In top-rated business schools across the country, ethics courses have seen an explosion of interest as students view running a business about more than just making money. What is more important to this next generation of leaders is the organizational ethics and social responsibility of HOW you do business, HOW you make money and the impact business ethics has on society and the commitment to do it right. Here are some case studies as examples:
- Nearly 20% of Harvard’s 2009 MBA class signed the MBA Oath which states that they will act responsibly, ethically and for the greater good of society rather than striving for only their own self interest.
- At Columbia Business School, all students pledge to honor a code of social responsibility which states they will not lie, cheat or steal OR tolerate anyone who does.
Can I get a big OH YEAH!!
It’s not only responsible but crucial that businesses study their organizational ethics and consider their impact on workers, communities, and society. Once armed with that information, they can choose to do the right thing, even if it costs more. This is the definition of business ethics and what I believe can and will positively change our communities, our environment, our country, and our world.
Still not sold on the importance of managing business ethics in the workplace? Then it’s time for some business ethics straight talk. Check out this list of benefits and advantages that may surprise you.
- A Focus on Business Ethics Has Substantially Improved Society and Working Conditions
If it wasn’t for ethical standards being set, children would still be working in factories; 16-hour workdays would be the norm; and discrimination, abuse, and unfair labor practices would still be part of doing business. What’s important to recognize is that change is happening and new standards around business decisions, ethics and social responsibility are now being set. This is good for all of us.
- Having a Code of Ethics Provides a Moral Compass During Tough Times
By having a code of ethics, it provides you a tool to make consistent decisions about what is right and wrong and promote ethical behavior. This is especially helpful when making decisions in times of conflict or deciding how to solve ethical dilemmas. For senior executives and human resources managers, creating a company culture of ethical behavior simplifies their jobs and allows them to be more successful leaders.
- Ethics in the Workplace Support Employee Growth and Provide Meaning to the Work They Do
By running an ethical operation, employees feel like they are contributing to society in a positive way. This sense of accountability provides meaning and context to what they do on a daily basis and highlights how ethics and social responsibility contribute to employee retention.
- Ethics Programs Can Align with Personal Values and Improve Performance
If clear ethics are consistently communicated in your organization and straight talk discussions take place on how they align with personal values, it can develop motivation and collaboration in your organization and a healthy business environment. Employees that feel strong alignment with their personal values as human beings and the ethics of an organization react with strong commitment and performance and more often choose ethical behavior.
- Clear Business Ethics Can Promote a Strong Public Image and Goodwill
Aligning human behavior with values is important in developing a positive image for your business. Today’s new edition savvy consumer is doing more research and watching more closely how businesses conduct themselves and if they truly “walk the talk” to do it right. Consistently applying ethical values to everyday ethical decision making is the foundation to building a truly successful and socially responsible business.