What is Business Ethics?
What is meant by morality?
There are two important definitions: ethics provides the basis for us to make decisions about right or wrong, and ethics is also the study of moral philosophy.
To behave ethically means to choose the right option rather than the wrong one.
Business ethics sets standards for what is right and what is wrong by providing guidance for action for people in the business world. The term also refers to the study of ethical principles within a company.
Business ethics is a form of applied ethics, that is, applied ethical philosophy that deals with right and wrong by applying general ethical principles to concrete situations.
Therefore, business ethics is a form of practical ethics that examines the business world. Shaping the corporate culture of businesses and influencing the way companies treat, behave and act with their stakeholders.
Can ethics be taught?
Not everyone agrees that ethics can be taught to those who work or enter the world of work.
By this, skeptics generally mean that ethics training or ethics courses are of minor value in encouraging ethical behavior within a company and that the individual’s views on what is right or wrong. It really matters.
However, a very effective argument can be supported, since devoting oneself to a formal idea of morality can make a difference in the way a person behaves.
It is very important to understand the ethical issues at stake. Some may be unaware of the potential ethical shortcomings of their actions.
Others may need to be mindful of the significant negative consequences of unethical behavior.
Any business ethics considerations that can help us:
- Recognize when ethical issues arise
- Understanding the interactions between the three factors of the moral triangle (personal ethics, leadership, and governance/control)
- Learn new ways to make ethical decisions
- Recognize the value of professional ethical guidelines and codes of conduct
- Be aware of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the company
- develop skills to deal with ethical situations and make better ethical decisions
- The John Hooker Professor of Ethics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania argued that:
“Corporate management is about making the right decisions. Ethics is about making the right decisions.
Management is concerned with how decisions affect the company, whereas ethics is concerned with how is how decisions affect everything”.
Hooker states that: “Management operates in the specific context of the company, whereas ethics operates in the general context of the world. Management is therefore part of ethics.
A business manager cannot make the right decisions without understanding management and ethics in general.” Business ethics is management done in the real world. That’s why business managers should study ethics”.
Apply Ethics in the Workplace
There is no doubt that obeying the law represents the minimum ethics for businesses. But when faced with ethical dilemmas in which there is some ambiguity.
What are the factors that influence the decision-making process of both individuals and companies?
What is it that forms the basic moral norms and standards? In short, what helps moral reasoning when moral and ethical issues are in gray?
Managers are often asked to prepare personal ethical judgments when dealing with employees, management and their actions (misuse company assets, report irregularities);
Companies and institutions often face larger issues involving customers, shareholders and the community.
Many companies have adopted a mission (declaration of intent), they hire “Chief Ethics Officer” the motto of the developed company.
Google’s is “Don’t be evil” and they establish ethical codes and so on. These initiatives aim to inform and guide the behavior of employees and the company.
Additionally, many professional organizations (such as legal and accounting ones) have established ethical guidelines for their members.
Because ethics are important
Ethics is very important. And this is especially important in the business world. D. Quinn Mills, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, explains that:
“Ethical principles are the basis of the rules we establish for our behavior. They determine what kind of person we will be, then they determine how others will view us.
This is of paramount importance in the business world. , because we have to work with other people, whether they are in our company, company, suppliers, customers etc., and all these people have to trust us.
They should feel that they can trust us, That they can predict our behavior, that we will act in their best interest and that of us.
All these things constitute ethical behavior
Ethical in relation to the environment; Ethical regarding the sustainability of what we do, so that future generations can also live and thrive on this planet.
There is an increasing expectation that companies themselves, that is, groups of people to whom we belong and groups made up of other people, behave and operate in an ethical manner.
If we deal with unethical behavior, there are dire consequences, with unpleasant consequences, both for us personally and for the companies we work for.
For us personally, if we have a reputation for not being trustworthy, not being honest, we will not be respected and people will not be able to do a good job with us.
The same is true for companies. If you build a reputation for companies by doing things that are not in the best interests of their customers, suppliers.
Their communities or their employees, customers will not come to our businesses for the products and services that we provide.
So, when you look at the issue in its entirety, it becomes clear that ethics is one of the most important aspects of any business.
Integrity with a capital “I”.
Passion, discipline, respect and integrity are the guiding values for in the awareness that excellent long-term economic results are only achieved by generally accepted ethical principles and considered fair.
It is well known that values-sharing communities are best at creating long-term value. For this reason, we seek to achieve the best possible economic results in our activities but with fairness and integrity.
This assumes compliance with applicable laws. But the company’s internal rules also help us in this sense: they set a path to follow and clearly indicate what is desired, allowed, or prohibited.
Our rules set the limits within which everyone in the company can act on their own initiative with some degree of safety.
However, these rules should be in line with our corporate values and in essence the idea that our employees are up to the concept of fair and integral conduct.
Only in such a way that, in fact, the rules are firmly accepted and respected, only in such a way that the “duty” conforms to the “wish” of the employees.
Materialized in the daily activities of the company.
And in order to recognize the importance of regulations, it is also necessary – especially on the part of management – to comply with rules that are exemplary, consistent and therefore reliable.
But rules are often not enough, especially in situations where it is often necessary to consider conflicting interests and try to reconcile.
In these cases the rules offer only abstract principles, but do not provide any concrete help on the conduct of adoption or decision-making in the specific case.
One can mainly rely only on one’s own assessment of what is right or wrong.
But precisely in this case it is important to know whether one’s internal compass signals are in line with what the company expects, which is ultimately crucial for adopting conduct and making decisions soundly.
Walk in the same direction.
In order to achieve greater certainty and security and to be able to make decisions independently even in problematic situations, it is essential that the company has an understanding on the principles of integrity that guide all.
In this sense, an open discussion between managers, employees and workers’ representatives can help.
This way we will reach a shared understanding of the idea of integrity in the company, which then finds expression in the individual’s rules and conduct.
We have initiated this dialogue across all business divisions of Carraro S.p.A. And we want to continue this in future also.
Positive feedback from all employees, including managers at all levels, is an important affirmation for this mode of communication.
We agree that this type of dialogue promotes honesty and fairness in everyday life, helps those making difficult decisions, contributes to greater mutual understanding and strengthens spirit.
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