Ethics in business refers to the adherence to practices and processes, which are morally acceptable (Bowie, & Patricia, 2005). Ethical issues are what shape public opinion about an organization. Organizations come up with a policy document known as code of ethics, which serves as the benchmark for decision-making. The code of ethics guides an organization’s internal processes, external processes as well as all marketing functions. Work ethics are the most important determinant factors on how employees are likely to perform in their jobs. Employees who lack good work ethics are more likely to face disciplinary actions, to get punished for work related gross misconduct or get sacked altogether (Bowie, & Patricia, 2005).
Therefore work ethics are important for all employees as it is the benchmark most organizations rely on to determine who amongst their employees is following the company code of ethics and who is not. Basically, work ethics revolves around being committed to ones jobs, being honest at work, following instructions, as well as working with dedication. All of the above are very important for a worker and the qualities do not come naturally.
Lack of commitment to one’s duties is morally wrong in that, a lot of resources are wasted as employee who lack commitment are only interested in the salary but do not give the best in their work. This is a very serious moral issue in that; lack of commitment on the part of the employee not only affects the employee but the organization as a whole as well as the clients served by the individual in that, such an employee is less committed meaning that; service delivery is greatly affected. A belief in others will always make me to enjoy good relations with others, which are not possible whenever one portrays disbelief in other individuals. Belief in others and collective responsibility is an ethical issue, which means that team members take responsibility for their mistakes, and on the other hand, collective responsibility implies that success for one team member is the success for the whole organization. It is the belief in people and in one another that keep organizations pulling in the same direction. Teamwork is about trust and belief in each other. The organization cannot function as one unit unless the leadership shows faith in the followers.
Kant’s ethical theory states categorically that whether an act is good or bad largely depends on the intrinsic character of an individual’s actions (Bowie, & Patricia, 2005). Kant’s ethical theory is deontological and therefore Kant maintains that intrinsic character is responsible for what mainly determines whether an act is good or bad. This Kant warns about depending too much on the consequences to determine what is morally right from that which is morally wrong (Bowie, & Patricia, 2005). Kant’s ethical theory emphasizes that intrinsic factors should be used to judge the motive behind one’s actions.
The position taken by Kant is totally incompatible with other stances such as the stance taken by utilitarianism in that utilitarianism views consequences of one’s actions are very central to morals while Kant fails to recognize the value of consequences. Another major attribute of Kant’s ethical theory is the fact that Kant holds the view that intentions one abhors play an important role in determining the outcome of one’s morals (Bowie, & Patricia, 2005). This is fundamentally different from utilitarianism ethical theory, which emphasizes very much on the outward characteristics as opposed to the intrinsic factors.
In addition utilitarianism puts more emphasis on the mental processes within an individual. In addition Kant’s ethical theory places emphasis on the role of wrong actions happening but as a result of good intentions as well as situations whereby individuals perform the right actions but motivated by the wrong intentions (Bowie, & Patricia, 2005). This therefore leads Kant to conclude that morality and ethics should always result from right actions and the fact that the right actions are what should judge a person as good (). Kant’s ethical theory is what guides most professional code of ethics whereby professionals are required to abide by the set principles of the organisation, failure to which one can be punished for. Most of the codes of ethics are in their very nature a call for those it is made to judge to guide to act intrinsically for the good of the organisation.
This makes Kant’s ethical theory altruistic in nature due to the fact that it is motivated by the inward force in individual. In addition Kant’s ethical theory is rationalistic in nature considering the fact that the theory objects to individuals acting in a positive manner but lacking in conviction about their actions. This is rationalistic as opposed to naturalistic in that it is only rational that good intentions lead to right acts although naturally things may be different.
Utilitarianism is egoistic in nature considering the fact that it is not solely concerned with the end result of an individual’s action but less concerned about the effects of such actions to those around the person or the organisation incase of an employee. Utilitarianism advocates that people act in such a manner as to yield the best results possible. Utilitarianism holds that good actions can result from bad motives and also that good motives could sometimes result into bad actions (Bowie, & Patricia, 2005).
It is immoral to be involved in deceptive practices and therefore end up misleading others. Situations where misleading or dishonesty is usually displayed in an organization include; a situation whereby an advertiser attaches false qualities or attributions to a product or service something which can mislead the customer to buy a given product or service based on the advertiser’s information.
Misleading employees can have far reaching effects on the consumer especially cost implications. For example, a misinformed consumer may invest equivalent amount of money on a counterfeit product the same amount that is enough to purchase a genuine product.
Unwise consumer decisions leads to losses and the consumer may develop a negative attitude towards certain products whether genuine and counterfeit, as it is very hard for misinformed consumers to tell the difference between what is genuine and what is not. The utilitarian theory holds that, in a free market economy, economic factors should be left to control the market forces but not deceptive and unethical practices on the part of the organization through unfair marketing and advertising campaigns.
The kind of decisions one makes at the workplace has an effect with poor decisions resulting into harm to the clients and good decisions resulting into satisfied clients. Personal code of ethics guides employees in their relation with the customers and requires all employees to do no harm to the clients but to maintain but protect a client’s safety at all times.
According to Aristotle, a moral virtue results from the mean of the two vices; efficiency and excess (Aristotle, .1999). Aristotle also maintains that, virtues stem from the influence of habits, which lead to a routine of repetitive activities commonly referred to as a good life (Aristotle, .1999). Aristotle further maintains that, virtuous deeds or traits are as a result of an individual maintaining equilibrium of the soul something Aristotle referred to as constituting ones character (Aristotle, .1999).
The virtue in a character is demonstrated by an action the individual is involved in, for instance, in a marketing organization; the management takes actions, which may determine whether the management believes in ethics, or abides by them. For instance,>>According to Aristotle, virtue is a mean in that, it involves taking some pleasurable as well as painful decisions. Aristotle adds, that, a person who is virtuous and therefore ethical not only thinks right but also acts right in face of challenges and conflicting interests present in the environment whether in private or public life. A virtuous person therefore takes a middle ground in challenging situations and not only acts right but upholds what is good to all. Therefore according to Aristotle’s ethical theory, habit, mean between vices as well as nobility are central factors in ethics.
Some scholars have criticized Aristotle, for over-praising habit although evidently, Aristotle also talks of other virtues necessary for an individual to excel such as well intended actions (Aristotle, .1999). In addition Aristotle is an advocate of the fact that, whatever virtues an individual acquires are influenced by the environment in that, they result as a reaction to prevailing conditions in the environment (Aristotle, .1999).
Against a background of accusations of negligence in the business profession, there is a need for managers to treat clients with the respect and dignity that is due to them. Harm caused by managers to clients may include; lack of proper communication therefore psychological harm, poor communication or misreporting, as well as carelessness and poor handling of equipment therefore causing harm to clients. Utilitarianism theory states that, the moral suitability of an action as being dependent on the extent to which an individual’s action contributes to the overall utility (Bowie, & Patricia, 2005).
It is an ethical obligation for an employee to guard all the secrets and confidential information belonging the client. Failure to do that contravenes the principle of privacy and confidentiality (Bowie, & Patricia, 2005). Any information an employee receives from a client must be used properly and for the intended purpose. This calls for high standards of confidentiality on the part of the client. It is considered very unethical for an employee to divulge contents of clients. Dishonesty, can affect a business in that, t may misleads customers or clients to make the wrong buying, decisions, for instance, unethical advertisements which negatively mislead the clients can be beneficial in the short term but one the customers discover that they were misled, this may spell doom for the business. Unfair business competition is the vice that, results from a business which lacks the spirit of enterprise. Unfair competition in the business can result into unhealthy competition which harms competitors something which is unethical and against Aristotle’s’ teaching on ethics.
Ethics and values help diffuse tensions and therefore are very important in conflict resolution. To achieve the highest standards in the work place, all professionals should adhere to the code of ethics. Employees should always serve clients with commitment and devotion always defending clients’ rights and their fundamental freedoms. The best way is to achieve ethical practices is by adapting to high morals, values and ethics and always act ethically.
Aristotle, .1999. Metaphysics, Joe Sachs (trans.), Green Lion Press.
Bowie, N., and Patricia, H. (2005). Management ethics. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing,