Table Of Contents
- The Meaning Of Ethics And Social Responsibilities
- Professional Ethics And Professional Work Ethics
- Meaning Of Professional Ethics
- Meaning Of Professional Work Ethics
- Business Code Of Ethics
- Things To Consider In Developing Business Code Of Ethics
- The Importance Of Workplace Ethics Training
- Assessment Of Workplace Ethics
In general sense, ethics and social responsibility are the names given to concern for good behaviour. There is an obligation for every individual or organization to consider not only his/her own personal well being but also that of others and human society as a whole. The foundation principle of ethics is the Golden Rule which is the fundamental moral imperative: What you do not want done to you, do not do it to others. Do to others what you would like done to you. Ethics is what guides mankind’s intervention with nature. It determines the character and quality of our lives. The character and quality og human standard of conduct is determined by ethics. It is essential for mankind to increase emphasis upon the ethical aspects of life to combine an ethical enquiry with the other sciences in which we will surely continue to excel.
Ethics must be held as a non-negotiable item in any arbitration concerning the survival of our nation. We must build on our strength morally and economically, if we must survive as a nation.
The well educated and less educated alike learn most of their ethics from living. From life itself, the simple minded and the intellectual learn that onse should not steal, kill or tell lie. In today’s complex society, an individual does not have much difficulty in telling absolute wrong from absolute right. There is more to ethics than meets the eyes.
Ethics precedes and leads to law. The ethic that is embodied into the law is usually based on the morality of the majority of a society. When the morality of the majority operates at a level lower than the law, such a condition leads to a break down of the law and engenders the stability of a society. Nothing destroys morality as ethical void.
The Meaning Of Ethics And Social Responsibilities
The word ethics comes from Greek word, ethos, meaning character; guiding beliefs, standards or ideas that pervade a group, a community or people. Ethics is the study of moral behaviour; the study of how the standard of moral conduct among individuals are established and expressed behaviourally. Ethics is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as the science of morals; moral principles or code. Moral is defined as the standard of conduct respected by good men independently of positive law and religion. Many organizations and writers have attempted to define ethics in their own context whether business, organizational, political, personal or professional.
Terms as business ethics, corporate ethics, medical ethics, legal ethics etc. are used to indicate the particular area of application. But to have meaning, the ethics involved in each area must still refer to the value-oriented decisions and behaviour of individuals.
According to Okolo (2009), Social responsibility refers to a manager’s duty or obligations to make decisions that nurturem protect, enhance, and promote the welfare and well being of stakeholders and society as a whole. Social responsibility is the moral conduct that relates to such broad issues as environmental pollution, discrimination, unemployment, poverty etc. An organization whose practices contribute to unemployment, increased poverty to minority groups and the like would be viewd as socially irresponsible as not fulfilling its responsibility to society.
There is a tendency to think of social responsibility in terms of organizations and ethics in terms of individuals; but this is not a useful destination made by people and, therefore, individual.
Professional Ethics And Professional Work Ethics
Professional ethics is simply “giving of one’s best to ensure that clients interests are properly cared for, but in doing so the wider public interest is also recognized and respected.
The following are some of the basic assumptions underlining the understanding of ethics often covered by professional organizations:
1. Professional ethics is a process: This means that ethics are not a fixed text to be learnt once. It is a way of reviewing behaviour against constantly changing standards. What may be ethical today, or in a particular society, may be viewd differently by others or at another time.
2. Human behaviour is caused: There is a motive for all human behaviour, e.g. financial gain, power etc.
3. Actions have consequences: Every force has an equal and opposite reaction.
4. What is ethical depends on the individual’s point of view: This is influenced by a variety of factors including published codes and statements.
5. Good ethical business practice rests on mutual vulnerability: We are each susceptible to the actions of others; and the way we are treated depends on how we treat others. Respect is not a right and must be earned. The need for professional ethics is based upon the vulnerability of others. The customers must be protected from exploitation in a situation in which they are unable to protect themselves because they lack the relevant knowledege to do so.
The major social responsibility decisions an organization makes are normally consistent with the values expressed in its management’s daily operating system. Managers also consider certain forms of prices discrimination as unethical. Other practices with unethical implications include misleading advertising, unfair credit practices, failure to live up to contracts and cheating customers.
Professional Work Ethics
Professional work ethics could be referred to as a string of workplace rules that explain how workers could successfully carry out their respective functions. These professional work ethics may include being creative, humble, objective, good time management, great communication skill, good interpersonal relationship, honesty, etc.
Explaining professional work ethics may help the workers to familiarize themselves with the important contents of this ethics. The following are some of the professional work ethics that are required from an office manager:
1. The attitude of being creative at the workplace is what most employers admire a lot. They could invest so much money to hire a highly creative professional.
2. Good time management has no second place in the list of necessary professional work ethics. To define professional ethics without direct reference to time management is practicably incomplete. Projects at work require strict conformity with the time of completion given by the customers; and managers at work would be happy to have a professional who understands the significance of time to execute such projects.
3. To be a good professional; One must have a great communication skill; you would require to participate in several discussions, seminars, workshops and conferences; you would also have fruitful communication with your colleagues and customers. He must understand what motivates people and adjust communication accordingly.
4. Good interpersonal relationship: An outstanding professional must learn how to engage in a wonderful interpersonal relationship. He should therefore, have the ability to interact with people in a more refined manner as to make the outside world want to do business with her organization at every time.
5. Moral Excellence: A secretary with moral excellence and firmness could neither be bribed nor mislead.
6. Orderliness: A good professional should be orderly and priority to urgent matters.
7. Temperament: This is a person’s disposition or nature as it affects one’s way of thinking, feeling and behaving. A moderate temperate person is always cheerful and shows self-control even while handling difficult situations. A calm temperament is important for lively interpersonal relationships.
8. Punctuality: This includes being on time getting settled at work after an interruption and completing a job in the shortest time.
9. Tactfulness and use of initiatives: A secretary should be tactful and make use of initiative in handling situations.
10. A Good Apperance.
11. Secrecy: A good secretary should be able to know what is confidential information about an organization, her executive, as well as other staff and keep them secrete.
12. Humble: A good secretary should be humble, helpful, friendly, and sincere. A secretary must learn to ride over all sorts of tide without rocking the boat.
A good worker is the one who steadfastly follow all the contents of professional work ethics. He is one who can see himself and his subject in a broader perspective, who is aware of differing and often conflicting values and goals, who is cognizant of his hierarchy of values by which his decisions are guided and who then makes decisions with full awareness of their consequences.
Business Code Of Ethics
Every organization must have a code of conduct (ethics) in place. This only needs to be one document because an employees code of ethics is basically the same as a corporate code of conduct.
There is need for objective standards other than laws and government regulations to help managers make ethical decisions. When dependent solely on the subjective standards of individual managers, ethical decisions are unpredictable and subject to all forms of perceptional, defensive and self-serving bias. Ethical codes may exert significant influence over the persons to whom they apply, whether or not those persons agree fully with them, because of the penalties involved in non compliance.
Things To Consider In Developing Business Code Of Ethics
An organization’s code of ethics in business is only effective if it is written down and it has a firm buy-in from all employees, managers, executives and directors. A code of business ethics should have a specific procedures for dealing with employees ethics, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, and more. It should protect the intergrity not only of employees, but for customers and business partners as well.
The following are some of the business code of conduct guidelines to consider when developing business codes of ethics:
1. Identify key business ethics behaviours needed to adhere to the values in your code of ethics. Do not forget to consider values from laws and regulations that may apply.
2. Include wording in your corporate code of ethics that show all employees that they are expected to conform to the behaviours in the code of conduct. Adding wording in the code of ethics that indicate where employees can go if they have questions.
3. Include code of conduct scenarios that help being to life the topic at hand. Employees may be tired of reading the legal information and may appreciate some real life code of conduct scenarios that relate directly to code of business ethics that four companies have.
4. Make sure your legal ethics department reviews the drafted code of conduct.
5. Ensure each employee has a copy of the organizations code business conduct and that your code of ethics is clear.
6. Include business ethics examples such as: preferred style of dress, following instructions of superiors, being reliable and punctual, maintaining confidentiality, avoiding conflict of interest, complying with laws and regulations, not using organization’s property for personal use, ethnic discrimination, discriminating against age, reporting illegal or questionable activity, etc.
The Importance Of Workplace Ethics Training
In personal and professional lives people can and, unfortunately, sometimes do go against their moral and ethical standards. Ethical standards are what it means to be a good person, the social rules that govern our behaviour. Ethics in business is essentially the study of what constitutes the right and wrong or the good or bad behaviour in the workplace environment.
Ethics training helps the employees to identify preferred values and ensures that they know how to apply them in a questionable situation. It develops awareness and sensitivity.
Employers must do their part to make ethical expectations clear and trust the employee to delive, sometimes ethics training works and sometimes ethics training does not work. Understand that one’s ethic is his system of moral standards or principles that may or may not agree with the professional work ethic standards. Despite the difference, promoting professional work ethics requires the employer to do everything in his power to set up employees for success.
In the workplace, employers should lead the employees to ethical success by requiring them to read the ethics manual attend a training session and sign a document swearing to uphod the rules. With that done, employers sit back and rely on the integrity, understanding, and self discipline of each employee.
Ethical training must be provided to get everyone on the same page; and this must include integrated compliance, solutions and promote integrity in the workplace.
Assessment Of Workplace Ethics
Both employees and employers who want to seriously assess how well their work place ethics work should ask the following questions:
1. Are the workplace ethics expectation in my organization clearly communicated?
People need to know what is expected of them. It is human nature. People want to know what is expected so they can get on their job work ethics.
2. Are the ethical expectation in the ethics training of may organization based in common sense and reality?
Expectations should not be burdensome, attainable only by saints. Having unattainable expectations with regard to ethics in the work of people makes criminals out of perfectly good people.
3. Does the system of dealing with ethnical problems show respect and due process to people involved? How are people treated once they are caught or accused of unethical conduct? The legal system operates under the assumption of innocence, in contrast to the workplace, which operates on the assumption of guilt. Though the administration of justice is the prerogative of the organization, it must be done with fairness and respect for everyone involved.
4. Is ethics a positive or negative issue in my organization? A positive ethics approach looks for the best interest of both the employees and organization with positive workplace ethics training. Ethics in the workplace can be framed as something that makes life better for everyone not worse.