When Dante said, “the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality”, he was showing sheer intelligence and insight. A workplace cannot be better if all the people you find in it will only practice ethical business conduct. It is now a given that the promotion of such a practice is a critical part of a business if its management would want it to be reputable, well-regarded and profitable. Those who will keep a blind eye on corruptions, immoralities and other atrocities in the workplace are simply unforgivable.
If the personnel of all companies and firms will just be able to truly practice ethical business conduct, then professionalism will never be a problem in the workplace. Both employees and customers will be satisfied and happy that it becomes normal for them to give back to the firm their loyalty and patronage that in the process, also favors Management. For this to happen however, there is a need for the cooperation and concerted efforts from both Management and its employees to achieve their goals, in this case, to be able to practice ethical business conduct in the workplace. First off, there is
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Ethical business conduct refers to governing moral rules that are normally impressed upon personnel in the business world. They will serve as guide for everybody in the company on how they should act, make decisions, make deals, negotiate, etc. The most common features contained therein are those that pertain to honesty, integrity, accountability, confidentiality, morality, objectivity, respect, openness, competence, discrimination (or lack thereof), social responsibility and many others depending on the type of organization a personnel is in.
The rules on ethical business conduct in an organization, no matter how well constructed, is doomed to fail if there will be nobody to report those who will not adhere to it. What is even worse is if the body or the committee in-charge of handling the case and the violators will not do a good work of applying the rightful consequences for their actions.
It is but right that the person who witnessed the unethical behavior that violates rule be the first one to act in order for the justifiable action to be put in place. One common problem in the workplace, which remains to be a very difficult situation to handle, would be sexual harassment. Such an unethical business behavior will have the victim dealing with a person of higher authority for sure.
Sexual harassment is about power and only those who are in a higher power in the workplace are able to do such an atrocity. What makes such situation even hard to handle is that the audience are usually limited to just the victim and the offender. Being a person in higher power, the offender may even be able to apply influence on the other individuals who are in-charge of hearing such cases.
This fact, however, should not make the victim simply accept the misdemeanor made. Sexual harassment will not simple go away on its own. What is worse about this problem is that it could even worsen to huge proportions if left unreported. Equally important however, aside from the person who will report the unethical act, are those who will identify if an unethical deed was really made and deal with the penalties that has to be applied to the person who made the act.
This role now lies to the Management and their efforts to make sure that due process will be served and all will be done in the name of what is just and right. A well established process of reporting, identifying and dealing with the problem of ethics in the workplace is ideal. There are many ways by which reports can be made that the person doing it may be protected, e.g., anonymous reporting, 24-hour access for reporting purposes, phone and internet based reporting, access for feedback on reports, etc. The head of the organization should have a hand and his full support in such an endeavor. An ethics management committee that will be composed of members from all levels in the organization including high officials, e.g., CEO, board members, ethics officers and rank and file employees would be ideal.
For ethical business conduct to be established strongly however, a need for the organization to put in place a comprehensive and integrity-filled list of policies and procedures and rules and regulations will be necessary. A Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct should be carefully designed and applied. Equally important is the implementation of such codes. To ensure that such tools and mechanism be known to all concerned personnel, the organization should hold trainings, seminar or workshops that will explicitly impart to them the rules that exist in the company as well as the penalties for the violation of said rules. The trainings will be able to promote awareness of all the company policies and the compliance of the same.
There is no doubt that identifying and dealing with unethical business conduct is vital in any organization. This is the only way business can be run honestly and with integrity. For this to be possible there will be a need to establish a committee that will handle the cases relating to this. When deciding such cases, it is highly advisable that results and decisions be made public, as appropriate. This will not only ensure a clean process, it also serves as hindrance to others who may be thinking of doing the same offense.
For easier adherence, management practices should be integrated with ethics management. In developing programs for ethics, as well as its implementation, a cross-cultural team that will do the work will be ideal in order for participation of all concerned will be considered. Lastly, the team in charge should also value forgiveness.
Should all the aforementioned necessities be put in place, the organization and its personnel are all set out to benefit in the process. Proper business ethics in the workplace is will not only be advantageous to those in it but can improve society as a whole. The presence of morality in any person’s system will redound positively into other things in life. Strong camaraderie and teamwork is one great result of having an ethical business environment that can easily lead to the organizations better productivity. Employee growth is enhanced and can give a better meaning to their working lives. The benefits to the company’s reputation are also priceless. To top it all off, ethical business conduct should be done not only because it is required but simply because it is the right thing to do.
McNamara, Carter. Complete Guide to Ethics Management: An Ethics Toolkit for Managers. < http://www.managementhelp.org/ethics/ethxgde.htm>.