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What Is Ethics?
Ethics is a set of rules that define right and wrong conduct. These ethical rules tell us when our behavior is acceptable and when it is disapproved. Ethics deals with fundamental human relationships. Ethical rules are guides to moral behavior. For example, all societies have ethical rules forbidding lying, stealing, deceiving, and harming others. They also have ethical rules that approve of honesty, keeping promises, helping others, and respecting the rights of others. Such basic rules of behavior are thought to be essential for the preservation and continuation of organized life.
What Is Business Ethics?
Business ethics is not a special set of ethical rules different from ethics in general and applicable only to business. Business ethics is the application of general ethical rules to business behavior. If protecting others from harm is considered to be ethical, then a business firm that recalls a defective and dangerous product is acting in an ethical way.
For example, the banks that allowed laundered money to flow through their accounts not only broke the law but protected criminals who harmed society. When business firms or people in business violate the rules that define right and wrong behavior, they are acting unethically, and they also may be acting illegally.
Why Is Business Ethics Important?
Why should business pay attention at all to ethics? In most cases, the general public expects business to exhibit high levels of ethical performance and social responsibility. For example, Parker Brothers spent $10 million in recalling the toy that caused the death of two children because company executives knew that its customers would approve its attempts to protect children's lives.
A second factor encouraging business firms to act ethically is to prevent harm to society. One of the strongest ethical principles is very simple: "Do no harm." Many ethical rules operate to protect society against various types of harm, and business is expected to observe this main principle. A third reason for promoting ethical behavior is to protect business firms from unethical employees or unethical competitors. High ethical performance also protects the individuals who work in business.
Ethics and Etiquette. There is some difference between business ethics and etiquette. Etiquette means rules for formal relations or polite social behavior among people in a society or a profession. Being a manager you should stick to the following rules in your everyday activities.
3. Do not order, ask and be polite.
4. Remember that people work with you, not for you. They like to be treated as associates, not slaves.
5. Keep your promises, both important and less important promises.
6. Criticize, if you must, only in private – and do it objectively. Never criticize
7. You should say “Good morning” when you come in and “Please” and “Thank you” at every opportunity.
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