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Workplace Ethics Essay

workplace ethics essay

Example #1

The ethical issue I am addressing is one that has and always will be faced by home contractors. Is building a home with lower quality materials than quoted ethical? When a contractor asks himself this question he must before anything take into account his own Philosophy of Ethics. The Philosophy of Ethics that I have adopted after much thought and research is Virtue Ethics. Virtue, as defined in Webster s Dictionary: Morality, goodness, or uprightness; a special type of goodness. The inception of Virtue Ethics was brought about by Aristotle; a Greek philosopher (384-322 BC) and scientist who along with Plato and Socrates are considered to be the most famous of the ancient philosophers.

Aristotle was born at Stagira, in Macedonia, the son of a physician to the royal court. At the age of 17, he went to Athens to study at Plato’s Academy. He remained there for about 20 years, as a student than the instructor. (ENCARTA-98) Aristotle argued that every action has a purpose and that the good of the purpose is the aim of every action. He went on and gave two classifications of good: good as a means; and good as an end. He believed that happiness is the ultimate good or ultimate purpose for what other purposes are sought for. Aristotle defined virtue as one’s capacity to do something well that perfects one’s nature. Virtue is like a habit, or as a mean between excess and defect. Thus creating The Golden Mean, moderation in all things.

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Finally, Aristotle believed that ethical principles are acquired through habitation, careful training, and a good upbringing. (INTERNET-1) Aristotle s belief was that to live a good life you must achieve Eudaimonia or happiness. According to Aristotle, achieving Eudaimonia is only possible by doing your proper function, or purpose in life. Aristotle also remarks that happiness is not any kind of momentary state, but can be ascribed only to the entire life of a person; and this means that happiness depends on a pattern of conduct, sustained over time by stable traits of a person s character. (NEWTON-134) The structure and foundation for Virtue Ethics are its four virtues: wisdom, temperance(self-control), courage, and justice. Doing the right thing is the essence of Virtue Ethics. Hence the motto No Rules, Just Right. You see, a Virtue Ethicist has no regard for the law.

He lives by a simple two-sided choice of good and bad, and also right and wrong. But the meanings and guidelines for right and wrong are not predefined. One must discern between them on the basis of a strong moral character which takes years to achieve. Aristotle’s ethics emphasizes the importance of reason and virtue for good moral character. It brought the world of reason and moral judgment to a level where other societies had never conceived. I have chosen Virtue Ethics as my personal philosophy because it enables me to make good moral and ethical decisions that are not based solely on rules, or guidelines. Virtue Ethics is much deeper than just that. Before coming even close to a conclusion on an ethical dilemma; I do not just consider the satisfaction or dissatisfaction that I will incur. But the repercussions that decision will have on the overall well-being and eudaimonia of my household and community. I have also chosen this philosophy because it is a judicial process that will be tuned and refined throughout the course of my life.

It will aid me in doing the right thing as a result of focusing on certain character values that I will attain throughout my life. These values will enable me to be the best person and businessman that I can be. By following The Golden Mean, a major aspect of Virtue Ethics, I will never become a greedy, self-centered person. This means will sustain me in a comfortable way of living. By allowing a happy medium in between excessive conduct on one hand, and deficient conduct on the other. Along with this extensive moral reasoning approach, I have accepted its Four Cardinal Virtues: wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice. Remembering that justice has nothing to do with the law, but with what is right and just, in order to achieve Eudaimonia. By being a temperate individual, I will sustain my self-control in questionable situations. Courage and being a strong human being will assist me in standing behind the philosophy in which I have adopted.


Example #2

Business ethics is the social responsibility that a business is supposed to have towards the community in general, particularly the one in which it operates or has any interests. It has been said that having ethics is doing the right or moral thing when no one is looking. Ethics is a personal choice and therefore, how workplace ethics are governed depends upon the personal ethics of those who are in authority over that workplace and also those who work in that environment. Workplace ethics are codes of conduct that influence the development of an ethical culture within the workplace. Going beyond what is considered legal in the area where the business operates, workplace ethics inspire communication between employees, allow for respect to be extended to each person within the organization, and promote customer relationships that are based on honesty and integrity.

While there are core elements that tend to define a work-based code of ethics, the specific expressions of these central values vary from one corporate setting to the next. It is important to remember that workplace ethics are shaped by two important factors. First, workplace policy must be in harmony with all laws and regulations that are currently in force in the jurisdiction where the business operates. This helps to ensure that basic workplace ethics preclude any pressure or coercion to engage in actions that are considered to be illegal, promote discrimination in the workplace, support unfair hiring and firing practices, or allow wages to be set that are below the minimum legal standards for the area.

Need for business ethics: Decisions taken within an organization may be made by individuals or groups, but whoever makes them will be influenced by the culture of the company. The decision to behave ethically is a moral one; employees must decide what they think is the right course of action. This may involve rejecting the route that would lead to the biggest short-term profit. Ethical behavior and corporate social responsibility can bring significant benefits to a business.

For example, they may: attract customers to the firm’s products, thereby boosting sales and profits make employees want to stay with the business, reduce labor turnover and therefore increase productivity attract more employees wanting to work for the business, reduce recruitment costs and enable the company to get the most talented employees to attract investors and keep the company’s share price high, thereby protecting the business from takeover. Unethical behavior or a lack of corporate social responsibility, by comparison, may damage a firm’s reputation and make it less appealing to stakeholders. Profits could fall as a result.

Workplace Ethics for Employees: Commitment Towards Work: This is the most important of all ethics in the workplace, because work is our god, while at the office. Since being hired to work, one should invariably keep one’s side of the bargain it set a very bad example of professionalism in the workplace. Such behavior rarely goes unnoticed by the management. Hence, sooner or later one will have to bear the consequences of lack of commitment towards work

Loyalty Towards Organization:- While on the payroll of an organization, one should bestow all our loyalties towards our organization. A loyal employee rarely needs to be reminded regarding his duties and responsibilities. One should always consider the interest of their organization before personal interest. Dishonest behavior, which can malign the image of the organization or prove to be unprofitable to the organization in any way is highly unethical and unprofessional.

Compassion Towards Coworkers: As a professional, it is understandable that comparing one’s successes and failures with colleagues. A fair amount of competitiveness among employees is acceptable. However, do not let personal ambitions rise above the interest of the organization. One can never truly succeed in life if one steals another’s credit or follow unethical practices to accomplish the task. It is important to have compassion for your coworkers and respect their work. Employees should learn how to work together as a team. This will result in better output for the organization.

Workplace Ethics for Employers: Transparency While Hiring: Oftentimes, it is seen that management hires unproductive and incompetent people due to the personal interest of one or the other top management personnel. A worthy potential employee may be left out due to such a hiring policy. Since employees are an asset to any organization, unfair hiring practices inflict lasting damage to the organization in the long run.

Equality Towards All Employees: The organization should not discriminate against employees based on any ground. All employees should be treated as equal irrespective of their age, gender, religion, color, nationality, etc. The management should not have its favorite ‘handpicked’ employees in the organization. Similarly, they should also not hold grudges against some employees due to personal conflicts. Employee’s performance and productivity should be considered as the only parameters for an appraisal or promotion.

Human Behavior Towards Employees: Oftentimes, the top executives of an organization adopt inhuman practices to promote productivity or multiply the profits of the organization. Unreasonably long working hours, undue workload, etc. all adversely affect the morale of the employees. Though this may result in short term profit for the organization, it hampers the growth of the organization in the long run. Due to such practices, the organization may even lose some of its valuable employees.

Every organization should promote good workplace ethics, as they often result in the betterment of the organization as well as employees. Employers should set an example of ethical behavior for the employees to follow. The workplace is about prioritizing moral values for the workplace and ensuring behaviors are aligned with those values – it’s values management. Yet, myths abound about business ethics. Some of these myths arise from general confusion about the notion of ethics. Other myths arise from narrow or simplistic views of ethical dilemmas.


Example #3

I can describe ethics in the workplace as the right way to act on the job, whether you are the manager or the employee. You can use ethics positively the right way or negatively and possibly get yourself and or others fired. I worked at Target for two and a half years and I only have experienced one negative ethical situation. I was hired at Target to be an overnight stocker during Target’s remodeling. There was a team of five guys and three girls. One night our supervisor called in and said that she was not going to be able to come until the morning. To everyone except for me, since I was new, this was normal. Our supervisor left a list of instructions for us to follow that night and told us that if anyone had any problems.

All of the guys plopped down on the couch and turned the TV onto some basketball game. The girls on the other hand I thought went out to the floor to work, nope they went out to chitchat with each other and look at the merchandise. Keeping in mind this is my first week on the job I didn’t want to get fired, but I did not know what the first thing I was supposed to do in order to start working. I walked around the store for about an hour straightening up the merchandise on the shelves. Then I got a little overwhelmed and frustrated. I went to the bathroom and cried for about another hour. I was wondering why this had to happen to me now, or maybe I was being too uptight and I should go join the rest of my team.

Eventually, my team got on track and began working. I felt relieved. We had lost so much time lollygagging that we had the split up and rush the whole night to get things done. In the morning, when our supervisor got there, she was pleased with our work as usual, and she never found out about that night. I believe that I could have done a lot of things to prevent my team members from goofing around when my boss was gone. I could have talked to my team members and asked them to continue to work like normal even when the boss is gone because they’ll never know who could be watching. I should have told my supervisor what happen and explained how felt lost. I could have even got the list of instructions and did everything my self.


Example #4

Workplace ethics refers to moral principles and values governing proper behavioral conduct in the place of work (Barry & Shaw, 2013). Work ethics guide the managers as well as employees to do the right thing even if doing the wrong thing can equally be rewarding and satisfying. Therefore, workplace ethical issues involve a plethora of ethical dilemmas and ethical abuses that come into play in any job. An ethical issue is defined as an illegal, unethical, or irresponsible act made against the employer, and it jeopardizes the employer’s business. Ethical issues arise when workers including the managers and the subordinates are given the responsibility of making decisions about alternative courses of action. This paper discusses a few ethical issues that arise in the workplace.

Harassment of co-workers or clients is one of the major workplace ethical issues that involve violation of the employers’ workplace ethics policy. Harassment in any workplace may involve unsolicited sexual advances, interferences with work performance through intimidation, or non-compliance with the conditions of work. Sometimes illegal harassment can be based on sex, religion, age, disability, race, or color. Johnson (2007) provides that harassment does not only involve violation of business ethics but also involves a breach of the federal laws. Sexual harassment is the common ethical issue many workers experience at their workplaces and it is propagated by both the management and regular employees.

Basically, sexual harassment of any nature makes the workplace hostile and causes distress among sexually abused employees. According to Bredeson and Goree (2011), the most common ethical issue within sexual harassment is a dual relationship that involves sexual relationships between employees who share professional responsibilities. Furthermore, sexual harassment occurs when employees engage in unethical intimate relationships, which in turn affects their professional decision-making process. Consensual relationships at the workplace between a senior employee and a junior employee can become dangerous.

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This may happen because a senior employee has more authority to affect the working ability of the junior employee if their intimate relationship breaks. However, if this happens, the subordinates should report the act to the relevant authorities because it is improper for any person to use his/her authority to demand favors or create a hostile work environment (Barry & Shaw, 2013). Therefore, it is advisable to avoid consensual relationships with co-workers to combat ethical dilemmas and workplace distress.

Substance abuse is another ethical issue that crops up at many workplaces. It may involve dependence on stimulating substances such as alcohol and other addictive intoxicating drugs. Addiction to any substance becomes a workplace ethical issue when either a manager or a regular employee’s work performance and productivity are impaired until they use the substance (Johnson, 2007).

Alcohol is the most abused substance, and when the employees carry alcohol to workplaces or use it in the workplace, it raises serious ethical questions. Generally, substance abuse can be a serious ethical issue if not handled with care since it can create a hostile work environment, and consequently jeopardize the productivity and performance of the entire workforce. In addition, confidentiality is a workplace ethical principle that becomes a familiar ethical issue when it is violated (Johnson, 2007). For instance, the disclosure of an employee’s personal information or the employer’s business strategy to rival organizations is a major violation of workplace ethics.

Actually, protecting the employees from privacy invasion creates trust and perhaps increases their productivity. However, when confidentiality is violated, serious ethical implications may occur, which affect the business negatively. Work ethics require that the clients’ private information or the co-worker’s personal information be accessed by authorized individuals only. Conflict of interest is another common workplace ethical issue. It refers to a situation whereby an individual’s interests affect or influence his/her workplace judgment, actions, or decisions. Conflicts of interest are virtually unethical and illegal because they negatively affect workplace performance, decision-making process, and relationships with other participants (Bredeson & Goree, 2011).

Conflict of interest is a serious ethical issue, which should be avoided or resolved immediately it appears because it may result in professional misconduct in the workplace. Despite workplace ethical issues being endless, organizations can devise moral or ethical policies to protect their employees from ethical violations. For instance, an organization can develop a workplace policy based on mission, vision, and code of conduct, and ensure that each employee understands the code of ethics. In addition, the organization can provide workplace ethics training for employees, create a legal office to deal with employees’ ethical issues, and research all federal and employment laws relating to whistle-blowing to avoid making decisions that lead to negative ethical implications (Bredeson & Goree, 2011).

In summary, ethical issues exist in almost every workplace because workers often face situations, which involve ethical dilemmas. Moreover, when ethical issues are not resolved in time, they result in a hostile work environment making it harder for the employees to give their maximum potential. Thus, it is imperative for employers to respond appropriately to every ethical issue that arises in the workplace to make the workplace safe and friendly.


Example #5

Work ethics are a major focus of today’s employers. It’s not uncommon for an employee to lose one’s job over poor work ethics. If an employee lacks good work ethic skills, he may find himself seeking new employment. Although employees may be looked at as expendable, most employers prefer a low turnover rate. Therefore, in their search for the perfect candidate, not only do they compare employee’s technical skills, but their potential to exhibit good work ethics as well. Attendance, character, and attitude are just a few of the traits that will be looked at by employers.

Attendance is a very important work ethic trait to maintain. Going to work every day and being on time has several benefits in the eyes of an employer. First, it shows that you care about your job and you have enough respect for your employer to show up on time. When an employee creates an outstanding punctuality and attendance record, it builds confidence in the employer that the employee is dependable. When an employer has that confidence of dependability it may be a deciding factor in maintaining that employment.

As with attendance, having good character may be the difference between keeping a job and looking for a new job. Initiative and honesty are important values to possess. Having initiative is doing tasks that need to be completed without being told. Starting new tasks without being told shows initiative as well. If an employee is honest, the employer is able to trust the employee. Integrity and loyalty are also important traits of character. Integrity is always doing the right thing all of the time regardless of who is around. An employer can depend on a loyal employee. This kind of dependability is important in an employer’s eyes. A positive attitude is another work ethic employers are focusing on. Having a positive attitude displays the desire to succeed.


Example #6

Bee and Buckley (2001) state that over the past few decades, corporate codes of ethics have proliferated. These codes have proved useful In Informing employees about the legal requirements of the firm, addressing specific concerns, and serving as guidelines for accepted practice within the organization. However, unethical acts continue to occur, as Is evidenced by the recent recall of Firestone tires and the 103 deaths that forced It. (p. 73) It does not matter if corporate executives are told millions of times of codes of ethical conduct as some still will conduct illegal activities.

These individuals are looking to make themselves rich while other ethical individuals are looking out for the good of the organization and its stockholders. This paper will discuss the purpose statement, problem statement, topic background, necessity of study, the importance of the topic to the field of education as well as the potential significance of the study to scholarly literature with regard to my research study entitled Employees’ Perspectives of Ethics in the Workplace.

Purpose Statement The purpose of this study Is to determine whether employees demonstrate ethical behavior In the workplace Problem Statement Research is needed to explore the experiences of employees with regard to ethics or the lack thereof in the workplace today. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of employees in the workplace and to examine the differences and similarities of their experiences with regard to ethics in the workplace. The methodology and design of this study were derived by using the structure to establish “goodness” advocated by Armenia and Haltered (2002).

Topic Background Pain’s (1994) statement that the ethical composition of the individual defines the ethical composition of the organization Is described In his article entitled “Managing for Organizational Integrity. ” Therefore, who you are will influence the values of the organization due to the following reasons. First, Individuals’ personal values become part of the organization. Second, the supervisors’ influence on the employees’ actions. Third, senior management influence over lower management and employees. Fourth, an internal drive of the individual to succeed.

Fifth, performance pressures within the organization. Sixth, the lack of punishment within the organization. Seventh, friends and/or coworkers influence other employees. Furthermore, the organization’s culture influences the values of the organization as the culture of an organization defines the ethical behavior of this particular organization by defining what is right and wrong. In order to reconcile Inconsistencies between your own values and the values of the organization, an individual must choose whether to advance his/her own interests, the organizations, or the Interests of others.

For example, bribes or personal payments, gifts, or special favors Intended to Influence decision making. Individuals should report other employees for such acts as lying to supervisors, entertainment receipt in violation of company policy. These acts are violations against the organization’s Code of Ethics which is a formal statement of what an organization expects in the way of ethical behavior (what behaviors are acceptable or unacceptable) and reflects senior management’s organizational values, rules, and policies.

However, many individuals do not report fellow co-workers for fear of not being considered a team player, do not think corrective action would be taken, fear retribution (from management) as well not trusting the organization to keep the report confidential. Based on the literature, Beams, et al. (2003) experiment found that “guilt had the greatest effect on intent to trade based on insider information. Expected gain, cynicism, and perceptions of the fairness of laws were also significantly associated with the intent to trade based on insider information” (p. 320).

The study also found that individuals do not necessarily engage in insider trading to gain money but to avoid a possible loss. Furthermore, the study found that insider trading was not necessarily acceptable by society as well as likely to be caught and punished for the crime. Bee and Buckley (2001) state that over the past few decades, corporate codes of ethics have proliferated. These codes have proved useful in informing employees about the legal requirements of the firm, addressing specific concerns, and serving as guidelines for accepted practice within the organization.

However, unethical acts continue to occur, as is evidenced by the recent recall of Firestone tires and the 103 deaths that forced it. (p. 73) It does not matter if corporate executives are told millions of times of codes of ethical conduct as some still will conduct illegal activities. These individuals are looking to make themselves rich while other ethical individuals are looking out for the good of the organization and its stockholders. Dungaree and Jeep are studied six individuals who engaged in criminal and unethical activities in the corporate business world.

Dungaree and Speedup’s findings as related to these six individuals definitely support Beams, et. Al. Experiment as these individuals knew that their activities were illegal as well as unethical. Furthermore, these activities were definitely not viewed as favorably by society. Dungaree and Jeep’s (2001) state that “all six certainly knew that they were reeking the law and most went to extraordinary lengths to cover up what they were doing” (p. 51). These individuals were also in high-level positions, which caused individuals who knew about the criminal activities to look the other way. These individuals engaged in these activities because they were greedy and definitely not working toward organizational goals.

Fell (2001) states that evidence shows that firms with ethics programs have a lower percentage of inside directors on their compensation committees than do firms without ethics programs. Firms in which boards are actively involved in the programs have more independent roads (higher percentage of independent directors and a lower percentage of inside directors and are more likely to compensate outside directors with equity than are firms in which boards are not actively involved in the programs. Taken together, the evidence indicates that a board actively involved in an ethics program, and not the simple existence of an ethics program is related to the incidence of potential conflicts employees must adhere to.

Maybe these ethical standards will make individuals think before they conduct illegal and unethical activities that harm stockholders and the organization. McCall (2002) states that there should be an “alternative model for adjudicating between stakeholders’ conflicting claims of rights and it applies that method to determine what responsibilities corporate management might have to employees and how management might be held accountable for discharging those responsibilities” (p. 133). Management certainly has responsibilities to the organization, the stockholders, and the employees.

They are supposed to conduct business in the best interest of all. Whetstone (2003) states that (1) virtue ethics and virtue language is fluently used by practicing managers, (2) virtue engagement is important to understanding managerial excellence, and (3) whereas the set of virtues defining the excellent manager can be expected to be dependent on the societal, industry, and organizational context, such a set of manager virtues can be identified and prioritize within a particular organizational milieu. The implication is that, once an organization’s management better understands the meaning of the excellent manager in terms of the virtue language already used by its own employees, it is better equipped to implement a practical ethic of virtues, one helpful toward recognizing and developing excellent managers.

Ethics researchers are challenged to increase their understanding of extant virtue language as the basis for a renewed development of virtue ethics theory and applications (p. 343). All organizations should train and retain managers as well as requiring all employees to attend ethical seminars and conferences on a yearly basis. This will ensure that these individuals understand the code of ethics and their responsibilities to adhere to this code of ethics. Study of Topic Importance to the Field of Education The topic of ethics is important to the field of education as well as all other fields as well as the business world. Béchamel and Bowie (2004) identify three primary arguments on the practice of preferential treatment: (a) It is Just, (b) it is unjust, and (c) it is not Justified but it is still permissible.

The argument that is the most consistent with typical American business practices is (c) it is not Justified but it is still permissible. In other words, executives and employees in the business world today take the position that unethical behavior on their part is just the way business is conducted today. Béchamel (2004) “argues that even some forms of reverse discrimination can be justified as a means to the end of a non-discriminatory society” (p. 27). This type of behavior is illegal and known by the executives and employees to be wrong but individuals tend to lend a blind eye when this type of behavior is noticed in the corporate world. For example, At the heart of the Enron scandal is a failure of corporate governance.

Senior executives who permitted or encouraged misleading accounting treatment. An audit committee that signed off on misleading accounts. Individuals enriched by transactions with the company that employed them. A board that was ineffective in supervising senior managers’ actions. Weightlessness’ complaints that were ignored r whitewashed. The Board of Directors which led to its failure and bankruptcy. I believe that these individuals were only out to make themselves rich and did not care in the least about the stockholders.

If the weightlessness were not disregarded, maybe Enron could have been saved before it turned into one of the largest corporate scandals in the history of the United States. The major theory that underlies workplace ethics is the stakeholder theory. According to this theory, management has an obligation to the stakeholders to make a profit for the stakeholders as well as conducting business ethically. Furthermore, management must answer to the stakeholders for any wrongdoing and unethical behavior. For example, Enron executives had to answer to the stockholders as they lost their investments when the company declared bankruptcy.

It is difficult for corporations to be ethical because some managers and executives are looking to profit themselves instead of what is in the best interest of the stakeholders. The trends with regard to ethical issues in the workplace are those of employees and management who are acting unethically. For example, stealing supplies, reaching the internet during work hours, leaving early and arriving late as well as management profiting for their own best interest. As time progresses, this type of behavior will grow worse as individuals in the workplace will have fewer morals than they do today.

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Potential Significance of Study to Scholarly Literature Developing theory from the data without preconceived ideas is an appropriate technique for this study on ethics in the workplace. Since studies examining the affect of ethical experiences are not documented in current literature, the data collected will be used to generate an original theory. The data obtained in this study Anton verify the preexisting theory because this is not a relevant preexisting theory on this topic to be verified. This fact further substantiates a grounded theory methodology is an appropriate methodology for this study.

The necessity of Study I believe that this is an important subject as ethics is lacking in individuals, groups, workplaces, and the world today. I believe that most leaders, managers, and employees act unethically in the workplace. Béchamel and Bowie (2004) identify three primary arguments on the practice of preferential treatment: (a) It is Just, (b) it is unjust, and (c) it is not Justified but it is still permissible. The argument that is the most consistent with typical American business practices is (c) it is not Justified but it is still permissible.

In other words, executives and employees in the business world today take the position that unethical behavior on their part is just the way business is conducted today. Béchamel (2004) “argues that even some forms of reverse discrimination can be justified as a means to the end of a nondiscriminatory society” (p. 327). This type of behavior is illegal and known by the executives and employees to be wrong but individuals tend to lend a blind eye when this type of behavior is noticed in the corporate world.

I am currently employed at The Travelers Companies as a Senior Paralegal in its Special Liability Group where I handle large commercial claims. I make my own decisions on the files that I handle including setting the reserves on a claim and supervising outside counsel for fifteen years. Travelers is a large company with offices all over the world so there is high growth potential as well as advancement opportunities within the Company. My department at work consists of seven claim attorneys, two secretaries, and myself (the senior paralegal).

My secretary, in particular, comes to work late every day, calls in sick frequently, surfs the internet all day long, gets her hair done during work hours every four weeks, attends a weekly doctor’s appointment during work hours, and socializes with coworkers for long amounts of time. Furthermore, we enter our own time into our human resources database, and I know for a fact that this secretary does not account for all the time she takes off, etc. In other words, she is getting more days off then she is allowed as I kept track of when she took off last year.

All of these actions are a violation of my company’s honesty and ethics policies. Han Cheesy Koch, El Tree H Y Boo (2004) states that organizational ethics is positively associated with not only financial performance but also employee attitudes. While it is obvious that organizational ethics are intended to guide and influence employee behavior (e. G., in dealing with an ethical dilemma and avoiding unethical situations), it is not obvious what relationship exists between organizational ethics and employee attitudes. (p. 77) Furthermore, I know that my secretary could care less about her job or the company as she has told me so on several occasions. She does not really want to work but has to because her husband does not make much money. She would much rather sit at home and watch television.

In fact, that is all she does when she is not at work. I would say that she does not have a high level of job satisfaction and is not motivated toward company goals. I Just do not understand her lack of motivation as my company is a great place to work and we get very competitive raises each year. I believe that the situation that I have described is both an ethical decision and a moral decision. First, my secretary is not behaving to the standard which I was taught to act and behave. I have a conscience and was raised to be an honest person. My father always said that taking even a pen from work was stealing. Second, my secretary’s actions are morally incorrect as they go against every value that I was ever taught.

When we go to work, we should be productive and work toward the goals of the organization. We should adhere to the standards of the organization as well as our own standards. My secretary is clearly not adhering to any standards whatsoever. She is taking up space and collecting a paycheck she does not deserve. Furthermore, my secretary’s actions since I have been with this department (for the past five years) are causing me a high level of dissonance because I believe that a person’s work ethic should be of the highest degree. I wish every day that I was her supervisor so I could terminate her employment. I Just cannot believe that our supervisor does not see what she does every day and those human resources do not scrutinize the time entries more closely.

I have thought about saying something to my supervisor but what this secretary does or does not do at work is none of my business. Furthermore, my secretary’s actions make me want to come in late, surf the internet instead of working, take long lunches every day and cheat on my time also. If she can do it, so can l. However, I cannot be unethical as I was raised to be honest. Also, I have high regard for my organization’s success. However, my hotlist which you can call reporting any violations of its ethics and honest policies. It is an 800 number and you need not give your name.

I reported my secretary using this hotlist. This report is forwarded to her direct supervisor as well as human resources and an investigation is conducted. I just could not let this activity continue as it does against every belief and value that I have. I do not feel that this type of behavior in the workplace or anywhere else for that matter should be allowed to occur. I was raised to be an honest person who worked to achieve what I desire as well as the goals of the organization. Frankly, I hope she is terminated even though she has been with my organization for twenty-five years.

I do not think she adds any productive resources to my organization and is Just taking up. Conclusion In conclusion, this paper discussed the purpose statement, problem statement, topic background, necessity of study, the importance of the topic to the field of education as well as the potential significance of the study to scholarly literature with regard to my research study entitled Employees’ Perspectives of Ethics in the Workplace. I believe this topic is important because if individuals and the world around us continue in their current state, there will not be ethics whatsoever when my children grow up.


Example #7

This paper discusses how observing ethical behavior in the workplace develops or improves business operations. It delves into the workplace culture and introduces the positive and negative ethical practices that affect its processes. It also points out the research gathered about the codes of conduct and behavioral standards that contribute and further advance the company’s undertaking. Ethical behavior goes beyond the legal requirements placed on a business; it is also concerned with discretionary decision-making and conduct.

Ethical behavior is an important function in integrating business and society, by promoting the legitimacy of business operations, through critical reflection of employee behavior. In this paper, varied researches can be found with the goal of deepening the reader’s understanding of ethical behavior and its role in promoting and improving operations in businesses.

I.Ethical Behavior

A.Introduction. One of the tough and complex problems that business organizations are facing is managing ethical behavior. Ethical behavior in the workplace is a standard of conduct expected of or adopted by a business. It involves characterizing moral principles including honesty, fairness, interpersonal equality, dignity, diversity, and individual rights.

B.Importance. Ethical behavior helps maintain quality and productivity in the business. What is ethical is legal and with it, it assists the organization to comply with laws and regulations. It has the ability to attract investors and customers and ensures good and proper relationships with them. Also, it promotes teamwork within the organization whereby employees can work together more effectively and efficiently. Similarly, people practicing ethical behavior in the workplace encourages making decisions in an ethical way. Conducting the business complying with ethical behavior brings more benefits to the company’s improvement and the basis for long-term success in most businesses.

II. Ethical Workplace Culture. Ethics in the workplace are cultures that a company imposes to make each professional more productive and cooperative. This makes each professional more responsible and hardworking in their duties. Complying with ethics in the workplace makes the company successful and knowledgeable in its field of business.

A.Positive workplace behavior ethics. According to Don Rafner, Demand Media (2014), your employees face ethical dilemmas every day in the workplace. They might be tempted to leave work early, take credit for the work of others, or lie to a potential client to get him to sign the insurance policy, order the service or purchase the product that they are selling. The key to fostering strong business ethics at your company is to create an ethics policy that clearly spells out what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

EXAMPLES. Cheating the Company. A solid ethics policy should clearly outline the procedure employees should follow if they need to take time off, leave early, or start late. If you don’t spell out these procedures, employees might be tempted to handle these matters on their own. They might claim to be meeting a client at the end of the workday when instead they are leaving early to catch a ballgame on TV. They might claim to be at a workshop for the first half of the day when instead they are sneaking in some extra sleep. Make sure your ethics policy contains a provision telling your employees how they can request time off even for personal matters. Open communication is a far better alternative than the sneaking around required when employees try to cloak the reasons for their late starts or absences.

Working with Clients. Your ethics policy also should make it clear that your workers must treat clients and customers fairly and honestly. This means prohibiting employees from lying to potential clients or providing them with misleading information. Employees shouldn’t hide the true price of a service, policy, or product in an effort to trick customers into signing up. They also shouldn’t promise more than their service or product can deliver. Employees should never bully or harass potential clients. Your ethics policy should state how often your workers can contact potential customers, at what times of the day, and what exactly they can and cannot say during their conversations. Ethics in our work makes professionals the best and this benefits both the employer and the employee.

B.Possible negative ethics. Not all ethics in the workplace is good, sometimes it can harm you.EXAMPLE.  You have discovered that your workmate is starting up a business the same as your company and started to get customers from your company so you decided to tell your president regarding what your officemate is doing after your officemate was caught he threaten you that he will do something not good to you. You have disregarded what he has said, after one month your daughter was kidnaped. Realizing that your office really did what he has said.

III. Ethical Principles. President Theodore Roosevelt once said that “To educate the mind without the morals is to educate a menace to the society.” Ambition, competitiveness, and innovation are essential factors that lead to business success but these must be controlled by core ethical principles. According to Josephson (2013), ethical principles are universal standards of right and wrong prescribing the kind of behavior an ethical company or person should and should not engage. These principles provide a guide to making decisions but they also establish the criteria by which your decisions will be judged by others.

A.Code of Conduct. Definition. As stated by Vitez (2014), codes of conduct usually describe the required behaviors, responsibilities, actions, or attitudes employees should have in an organization. This conduct policy ensures all individuals are on the same page and have a clear understanding of the business’ mission statement and values.

Functions and Features. Businesses may include basic employee working guidelines in their code of conduct policy. These guidelines can include dress standards, avoidance of drug or alcohol use, arriving promptly to work on time, and keeping the employee’s workplace neat and clean. Companies use these policies to develop and promote a safe and courteous work environment. A code of conduct can also be created to govern the owners and managers of large and small businesses. Business owners and managers are often held to a higher standard because they have more power in the organization.

Considerations. Implementing ethical values into a code of conduct can help companies strengthen these policies. Ethical values include self-discipline, honesty, integrity, fidelity, and charity. Companies use ethical values to promote their conduct policies as individuals may have different personal ethical values. Creating a standard ethical system helps companies promote the values they see most important in business. Business ethics commonly fall in line with the business owner’s view of ethical standards.

B.Behavioral Standards. As described by Abraham Lincoln, the character is a tree and reputation is a shadow. Your character is what you really are; your reputation is what people think of you. Hence, reputation is purely a function of perception while the character is determined by one’s actions. The following are the 12 ethical principles enumerated by Josephson (2013):

  1.  HONESTY. Be honest in all communications and actions. Ethical executives are, above all, worthy of trust and honesty is the cornerstone of trust. Ethical executives do not deliberately mislead or deceive others.
  2. INTEGRITY. Maintain personal integrity. Ethical executives earn the trust of others through personal integrity. Integrity refers to a wholeness of character demonstrated by the consistency between thoughts, words, and actions.
  3. PROMISE-KEEPING. Keep promises and fulfill commitments. Ethical executives can be trusted because they make every reasonable effort to fulfill the letter and spirit of their promises and commitments.
  4. LOYALTY. Be loyal within the framework of other ethical principles. Ethical executives justify trust by being loyal to their organization and the people they work with. Ethical executives place a high value on protecting and advancing the lawful and legitimate interests of their companies and their colleagues.
  5. FAIRNESS. Strive to be fair and just in all dealings. Ethical executives are fundamentally committed to fairness. They manifest a commitment to justice, the equal treatment of individuals, tolerance for and acceptance of diversity.
  6. CARING. Demonstrate compassion and a genuine concern for the well-being of others. Ethical executives are caring, compassionate, benevolent, and kind. They seek to accomplish their business objectives in a manner that causes the least harm and the greatest positive good.
  7. RESPECT FOR OTHERS. Treat everyone with respect. Ethical executives demonstrate respect for the human dignity, autonomy, privacy, rights, and interests of all those who have a stake in their decisions; they are courteous and treat all people with equal respect and dignity regardless of sex, race, or national origin.
  8. LAW ABIDING. Obey the law. Ethical executives abide by-laws, rules, and regulations relating to their business activities.
  9. COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE. Pursue excellence all the time in all things. Ethical executives pursue excellence in performing their duties, are well-informed and prepared, and constantly endeavor to increase their proficiency in all areas of responsibility.
  10. LEADERSHIP. Exemplify honor and ethics. Ethical executives are conscious of the responsibilities and opportunities of their position of leadership and seek to be positive ethical role models by their own conduct and by helping to create an environment in which principled reasoning and ethical decision making are highly prized.
  11. REPUTATION AND MORALE. Build and protect and build the company’s good reputation and the morale of its employees. Ethical executives understand the importance of their own and their company’s reputation as well as the importance of the pride and good morale of employees.
  12. ACCOUNTABILITY. Be accountable. Ethical executives acknowledge and accept personal accountability for the ethical quality of their decisions and omissions to themselves, their colleagues, their companies, and their communities.
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  • Positive Work Environment

– Ethical employees are perceived as team players rather than as individuals just out for themselves. They develop positive relationships with co-workers. Their supervisors trust them with confidential information and they are often given more autonomy as a result. Employees who are caught in lies by their supervisors damage their chances of advancement within the organization and may risk being fired. An extreme case of poor ethics is employee theft. In some industries, this can cost the business a significant amount of money, such as restaurants whose employees steal food from the storage locker or freezer.”(Brian Hill)

  • Build customer loyalty

– “Having a loyal customer base is one of the keys to long-range business success because serving an existing customer doesn’t involve marketing cost, as does acquire a new one. A company’s reputation for ethical behavior can help it create a more positive image in the marketplace, which can bring in new customers through word-of-mouth referrals.”(Brian Hill)

  • Retain Good Employees

– Talented individuals at all levels of an organization want to be compensated fairly for their work and dedication. They want career advancement within the organization to be based on the quality of the work they do and not on favoritism. They want to be part of a company whose management team tells them the truth about what is going on, such as when layoffs or reorganizations are being contemplated. Companies who are fair and open in their dealings with employees have a better chance of retaining the most talented people.”(Brian Hill)

  • Avoid Legal Problems

– At times, a company’s management may be tempted to cut corners in pursuit of profit, such as not fully complying with environmental regulations or labor laws, ignoring worker safety hazards, or using substandard materials in their products. The penalties for being caught can be severe, including legal fees and fines or sanctions by governmental agencies. The resulting negative publicity can cause long-range damage to the company’s reputation that is even more costly than legal fees or fines. Companies that maintain the highest ethical standards take the time to train every member of the organization about the conduct that is expected of them (Brian Hill).

  • High Employee Performance

– A lack of ethics has a negative effect on employee performance. In some cases, employees are so concerned with getting ahead and making money that they ignore procedures and protocol. This can lead to additional paperwork and careless errors that result in the task having to be completed again. Additionally, employees who feel acting ethically and following the rules will not get them ahead in the business sometimes feel a lack of motivation, which often leads to a decrease in performance (Stacy Zeiger).

  • Company Credibility

– If a lack of ethics in a business becomes public knowledge, that business loses credibility. While some businesses survive public knowledge of a lack of ethics through reimaging and advertising campaigns, many lose a key customer base. Even if a business recovers from news about its lack of ethics, it takes a lot of time and money to restore its image and consumer confidence (Stacy Zeiger).

  • Competitive Advantage

– Business ethics offers companies a competitive advantage. Consumers learn to trust ethical brands and remain loyal to them, even during difficult periods. The company followed its credo, a set of ethical organizational values, and the result was a boost in consumer confidence, despite the contamination scare. Society benefits from business ethics because ethical companies recognize their social responsibilities (Lynne MacDonald).

  • Asset Protection

– A strong ethical culture within your business is important in safeguarding your assets. Employees who abide by your workplace ethics would be able to protect and respect your business’s assets. For example, they would avoid making personal long-distance calls using the business’s lines. Workers can only respect company property when you treat them with respect and dignity, which makes them feel proud to be working for your business. Ensure that your workers perform in an environment with integrity and strong ethics. It increases employee pride and discourages them from stealing supplies or equipment (Alejandro Russell).

  • Productivity and Teamwork

– Workplace ethics is integral in fostering increased productivity and teamwork among your employees. It helps in aligning the values of your business with those of your workers. Achieving this alignment requires that you encourage consistent dialogue regarding the values of your business, which enhances community, integrity, and openness among employees. Ethics enable your workers to feel a strong alignment between their values and those of your business. They show such feelings through increased productivity and motivation (Alejandro Russell).

  • Public Image

– You earn a lot of respect and cultivate a strong image in the public domain when you make ethical choices. For instance, you can fulfill your corporate social responsibility by reducing waste discharge from your business. The public would consider your business to be operating with honor and integrity while valuing people over profits. Building a strong public image through ethical conduct also earns you more clients. Customers would develop trust in you and do business with your organization (Alejandro Russell).

  • Decision-Making

– Ethical conduct in the workplace encourages a culture of making decisions based on ethics. It also enhances accountability and transparency when undertaking any business decisions. During turbulent times, a strong ethical culture guides you in managing such conflicts by making the right moves. It can help you to introduce change successfully in your organization, which can be a challenge. Ethical conduct within the business sensitizes you and your staff on how to act consistently even in difficult times (Alejandro Russell).


  • Inequality

– Codes of conduct are often drafted, in part, to ensure that all members of an organization are treated equally. However, often those in upper-level management and creative positions are given a “bye” on certain codes, like those restricting how the worker talks about the company or to what degree employees are allowed to have personal relationships outside of work. According to CNN Money contributor Eleanor Bloxham, if companies are going to have codes of conduct they should reconsider any code that cannot be applied equally (Miranda Morley).

  • Unethical Corporate Behavior

– In some cases, codes of conduct may facilitate unethical corporate behavior. Codes of conduct that limit employees’ ability to speak out against the corporation can keep them quiet for fear of job loss or legal retribution even if the company is engaging in an unethical practice. Further, codes of conduct can be used to set ethical-looking rules that managers are instructed not to follow so if any misconduct occurs it is the individual employee, not the corporation that will be blamed (Miranda Morley).

  • Lack of Management Support

– One of the disadvantages of an ethical compliance program is that it requires the comprehensive support of management to be effective. If members of the management team decide to apply their own version of corporate ethics to the way they manage their departments, then this clash of principles can cause confusion in the workplace. For example, a manager who tends to look the other way when his employees are committing sexual harassment sets a precedent that can start to undermine the entire corporate culture.( George N. Root III)

  • Costly

Developing, implementing, and maintaining an ethics compliance program within your organization can be expensive and time-consuming, according to attorney Michael G. Daigneault, writing for the Maryland Association of CPAs. Ethics policies need to be continually updated to reflect changes in workplace laws and changes in your company culture as the organization grows. Proper administration of an ethics program often requires the hiring of an ethics officer and the commitment of company financial and personnel resources. ( George N. Root III)

  • Reduce Company’s Freedom

Business ethics reduce a company’s freedom to maximize its profit. For example, a multinational company may move its manufacturing facility to a developing country to reduce costs. Practices acceptable in that country, such as child labor, poor health and safety, poverty-level wages, and coerced employment, will not be tolerated by an ethical company. Improvements in working conditions, such as a living wage and minimum health and safety standards, reduce the level of cost-savings that the company generates. However, it could be argued that the restrictions on company freedom benefit wider society. ( Lynne MacDonald)


Within the business world, ethical decisions are made each day that have an impact across all organizations. Conducting yourself ethically as a business owner and encouraging your employees to engage in ethical business conduct brings about several benefits for your company. Business ethics tend to be overlooked by entrepreneurs as they have other priorities such as ideas for the business, marketing strategies, and financial matters. However, business ethics have a more powerful influence on the existence and improvement of business operations than most people think. It can create a positive image of a business, to mention one of the many, which can greatly contribute to the improvement of the business operations that can lead to its growth and boost in sales.

Alongside the advantages of practicing ethical behavior are disadvantages. Essentially, if you don’t practice ethical behavior in your business then you are in a position with more freedom than if you do, thus, reducing a company’s freedom to maximize its profit. Practicing ethical behavior improves business operations despite it having disadvantages as it brings about more benefits to your business than not performing ethical business conduct. Besides the moral, social, personal, and cultural imperatives, to tell the truth, it’s increasingly evident that ethical practices protect and even boos the bottom line (Johnson, 2008). Customers will patronize your business not because you are on the number one spot among your competitors but because you give value as to how you claimed that spot.


Example #8

I need some quality articles that will give examples of a specific company or business that has good ethics and corporate social responsibility. Help!

Answer. Workplace Ethics is a subject that we have all heard of. In fact, the subject of Ethics in general is something that most people are familiar with. And, what is commonly understood about ethics is there are ethics and then there are workplace ethics. What most people don’t realize, however, is that there is no such thing as workplace ethics; ethics are the same, whether in the workplace or in personal life. For more information read “ETHICS In the Workplace” by Myron Curry.

In your workplace, by what ethics code must your personnel abide?

Do employees abide by it? They exist in my job but not everyone abides by them. Update: Mostly in the field of Mental Health I think people should be punished when they break the code of ethics! Update 2: If personnel doesn’t abide what is the consequence? In Mental Health you can lose your license.

Answer.Ethics differ from profession to profession. There are many people who don’t take ethics seriously, but they tend to start having problems as they arise in professional status. In my profession, it is hard, if not impossible, for clients to tell if we have met intermediate milestones in development projects. There are engineers who will sign off on milestones in order to get paid and try to make up the deficit on the way to the next milestone. Others call it like it is. The risk-takers tend to look better but tend to have unexplained last-minute disasters. The ones who tell it like it gives managers better information such that time & cost overruns do not come as sudden shocks at the tail end of a project.

The risk-takers are acting unethically by lying about progress in order to avoid having to explain their inability to make milestones according to schedule. Sometimes they will jump ship as the project is in the home stretch leaving the new guy to explain that the original progress reports were fudged. It is a small world and word gets around as to what kind of guy you are. The manager may go through the roof at your rate of progress, but when he comes down, he will thank you for telling him the truth.

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