There’s no need to define ethics and why one should follow it. Because deep down, everyone knows that they are the guiding principles for the effective functioning of every society. It helps a person understand the right way to behave in every situation. Every situation, profession, and filed has its own set of this. While there is no written law or any said punishment for not following these ethics, it might land you in trouble in the long run.
Similarly, following these could get you out of any possible trouble and make your life easy. While there are no said rules on business ethics, there are a few commonly misunderstood principles. Here are three common misconceptions or myths about business ethics that you should know. Understanding the myths will help you look at business situations from a fresh perspective and handle them most ethically.
Myth 1: Only Employees Need Ethics
The common slip of most companies is when they believe that ethical practices and behavior is only for employees. While it is important to have a workforce that operates ethically, it is all the more important to have a transparent and ethical business. This means, there are a few instances in every business where a person will have to deal with an ethical dilemma. They will have to choose between what’s right for the business, what’s right for the stakeholders, and what’s right for the people at large!
It is important to understand that there are some grey regions are invariably present while discussing an ethical conundrum. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to encourage your stakeholders to act responsibly by placing the larger group’s interest over that of the business. It is important for you as a business to do what works for the greater good rather than the individual.
Myth 2: Monitoring Ethical Behavior Is Impossible
Most organizations have a class on business ethics and organizational ethics when an employee joins an organization and forgets about implementing it. The popular reason behind this is that most people believe it is impossible to enforce ethical behavior and monitor it. However, this is far from the truth. Managing ethics at the workplace is possible and important too.
An organization needs to embrace a culture where the employees prioritize behavior that is in line with the organization’s core values. To achieve this, organizations have to implement a practice of educating and implementing ethical behavior and the same importance they attach to managing diversity, quality, and strategy. In other words, organizations can monitor and implement ethical behavior by having a value management team in place.
Myth 3: Everything That Is Legal Is Ethical
Another most popular myth about business and workplace is that only if it is illegal, it is unethical. In other words, if something is legal, people believe it is ethical too. However, that’s not the case always, which is why it is important to understand and differentiate between situations that might be legally right but ethically wrong and act ethically. For instance, not giving a deserving employee a hike or promotion is lawfully acceptable. However, it is morally wrong.
So, your business needs to understand the differences between what is legal and illegal and what is ethical and unethical. Embracing practices that are both legal and ethical is what you need as a business to flourish.
These are just a few ethical dilemmas that you, as a business entity, might have to enforce. While most businesses focus on building a perfect product, developing the right strategy, and expanding their business, they tend to fail in implementing ethical behavior at work. While it seems negligible, remember, your entire business is at stake if your organization and employees are not ethical.
In the book “Ethical Leadership,” the author, Andrew Leigh, discusses how one needs to understand the importance of picking the right ethical tone, avoiding the myths around it, and learning from the failures of others.
Remember that ethics are the guiding principles that help you do the right thing always. And it is important to follow them, even if it is not illegal. End of the day the success of a business depends on the people and while you’re dealing with people, it is important to be ethical and set a moral high ground!