What is Ethical Business Behavior?

What is Ethical Business Behavior?

Most individuals honestly believe that they operate with high integrity and demonstrate ethical behavior with others in the workplace. The problem is that people often don’t have the same definition of what constitutes ethical behavior. That’s why some business and professional organizations create codes of ethical conduct.

In 10 years of service on the ethics committee of an international professional organization I learned that ethical errors were usually made by people who decided, without consulting others, that there were good reasons to violate the ethical principles they had agreed to abide by.

Several years ago while serving on a committee of the Colorado Ethics In Business Alliance, I helped develop these seven signs of an ethical business.

If you don’t have an explicit professional ethics code that you use for guidance, I invite you to measure your business behavior by these standards. If ethical behavior matters to you – and I hope it does — see how you measure up.

  1. Teach employees how to behave ethically by demonstrating, recognizing and rewarding ethical behavior.
  2. Tell the truth. Fully reveal relevant information to stakeholders and authorities.
  3. Consider the interests of everyone who will be affected by their business decisions.
  4. Treat all individuals and groups with dignity and respect.
  5. Maintain honest and complete communication with employees, customers and the community.
  6. Avoid conflicts of interest.
  7. Demonstrate, encourage and support active involvement in their communities.

(For more information about the Colorado Ethics in Business Alliance visit http://www.cobusethics.org )

Be cautious when you want to make choices that differ from any ethical standards you have agreed to accept. Check your thinking by imagining how you would feel if your choices were reported in a national newspaper. Better yet, consult an advisor you respect before taking action.

If you enjoyed this blog post The Integrity Course will provide much more information I believe will be useful to you. Included in this course are stories of how over 25 people confronted issues about integrity in the workplace. Learn more here.

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