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What, then, are ethics?
• A set of principles outlining a behavioral code that
lays out what is good and right or bad and wrong
• May outline obligations and appropriate moral
actions for both the individual and the organization
• Ethics does not just apply to business
• It may be difficult for individuals or groups in society
to agree upon what is right and wrong
Legal vs. Ethical
• The law provides boundaries for defining
what activities are illegal
• The law, however, does not necessarily
outline what is “ethical”
Ethics within businesses
• Many businesses develop their own codes
of ethics or conduct
• These codes outline what employees are
to do in order to carry out what the
company sees as the “right thing to do” in
The “Ethics Check”
1. Is it legal
2. Is it balanced/fair/win-win
3. How will it make you feel about yourself?
will it make you feel proud?
would you feel good if your decision
was published in the local
would you feel good if your family
knew about it?
Outline for a Code of Ethics
Over all, a code of ethics should be a formal statement of a
business’s values concerning ethics and social issues. It
commonly speaks to acceptable norms of behavior, guided by
six areas of concern:
1. Honesty: to be truthful in all your endeavors; to be honest
and forthright with one another and with customers,
communities, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
2. Integrity: to say what you mean, to deliver what you promise,
and to stand up for what is right.
3. Respect: to treat others with dignity and fairness,
appreciating the diversity of the people you deal with and their
Outline for a Code of Ethics
4. Trust: to build confidence through teamwork and open,
5. Responsibility: to speak up — without fear of retribution —
and report concerns in the workplace and elsewhere, including
violations of laws, regulations, and company policies.
6. Citizenship: to obey all laws of the countries where you do
business and to improve the communities where you live and
Being Socially Responsible
• It is not enough to be ethical, or do the right thing
• Businesses are now expected to act in a socially
responsible manner – they need to be good citizens
as well as give back to the societies (including global)
in which they exist.
• Can you think of a company that is socially
• There are financial benefits to being a “socially
responsible” company or organization. What might
Movie – The Pursuit of Happiness
This film is based on a true
As you watch the film, make
notes of how business man
Chris Gardner chooses to reach
success based on his ethics and
hard work, rather than cutting
corners and unethical actions.
This PPT explains ethics in Business and Outline for a Code of Ethics.