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Importance of Ethics and Rules

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Ethics in the workplace are necessary when one is making moral based decisions on a day-to-day basis. Ethics are applied by different codes set for the employees to abide by, often times by higher individuals within the company. These will vary depending on the specific field of the job, but will reflect various laws and regulations, as well as values and principles the company may possess. Having these in place allows a companies employees understand the type of work and behaviour that is expected of them while working for them. When looking to be successful in any workplace an individual should make themselves familiar with their corporations ethics code or code of conduct; applying this in any work they are asked to complete in their job. Following ethics guidelines will allow for respect and honesty in the workplace as well as avoiding any legal trouble that one could be faced with. A company that has a strict ethics policy in place for their employees will most often have strong relations with their consumers, and encompass a positive reputation within the business industry; allowing them to reach high successes.

In order to abide by ethical standards, an individual must first be aware of the true meaning of ethics. According to Joshua Joseph, ethics is defined as “Sets of formal and informal standards of conduct that people use to guide their behaviour at work. These standards are partly based on core values such as honesty, respect, and trust, but they also can be learned directly from the actions of others” (Joseph, nd.) It is important to follow the rules and ethics within your work environment in order to maintain a professional standard.

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  • What are the sources of ethics? How do they differ?
  • What are the beneficial aspects of having ethics in place? What would happen if we did not follow ethical standards?
  • Why are ethics important? What should occur if someone were not following the ethics code?

In modern society, the idea of ethics falls into different categories. Often times, depending on the field, ethical rules will differ. However, all ethics include moral based guidelines which reflect various laws and regulations, and different values the company holds. For instance, an individual in the medical field would be obligated to follow a certain conduct, otherwise known as the Hippocratic Oath. The Hippocratic oath involves doctor/patient confidentiality in a high degree, as well as ensuring they do not commit malpractice. In a law setting, when an individual is called to the bar as barrister, they must also promise under an ethics code, Solicitor Client Privilege. This means a client can speak freely to their lawyer without any negative repercussions, and they are sworn to secrecy. If a lawyer is to be found guilty of unprofessional conduct, the Canadian Bar Association is then allowed to disbar the individual, prohibiting them to practice law in the province of Ontario. If an individual were to find that their lawyer is guilty of misconduct, they may report this to the Law Society of Upper Canada; and can be compensated for the legal fees they have paid.

In the business industry, the importance of practicing in an ethical manner has been valued by a variety of organizations. As an individual is hired within a company, the Human Resource department will make them aware of the Code of Conduct within the organization; they will be expected to display these values in their work in order to be successful. The Code of Ethics an establishment supports often reflects the higher powers that are running the business. For example, if a company exhibits high morality they will be well known in the corporate industry as an honourable establishment, allowing them to maintain a positive reputation within the industry. This will open numerous opportunities for potential consumers and bring business to the company. A company that encompasses these qualities, will often times experience high productivity and gain profits. This positively impacts the organization in terms of their public relations stance. On the other hand, when an individual behaves immorally it can affect the company in a negative way. The company may begin to experience legal trouble, as the Code of Conduct typically overlaps with the laws in North America. For example, in 2015, Volkswagen was caught in a diesel-emissions test related scandal where the company was promoting a more eco-friendly car in order to sell more vehicles to the consumers. With this cheating device installed in their products they were able to sell more cars to the public by allowing them to believe the product they were purchasing was better for the environment than other vehicles on the market. In this instance, Volkswagen was exposed and faced with a variety of fines and lawsuits in different countries. This situation was easily avoidable as they could have acted in a moral way, such as finding a real way to positively impact the environment in their car manufacturing. If they were to apply a more ethical approach this company could have avoided such a hefty punishment, instead they chose the easy route to profit and the company was negatively affected; losing profit. Many companies face issues such as this as they choose not to abide by true ethics, rules and regulations.

Understanding the importance of ethics, sources of ethics and the goals of ethics determines the conclusion and following recommendations on the standards we must live up to in regards to ethical behaviours:

According to Joshua Joseph, ethics is defined as “Sets of formal and informal standards of conduct that people use to guide their behaviour at work. These standards are partly based on core values such as honesty, respect, and trust, but they also can be learned directly from the actions of others” (Joseph, nd.)

It is important to remain ethical in a professional environment.

Familiarize yourself with the ethical standards, vision, and mission statement your company has and do not waver from it

Depending on your field of work or study the ethical and moral standards vary greatly.

If you witness an individual, company or organization act in an unethical manner you can take steps to ensure that their misbehaviours have consequences. .

Companies who are ethical and treat their employees fair often have a higher production rate, higher revenues, lower turnover rate, and honourable reputation.

Companies who are unethical and treat their employees unfairly often have a lower moral among staff, lower revenues, legal issues, high turnover rate, and are known as unreliable and dishonest.

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