Ethics In The Workplace

analytical Essay
1794 words
1794 words

Ethics in The Workplace

We as a society are faced with ethical dilemmas virtually every day. How we handle these situations shapes our culture. But what are ethics? According to the Miniature Guide to Ethical Reasoning, ethical reasoning entails doing what is right even in the face of powerful selfish desires. To live an ethical life is to develop control of our own egocentric tendencies. It is not enough to be able to do the right thing when we ourselves have nothing to lose. We must be willing to fulfill our ethical obligations at the expense of our self-centered desires and vested interests. (Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder, 2003) In short, ethics is doing what is right even when no one is looking. A society with a strong code of ethics tends to run smoothly. A society with no code of ethics devolves into anarchy. Although arguments have been made to the contrary, ethics are just as vital in the workplace. Ethics are essential in the workplace because a tough ethical code provides a non-threatening environment with high employee morale, a company that exhibits clear-cut ethics tends to show higher profits, and simply because it is the right thing to do.

The Ethics Resource Center, a non-profit, non-partisan organization devoted to business ethics, released the results of its 2005 National Business Ethics Survey, polling more than 3000 workers across America. The results were disheartening.

• 21% observed abusive or intimidating behavior toward employees

• 19% observed lying to customers, employees, vendors or the public

• 18% observed situations that placed employee interests over company interests

• 16% observed violations of safety regulations and misreporting of time worked (Verschoor, 2000, pp. 19-20)

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Dr. Richard Paul & Dr. Linda Elder. (2003). The Miniature Guide to Understanding the Foundations of Ethical Reasoning. The Foundation for Critical Thinking.

Guest, E. (n.d.). SoFinesJoyfulMoments. Retrieved May 8, 2006, from Mary (Garren) Morand Web site:

Schumann, P.L. (Spring/Summer 2001). A moral principles framework for human resource management ethics. Human Resource Management Review, 11 (1/2), 93. Retrieved May 6, 2006, from

Verschoor, C. (2000, December). Ethical Culture: Most Important Barrier to Ethical Misconduct. Strategic Finance, 87, 19-20. Retrieved May 6, 2006, from

Zamansky, J. (02/01/2006). At the least, former Enron chiefs are guilty of moral bankruptcy. USAToday, 0734-7456, p. 11a. Retrieved from

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that ethical reasoning entails doing what is right even in the face of powerful selfish desires. a society with a strong code of ethics tends to run smoothly.
  • Explains that the ethics resource center released the results of its 2005 national business ethics survey, polling more than 3000 workers across america.
  • Analyzes how low ethical standards are seen in environments that are hostile to the average employee, which lowers morale.
  • Explains that a workplace that encourages effective ethical administration breeds strong morale.
  • Explains that companies can have ethical practices and still show a profit, according to business ethics magazine. by focusing on the effects of business decisions, benefits can be seen for the company, employee, stockholder, and consumer.
  • Explains that starbucks empowers farmers in east timor and provides relief efforts after disasters. southwest airlines is honored for its ethical conduct.
  • Analyzes how an unethical company can expect none of these benefits and may see its own destruction. former enron chairman kenneth lay insisted that his once great and honest company adhered to prevailing business practices.
  • Argues that high ethical standards in the workplace are the right thing to do. a survey by the society for human resource management found that 54% of human resource professionals surveyed had witnessed workplace conduct which violated law or common practices.
  • Explains that 47% of respondents felt pressured to compromise ethical standards to achieve business objectives. moral relativism is the belief that because different people have different moral principles, there is no way to pass judgment on these principles.
  • Analyzes how rhonda gibbs' daughter's high school basketball coach, also a teacher, was having an impropriety relationship with minors. the school was only forced to deal with the issue when outside parties informed the police.
  • Illustrates how some surplus land adjacent to a shopping center was donated by the developers who owned the mall to be used for community soccer fields. after years of spring floods swamping the fields, the city abandoned them.
  • Opines that ethics are important in the workplace because they provide higher profits, higher morale, and ethical behavior is the proper course of action.
  • Opines that they'd rather watch a winner, than hear one any day. the eye's better pupil, and more willing than the ear.
  • Explains the importance of corporate social responsibility in the workplace.
  • Explains guest, e., and verschoor, c. (2001). a moral principles framework for human resource management ethics.
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