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Ethics and Workplace | 2024 Reveal

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Astrid Tran 10 May, 2024 9 min read

Are Ethics and Workplace Relevant? Many people think that ethics in the workplace is simply about following rules and regulations. However, it goes far beyond mere compliance.

True ethical behavior is rooted in a deep commitment to integrity, honesty, and a sense of responsibility toward all stakeholders. In the business world, fostering a culture of ethics not only contributes to a positive workplace environment but also has significant implications for long-term success.

What are common ethics and workplace examples? Want to know more about ethics and workplace issues that are happening in today’s business? Read through this article and learn from our experts.

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Ethics and Workplace: Why Relevant?

There is a strong relationship between ethics and workplace. Ethics in the workplace, also known as business ethics, indicates the moral principles and values that guide the behavior and decisions of individuals and organizations within the professional environment.

This relationship is crucial for creating a positive and sustainable workplace culture. The importance of ethics in the workplace is explained below:

Ethics and workplace
Ethics and workplace

Increase productivity

Sudarso explains, “Ethics in the workplace is extremely important because good ethics promote higher productivity and well-being in the employees.” This is totally true. When employees feel valued, respected, and treated fairly, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. This positive work culture, in turn, fosters higher levels of productivity. Employees are likely to be more committed to their tasks, collaborate effectively with colleagues, and take pride in their work, resulting in overall increased efficiency.

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Maintain a good reputation

Ethics is good for the company to nourish a positive brand image along with sustainable development even when there is a change in the market. In an era where information is readily available and shared, a positive reputation is a valuable asset.

  • Companies that operate ethically can attract and retain investors. Who wants to cooperate with someone who one day will betray you?
  • Consumers, clients, and partners are more likely to engage with, trust, and support a business that is known for ethical practices.
  • Ethical organizations are inherently more resilient in the face of change. This positive perception contributes to long-term success and competitive advantage in the market.

Improve employee satisfaction

It is undeniable that ethical business enhances the satisfaction level of employees. Business ethics can be subject to the values a company follows. The fact is employees want to join the company culture that fits their values. Ethical businesses often have better employee compensation and incentives, and healthier working environments, where employees are less likely to experience stress and burnout.

💡Employee Satisfaction Survey – Best Way to Create One in 2023

Guide Decision-making

When a business promotes ethics, its employees are more motivated to make decisions depending on ethics. Especially when it comes to conflicts of interest, disciplines, and potential dilemmas, an ethical framework guides employees to navigate these situations with integrity and fairness. In addition, empowered employees are more likely to act in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.

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8 Popular Ethics and Workplace Examples

What are common ethical issues in the workplace? Here are the 12 ethical and unethical examples in the workplace.

Ethics and workplace examples
Ethics and workplace examples – Image: Management

Loyalty

Loyalty in business can apply to employees, consumers, and business partners. For example, a manager discovers that an employee is sharing confidential company information with a competitor. Another example of business ethics in loyalty is when companies often hire internally for promotions and have a generous compensation system to reward the employees’ contributions.

 "70% of intellectual property theft occurs within 90 days before an employee’s resignation announcement."

Conflict of Interest

It takes place when individuals or entities face a situation where their interests or relationships could potentially compromise their ability to act objectively and make decisions in the best interest of the organization or stakeholders they are serving. For example, An employee, in a position of authority, awards a contract to a company owned by their family member or close friend for financial gains.

Accountability

When a team fails to achieve company goals or performs poorly, who is responsible for it? Blaming team members rather than admitting mistakes and taking action to reduce the negative outcomes, is an example of unethical leadership.

Harassment

This issue happens every hour in almost all companies, from small companies to giant corporations. A good workplace should be free from harassment of all kinds. In particular, many people think gossiping about others is a minor issue, but it is a form of bullying and harassment, which strongly affects teamwork and company culture.

Ethics and workplace examples in the workplace – Image: Shutterstock

Transparency

How transparent is your company? Transparency is more than a buzzword; it’s a vital aspect of organizational integrity and trust. For example, companies frequently hold town hall meetings where leadership shares insights into the company’s strategic direction, financial performance, and upcoming initiatives.

Discipline

A strong work ethic is founded upon strict discipline. Employees who display discipline aren’t easily influenced by their desires. Instead, they persist in doing what they ought to do until they have accomplished it. Furthermore, workers who exhibit a high degree of discipline demonstrate their commitment and dedication to their work.

Data Protection

Data protection is one of the most important ethics and workplace examples in business. With the increasing use of technology and data in business nowadays, many organizations are at risk information of customers is stolen or leaked, such as client data, for use by competitors. The unethical practice of selling customers’ personal information has become a significant concern in today’s business landscape.

Equifax compensated up to $425 million to help people affected by the data breach

Honesty

Honesty is unarguably the most critical workplace ethic. How to keep honesty when there is no one looking at you, or no employers supervise you? Especially when it comes to remote work, the question of ethical conduct becomes more pronounced.

"Research from a top bank indicates that remote employees had a 7.3% chance of misconduct."

Building Workplace Ethics

How to build a workplace with ethics and trust? Follow this golden rule of ethics: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Jesus of Nazareth

Some tips to strengthen ethical behaviors in the workplace include:

  • Set Personal Standards: Establish clear personal standards for honesty and ethical behavior. Define what it means to be honest in various situations and adhere to these standards consistently, regardless of external oversight.
  • Seek Feedback: Solicit feedback from colleagues or employers about your behavior. Constructive feedback, such as 360-degree feedback can provide valuable insights into areas where the company can further enhance employees’ commitment to honesty and ethical conduct.
  • Invest in Professional Development: It is crucial to keep employees updated on ethical standards in the industry through continuous professional development. Companies should promote training sessions and workshops that enhance employees’ understanding of ethical considerations in both normal and remote work.
  • Establish a Culture of Ethics: Developing an ethical corporate culture involves more than just implementing policies and procedures. It requires consistently demonstrating good values, treating others with respect, and guiding actions with principles of confidentiality, honesty, and transparency. Organizational leaders are crucial in this process, as they must model the desired behaviors.

Key Takeaways

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are ethics in the workplace?

Workplace ethics refers to the moral principles, values, and standards that both individuals and organizations follow in the landscape of business. Its core focuses on guiding people to differentiate what is wrong and right when making decisions.

What are the four types of work ethics?

Four main types of workplace ethics include:

  • Legal business ethics
  • Corporate ethical responsibility
  • Personal ethical responsibility
  • Official ethical responsibility

What are the 5 basic ethical principles?

The five principles of workplace ethics are autonomy, justice, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and fidelity, which have their roots in healthcare. These principles are commonly attributed to ethicists Tom Beauchamp and James Childress, who introduced them in their influential work titled “Principles of Biomedical Ethics,” first published in 1979.