In recent years there has been a concerted effort to have businesses act in ways that are beneficial to the community they operate in and the environment that they work in. In simple terms business ethics is an application of established rules and standards that govern individual’s or group’s moral behavior in an organization.
Why Ethical Guidelines Are Important
- Good ethical practices in business have greatly improved the living conditions in the society, to see this consider that a short while ago in most countries child labor was a norm, workers disabled or maimed at work were left without income and some markets were controlled so stiffly that small businesses were killed off.
- Unethical matters are easily found early and these can be reported to appropriate authorities and the issues addressed, this has also helped organizations, since if ethical violations are identified and law enforcement are informed, the presence of ethical guidelines and a clear and demonstrable effort to enforce those guidelines will mean lower fines if prosecuted and found guilty.
- Proper attention to ethical principles generally give those organizations a good public image, since they are perceived to value people more than profit, a quality that will endear the conscientious public to those organizations’ brands.
- The presence of enforced ethical guideline will help a company avoid the cost of litigation later from former employees on suits for breach of contract if they were relieved of their jobs for ethical violations.
How You Make Ethics Programs More Effective
Effective business ethics programs will usually include these elements:
- An individual in charge of the ethics functions.
- Written standards of conduct.
- Employee training on the code document.
- A hotline for whistleblowers.
Importance of Morals
- Morals on the other hand could be considered as judgements that distinguish between good and bad conduct in the society.
- In business a lot of difficult decisions have to be made, and without a moral compass to guide the decision makes in the business, the consequences on the employees, the organization and the community could be disastrous, and a case in point is the so called conflict minerals that have wrecked havoc in remote lawless places.
Social Responsibility of a Business
- The social responsibility of a business deals with the duty of a business to fulfill the obligations that the business has towards the community.
- These duties mainly touch on charitable activities that the business can contribute to and matters such as environmental protection and preservation.
- This responsibility usually implies a tacit contract between the business and the community, in which the community permits the business to operate within its sphere of influence, while giving jobs and tax revenue to the community as well as contributing towards making the community a better place to live.