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Essay About Workplace Ethics

Workplace values and ethics are established at the helm of the organization. Values and ethics define what the company perceives as important regarding the behavior of everyone from the top-level executive to the employees working with consumers. Companies, large and small, find themselves in public relations nightmares when ethical lines are crossed. The most problematic areas are fraud, discrimination and sexual misconduct.

Defining an Organization's Values and Ethics

The values and ethics of a business are the moral code by which the business operates. While no business can control the actions of every employee, it can define expectations and develop procedures for violations. Many organizations have similar areas of focus when it comes to values and ethics. These include but aren't limited to honesty, accountability, respect, caring and reliability. Values and ethics should be defined in an organization's bylaws, mission statement, vision statement and policies.

Internal Business Practices

When it comes to internal business practices, values and ethics refer to the expectations among employees. These practices apply to both manager/subordinate relationships and co-worker interactions. People who work together often develop friendships, but co-workers can also develop negative feelings about others on the team.

Internal business practices must define appropriate and acceptable behavior. Some companies explicitly forbid dating among co-workers. Other companies have policies that prohibit alcohol at any company party or internal function. These rules are designed to avert potential problems.

Some employers hold mandatory diversity or sexual harassment training to educate employees on the most common types of inappropriate behavior. Education and coaching policies are growing as pre-emptive actions.

Should problems arise, protocol must be outlined to deal with it. A company's values might dictate the amount of tolerance regarding inappropriate behavior. Where one company may have a series of warnings, additional training and support, another company might set hard lines where disciplinary action is swift and often severe.

Consumer Interaction

Consumers are affected by how an organization presents itself and its people daily. This often starts with initial contact with consumers. The way a receptionist answers the phone at a law firm sets the tone for clients. The law firm might value old-fashioned respect and insist clients be referred to by last name as "Mr. Jones" rather than "John," for example.

Values might start with small items like how to answer a phone, but they permeate into everything a company does. Honesty and integrity are values touted by companies far and wide, but not every company stands behind its words. For example, when a company has a "no questions asked guarantee" that it honors, the company builds consumer confidence.

Advertising Values and Ethics

Advertising has one job, which is to get consumers in the door (or to the website) of a business. There are a lot of tactics advertising can use to achieve this. Companies that stand by their values and ethics don't allow misleading advertising. Other ways that businesses draw the line is with content. For example, a commercial that offers a gift with purchase needs to be clear on how the gift is given and whether a minimum purchase or shipping and handling fees are required. It is up to the company to demonstrate its ethics in advertising decisions.

About the Author

With more than 15 years of professional writing experience, Kimberlee finds it fun to take technical mumbo-jumbo and make it fun! Her first career was in financial services and insurance.

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The Importance of Ethics in the Workplace Essay

WordsJan 18th, Pages

The Importance of Ethics in the Workplace

In their personal and professional lives, people can and, unfortunately, sometimes do go against their moral and ethical standards. Ethical standards are what it means to be a good person, the social rules that govern our behavior. Ethics in business is essentially the study of what constitutes the right and wrong or the good or bad behavior in the workplace environment. A business is an organization whose objective is to provide goods or services for profit. The organization has a group of people that work together to achieve a common purpose. The moral challenges that these men and women face each day along with a whole range of problems that could occur, are why ethics plays such an important…show more content…

Per a quote from Lieutenant Gov. Mary Fallin in Oklahoma: It's hard at times to find people that will take the high road, and that's why we see so many of the scandals we've seen, like WorldCom and Enron, said
Fallin. It's not what happens to you that determines where you are in life, but its how you respond to what happens to you. (Smith, , 7)
What a valuable employee, Sue definitely took the high road and handled that dilemma with integrity. Each person has many reasons for being ethical. Some reasons can be: inner beliefs, habits, virtue because it is its own reward, personal advantages, it's good business, there is approval, being an ethical person can lead to self-esteem, the admiration of loved ones and the respect of peers. There is also religion because it is believed that good behavior can please or help serve a deity. Ethical actions can fit in with upbringing or training. Ethics starts with the individual employee choosing the right or wrong decision.
The second ethical dilemma that our group provided was one that dealt with sexual harassment. Sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of unwelcome sexual conduct. Per Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of this is the first paragraph on the EEOC web page about sexual harassment:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes

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