Ethics is important not only in business but in all aspects of life because it is the vital part and the foundation on which the society is build. A business/society that lacks ethical principles is bound to fail sooner or later. According to International Ethical Business Registry, “there has been a dramatic increase in the ethical expectation of businesses and professionals over the past 10 years. Increasingly, customers, clients and employees are deliberately seeking out those who define the basic ground, rules of their operations on a day today….”
Ethics refers to a code of conduct that guides an individual in dealing with others. Business Ethics is a form of the art of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in business environment. It deals with issues regarding the moral and ethical rights, duties and corporate governance between a company and its shareholders, employees, customers, media, government, suppliers and dealers. Henry Ford said, “Business that makes noting but money is a poor kind of business”.
Ethics is related to all disciplines of management like accounting information, human resource management, sales and marketing, production, intellectual property knowledge and skill, international business and economic system. As said by Joe Paterno once that success without honor is an unseasoned dish. It will satisfy your hunger, but won’t taste good. In business world the organization’s culture sets standards for determining the difference between good or bad, right or wrong, fair or unfair.
“It is perfectly possible to make a decent living without compromising the integrity of the company or the individual, wrote business executive R. Holland, “Quite apart from the issues of rightness and wrongness, the fact is that ethical behavior in business serves the individual and the enterprise much better in long run.”, he added.
Some management guru stressed that ethical companies have an advantage over their competitors. Said Cohen and Greenfield, “Consumers are used to buying products despite how they feel about the company that sells them. But a valued company earned a kind of customer loyalty most corporations only dream of because it appeals to its customers more than a product”.
The ethical issues in business have become more complicated because of the global and diversified nature of many large corporation and because of the complexity of economic, social, global, natural, political, legal and government regulations and environment, hence the company must decide whether to adhere to constant ethical principles or to adjust to domestic standards and culture.
Managers have to remember that leading by example is the first step in fostering a culture of ethical behavior in the companies as rightly said by Robert Noyce, “If ethics are poor at the top, that behavior is copied down through the organization”, however the other methods can be creating a common interest by favorable corporate culture, setting high standards, norms, framing attitudes for acceptable behavior, making written code of ethics implicable at all levels from top to bottom, deciding the policies for recruiting, selecting, training, induction, promotion, monetary / non-monetary motivation, remuneration and retention of employees. “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get” – Warren Buffet
Thus, a manager should treat his employees, customers, shareholders, government, media and society in an honest and fair way by knowing the difference between right or wrong and choosing what is right, this is the foundation of ethical decision making. REMEMBER: GOOD ETHICS IS GOOD BUSINESS. “Non-corporation with the evil is as much a duty as is co-operation with good” – Mahatma Gandhi.