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Ethical Practices – You Are What You Believe

Ethical Practices – You Are What You Believe

In the business world you hear a lot of catch phrases like ‘transparency’ and ‘core values’. What with all the fraud being exposed in corporations, it has become popular for companies to promote Ethics training classes. That’s all well and good, sounds wonderful on the surface, and, for the most part, I’m sure quite a few businesses are practicing ethical behavior.[ad#ad-4]

Ethics is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as:

“A set of principles of right conduct. A theory or a system of moral values.
The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person: moral philosophy. The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession.”

This boils down to being about basic honesty, decency, and integrity (defined by Webster as a: “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility”). My father always used to say that the best thing about telling the truth is you don’t have to remember what you said. That started me down the path of basing my life on a strong sense of integrity with a firm lack of respect for those who live by acting on hypocritical double standards.

On the job, you should actively participate in any Ethics training offered and closely compare what you learn with your company’s Core Values and what actions and policies you observe on a day-to-day basis. A company is made up of all of its’ individual employees. If everyone feels responsible and is held accountable for totally ethical practices, it benefits all concerned and results in a stellar reputation that customers will flock to with a great sense of security. I know that sounds like a company line but if you truly believe it and live it, the whole business atmosphere becomes cleaner and healthier.

Let me give you one specific personal example. When I worked Customer Service in a large corporation they had a great product that was selling well for $49.99 and had been for quite some time. Then, during a team meeting in our call center, we were told to add in a $4.99 monthly insurance-type feature and to tell customers who phoned in that the product was actually $54.98. Ironically, this was only a couple of weeks after we had all attended a mandatory Ethics training session. I was appalled and piped up with the question of what if a customer questions the price. It was stated that, if that happened, we could tell them what was added but, otherwise, we were to not say anything and let the customer assume that the price had just gone up a little. After the meeting, I spoke with a manager and told him that I could not, in good conscience, abide by that new policy because it seemed unethical to me. About a week later, a notice was sent out that rescinded the decision. I did not lose my job and that method of standing up worked much better than just grousing to my fellow employees about it, which would not have accomplished anything more than making me seem like an effectual complainer.

You can be an Ethics Watchdog without being overbearing or exuding a holier-than-thou attitude. Just think about what is right and fair. If you notice something that is bothering your sense of decency, go speak with your supervisor or submit a suggestion worded in an intelligent unemotional way. You’ll be doing your part to make the business world a better place.

Written by: Janet B

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Tagged as , , , + Categorized as Business, Economy articles, Ladership & Management


  1. Capitalism is cool, but we should not forget about ethic

  2. Nice one! Keep up with good work

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