In corporations and businesses, ethics is a vital key in keeping society stable, trustworthy and professional. Ethics, simply put, morally comprehends the difference between right and wrong, acting on the “right thing to do” and essentially defines ones’ character. In today’s wide ranging business environments, ethics and social responsibilities have become even more important. Understanding and following positive ethic guidelines can determine the experience and quality of any workplace.
Individuals generally want to do what is right and what is ethical, but what does that fully entail? Why should one strive to act in an ethical manner? According to Beatty et al. (2010), “Ethical decision making generates a range of benefits for employees, companies and society,” (p. 26). Individuals must work together ethically to better ensure progression because without progression, there is failure. The more we try to strive on doing what is morally right, the more society as a whole can benefit and provide stability.
When we as individuals do what we feel is right, we are rewarded with contentment. Practicing positive and responsible behavior sets examples to others, in which we hope they will practice the same behavior. Constantly relying on “things” can produce negative behavior which in turn can damage hopes of morality in ethical decisions. Beatty et al. (2010) asks, “What does make people happy in the long run? Good relationships, satisfying work and ties to the community, which all are available at no financial cost,” (p. 6).
In the workplace, ethics plays an extremely important part in managing a successful business. Those of authority hope to sustain positive healthy relationships and feel confident about their day to day decisions. Businesses maintaining employees, who are satisfied, mentored and ethically/morally treated right, will contribute to their success both on the roster and in financial statistics. The consequences of unethical behavior can negatively impact the workplace both organizationally and financially.
Beatty et al (2010) tells us, “Organizations cannot be successful without good workers; disgruntled workers are likely to be unmotivated and unproductive,” (p. 31). Organizations have social responsibilities to its employees but also to its customers. Customers expect reliability, loyalty and respect which in return creates increasing profitability for the business. Customer satisfaction can also be determined by employee satisfaction. Unhappy workers who show negative attitudes and unwillingness to work will not attract repeating customers.
Businesses hoping to be successful long term should continuously strive to create and maintain a positive environment and behave morally in order to create fairness for both the employees and customers. Although the goal is for individuals and businesses to behave morally true, unethical behavior unfortunately can take place. Whether or not those guilty are caught or reprimanded, immoral acts can continue to occur. According to Beatty et al. (2010), “Arthur Andersen, an accounting firm, was the cause of Enron’s bankruptcy.
Andersen began advising companies on automated bookkeeping, offering internal services to its clients which created them to audit themselves. Lawsuits were filed due to multiple mistakes, settlements were made and multiple companies were destroyed, including Enron. Enron’s bankruptcy investigation led to information proving Andersen employees allowed un-fixed mistakes to be certified along with obstructing justice in shredding and destroying evidence of their faults. More destroyed companies and auditors due to similar issues caused the stock market to decrease twenty percent in value.
In result of the Andersen verdict, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was passed in 2002 to restore investor confidence,” (p. 644-688). The actions of the Andersen accounting firm proved the impact ethics has on society, morally and financially. In question, “can ethics be taught? ” I believe it relies on personal judgment. According to Acevedo, “management must be built on sound ethical underpinnings. Accordingly, introductory management courses customarily introduce business ethics and corporate social responsibility in order to develop the students’ ethical awareness and reasoning.
Yet, some common misconceptions regarding the discipline are also present in these introductions to the topic, as evidenced by review of a sample of popular management textbooks. Their discussion, with recommendations, aims to improve the teaching and learning of ethics in management, managerial problem solving and decision making,” (p. 63-69). In my future as a business professional, I hope to maintain high ethical standards in carrying out what I believe to be morally right. In any business position, it proves to behave responsibly under any circumstances as seen in the Enron catastrophe.
In addition to in-class training, I feel ethics can be taught through leading by example. The basis of ethics and social responsibility can be relayed but whether or not someone chooses to behave in an ethical and responsible manner is a decision they must hold themselves. In today’s society and business environment, ethics and social responsibility should remain in focus. When a matter can impact individuals, businesses and society as a whole it must be taken seriously. Furthermore, one should take responsibility for their actions and behave morally and ethically for success.