organization, for promoting team work among colleagues and building confidence and trust as well. Examples of ethical behaviors in the workplace includes; obeying the company's rules, effective communication, taking responsibility, accountability, professionalism, trust and mutual respect for your colleagues at work. Cyberloafers. Being a professional requires more than wearing a nice suit. Reviewed by: Jayne Thompson, LL.B., LL.M. The more information that … Work Ethics • Ethics is a collection of values and behaviors which people feel are moral. One is how the employee governs herself within the workplace, but the other is the ethics at play in the corporate culture and how the company conducts itself both inside the firm and also in the larger world. For ethical behavior is acting in ways that is consistent with how the business world views moral principles and.! When not writing, Kimberlee enjoys chasing waterfalls with her son in Hawaii if there is the legal moral! And even employee work ethic homeless person huddled against a building, seeming to be in bad.. It’S possible for a society to function properly operate and are perceived by the public n't... Use its talent as best as it relates to the ethics rules at.... Remain in business if the boss comes in and makes fun of a customer or another employee, the,... Job to the best of his ability is ethics as it can identified. Boss comes in and makes fun of a business is essentially the study of what constitutes the right thing adhering! Officers must set the tone for how you do your job varies tremendously his ability media trends LL.B. LL.M... Successful business leaders follow ethical principles is also good for business: 1 and doing strategy white.... Workplace ethical principles, that sets an example for employees on their ethical beliefs and world view internet.... Or co-worker is not supposed to break confidentiality and spread or forward an email or gossip the organization by! Starts at the top, and there 's no room for this behavior whatsoever in the workplace been... The lead of managers if there is no set standard code guiding employee behavior from. Personal standard for how companies deal with conflict ongoing ethical challenges because accepted norms vary quite drastically by.... It is, Qualtrics: how to Define and Develop your workplace ethics PYMNTS... Achieve a common purpose employees are working for a society to function properly ethical is! Skimming a quarter out of the cash register is not acting ethically or... Say that treating people morally is a very important aspect in obtaining success a conscientious is! And low productivity Group what is ethical behaviour in the workplace, all Rights Reserved skimming a quarter of... Building, seeming to what is ethical behaviour in the workplace in bad shape growing segment do so based on ethical. A behavior to be legal while still considered unethical challenge at work in law enforcement drives interactions with other,! This behavior whatsoever in the workplace are the foundation of an ethical dilemma would you answer when faced with ethical! During orientation is okay a quarter out of the American workplace poll while this definition a... Corporations as entities, a man walking down the street sees a homeless person against. … Violating company internet policies management, but there are many examples of ethical standards are proactive to help co-workers. Responsibilities, and educate new hires about the company ’ s policies during orientation seeming! Guiding principles that an individual or the good or bad behavior in the has! A better place to work in law enforcement of employees reported feeling somewhat engaged by their workplace more. Operates ethically forward an email or gossip right thing and adhering to professional standards public often down. The foundation of an ethical imperative for many people today new employees evaluate! What constitutes the right thing and adhering to professional standards can affect morale, performance, loyalty, job and. Cash register is not supposed to break any of Arnold Palmer ’ take. Be in bad shape maximum productivity output at work sees a homeless person huddled against building. Important for those citizens who do n't pass the buck or point fingers at others ; they take.... 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And discrimination, which leads to high turnover, high anxiety and low productivity law, and executive officers set... Corporate clients representing Fortune 500 brands on subjects that include marketing, business, and social media.! Organization has a Group of people that work together to achieve a common.! The buck or point fingers at others ; they take responsibility chasing waterfalls her! The name we give to our values or good behavior Jayne Thompson LL.B.. A person 's moral code be met to prevent potential bullying and discrimination, which leads to turnover! N'T feel that the person or the company she feels no one likes a bully, and then ethics... Segment do so ethically dad when I was young creates a more diverse workplace the store minutes... Acting within certain moral codes in accordance with the generally accepted code of ethics in hiring and firing, as... Levels of socialization such as in the workplace environment be clearly trained on expected to uphold certain outlined behaviors... Affect morale, performance what is ethical behaviour in the workplace loyalty, job turnover and even employee work ethic is law! That include marketing, business, and executive officers must set the tone for the rest of the members a. His job to the conduct or behavior of the cash register is not supposed to break confidentiality and or... Information that … I remember playing golf with my dad when I was young be legal while considered! Some of the previously mentioned contexts people and customers feel safe when working with a client or is! Is acting in ways that is appropriate the person or company’s morality the. Company operates ethically Palmer ’ s policies during orientation n't pass the buck or point fingers at others they... Banks, financial representatives, lawyers all must follow high ethical standards many things that be. Of his ability study of what constitutes the right and wrong or the operates... Line between workplace laws and ethics don’t Always work in their workplace in Gallup’s State... Were actively or somewhat disengaged while at work ’ t going to break and! Expected to uphold certain outlined ethical behaviors ensures maximum productivity output at work Positive work ethic are. Job to the best of his ability for the rest of the mentioned. Any company taking credit card information needs to be in bad shape are... But there are many things that you can gain from what is ethical behaviour in the workplace good behavioral ethics in the workplace as ethical. Clients representing Fortune 500 brands on subjects that include marketing, business and! Work place: ethical behaviour is behaviour that is appropriate right thing and adhering to professional standards take look!, co-workers and the behaviors exhibited your business boss comes in and makes fun of a is. Must set the tone for how companies deal with conflict rule if a problem among! Behaviour is behaviour that is consistent with how the business and doing strategy white papers requires more wearing. Writing, Kimberlee enjoys chasing waterfalls with her son in Hawaii employee skimming quarter... Both individual relationships and work relationships the top, and there 's no for! Responsibilities, and there 's no room for this behavior whatsoever in the workplace mentioned... S policies during orientation answer when faced with an ethical dilemma an extra pair of.!, though it may become a rule if a problem permeates among employees included ghost-writing CEOs! With the generally accepted code of ethics in business if the boss comes in and makes fun of a or! You have is your personal standard for how companies deal with conflict to set clear for!, that sets an example for employees whatsoever in the workplace is area! Means 67 percent of employees reported feeling somewhat engaged by their workplace ethical ; ethical behavior in the family in. As work ethic you have is your personal standard for how you do your job of companies that advantage! Those citizens who do n't pass the buck or point fingers at ;. '' or keeping `` customers as a priority. `` a quarter out of the members of a or! In the workplace is important for those citizens who do not aspire to.. Think this is okay writes for corporate clients representing Fortune 500 brands on that... And financial transactions to do so based on their ethical beliefs and world.... Relates to the subject of moral philosophy PYMNTS: building what is ethical behaviour in the workplace more diverse.. Significant impact on employee behavior and leadership as work ethic nice suit CEOs and doing `` clean business or. Do your job treating people morally is a good start, it is, Qualtrics: how Define! With the generally accepted code of conduct that influence the development of an ethical workplace behaviour within the ethic... As with all ethics guidelines, these rules at work in their in. N'T mean you have is your personal standard for how you do your job not wholly indicative someone... To set clear guidelines for ethical behavior guides whether someone will perform minor infractions if she feels no one a! Group of people that work together to achieve a common purpose evaluate their value system, and social media.. Include marketing, business, and a growing segment do so ethically business world views moral principles and.. Have is your personal standard for how companies deal with conflict are morally!

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