Business Ethics

Business Ethics

Ethics is a word that is tossed round by many.  Do you really understand what ethical behaviour is?  Do you understand what is an ethical dilemma?  

The business ethics dilemma is the situation in which you find yourself caught between two paths:  two courses of action. 

One course of action seems perfectly logical, and certainly justifiable.  Many of your friends have done the same thing – and what they’ve been doing is not wrong.  Oh my!  If it were wrong, they would not be your friends.  And you would never even consider doing anything “wrong.”  That is just not you.

However, some of these options presented to you may be perfectly legal and perfectly legitimate – and justifiable in all ways.  However, perhaps you just don’t “feel” right about the situation.  You have to ask yourself why is it that you have a bit of a “twinge” of conscience. 

Is that what it is?  Conscience?  That little voice telling you that you need to pause and step back?

You are probably in the middle of an ethical dilemma.

So, why is that?  Why the ethical dilemma?  The action you wish to take is justifiable.  But what? 

If you carry through with that action, it appears that there will be some negative consequence – and not to you! 

Obviously not to you.  If that were the case, then you would never consider the action – because all you want is a positive outcome.

The business ethics dilemma is about making the right choice – making the right choice that is FAIR to all concerned. 

It may be right to you – and it may be a perfectly legal action – but is it fair to everyone?  If not, then you are facing the ethical dilemma and your goal should be to “do the right thing” so that everyone is going to feel good about what you do.

Ask yourself, when you make a statement, Is it the truth?  Is it the whole truth?  If what you do is ethical, then chances are, the statement must be the truth.  

Are you leaving something out that could be important to someone else’s action?  By telling the whole truth, would there be different consequences? 

If you base your actions on a faulty premise, the outcome could well come back to catch you later.    (We are talking business decisions here – not personal ones about when your spouse asks about how she looks…)

Not all unethical decisions may come back directly to haunt you – but they should – and every one of them should to a certain degree.

Some come back to business ethics.

Your goal - Business Ethics

Ask yourself, Is it Fair to all concerned?  If what you do is ethical, chances are it will be fair to all concerned – to the best of your ability.
Ask yourself, Will it build goodwill and better friendships?  If what you do is ethical, chances are it will be something that will build your esteem in the eyes of your associates – and that can lead only to positives - goodwill and certainly better friendships.

Ask yourself, Will it be beneficial to all concerned?  If what you do is ethical, chances are it will be something that will be beneficial to everyone – and if you can see that it won’t be, then you should be considering a change in your thinking.

Acting ethically in business and elsewhere is something we should all strive for.  We should be able to know that we have done the right thing.

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