Ethics are like a compass pointing to a right and respectful life. They help all of us discern if our actions are fair. Most ethics seem to be broadly shared across society.
Are ethics gone? Are they vanishing from our society?
Some people may feel that way, and there are reasons …
Marianne Jennings published this in her 2006 book, “The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse” … Seven signs that ethics are in decline:
- Pressure to maintain numbers.
- Fear and silence.
- Young ‘uns, and a bigger-than-life CEO.
- A weak board.
- Conflicts (of interest).
- Innovation like no other.
- Goodness in some areas atoning for evil in others.
And that’s just the world of business. How about society? …
- Loss of checks and balances in government
- Out-of-wedlock births and single-parent households
- Internet fraud – spam, phishing, and cyberwar
- Environmental degradation – pollution and warming
It’s not a surprise that many people are concerned.
Let’s focus on businesses …
For example, the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That simple phrase represents many ethical values. To keep everyone onboard with general ethics, society creates norms to reinforce morals across many diverse groups.
The importance of ethics is in providing an environment that is just and mutually respectful. Simply writing our ethics in a book is not enough. The practice of ethics includes laws, education, spiritual instruction, and the arts and entertainment.
How we behave earns respect. Consistent principles drive good workplace decisions. By understanding the reasons why, we are moved to stand up for what is right.
In unprecedented times, business ethics are more urgent. The difference between “fake” and “trustworthy” takes on an all-or-nothing emotional importance. The public may suddenly—permanently—cast aside a business if they detect the slightest hint of unfairness.
We instinctively know that it is good to be fair. But, how do we transform ethics from business model to a living, breathing business process?
“Ethics” defined: Standards for conduct that judge behavior as constructive or destructive. Right living serves societal balance and individual needs.
Let’s break down the reasons why ethics are well worth the effort …
The importance of ethics in technology
Jeff Woods, Realize President, likes to phrase it in clear terms.
“You never go wrong doing the right thing,” he said. “We believe in ethics.”
Reasons for doing computer repair and network planning ethically are much the same as doing any business ethically. Being fair is better for more people; both one’s self and one’s community.
Being unfair may produce quick results. Then, the fallout arrives, and everyone is unhappy.
For people who contemplate their relationship with a larger principle, there is a sense of being accountable in how we do business. Accountable to something more important than our profit this week, and more important than society’s basic need for orderly behavior. It’s an added layer of understanding.
Some may see that as naive. They may say ethics are a waste of time. But, evidence shows that selfish or dishonest decisions inevitably come back to haunt us.
Ethical nerdism? Honesty about systems?
Morals important in technology
Yes! We start with your business goals and apply our skills and experience. For example, if we have two vendor solutions that we want to recommend, knowing your goals helps us narrow down the choice. Realize believes in the reliability of business norms regarding professional conduct.
Publishing this statement expresses our intent to be transparent. You should not have to be wondering what the folks at Realize are up to. Especially if you are in the process of choosing a managed services provider in Tulsa.
You deserve certainty.
We set our pricing to be at a reasonable level in the marketplace. At the same time, our employees earn enough to care for their families and to put something in savings.
Inc.com lists 10 ways to show customers you care. We especially like #6 …
Solve Their Problems: Understand your customer’s needs, and go out of your way to solve them. If there is a problem, don’t ignore it or sweep it under the rug. Respect your customer by acknowledging the problem, apologizing for it, fix it immediately, and take steps to make sure it does not happen again.
We’ve been doing this successfully since 2005, and our accumulated skills are available for you.
Jason Finnerty, writing at Brandscaping.ca, does a good job of simplifying the usefulness of ethics.
“They provide the structure that helps us make a decision we can be proud of,” he says. “When mankind started to think about the outcome of their action, or inaction, ethics were born.”
Establishing morals in a digital world
You could say the importance of ethics is in balancing society and the individual. The United States has a history of placing importance on individual freedom. There’s nothing inherently flawed in that. But an individual can make decisions based on a code that preserves the social fabric of fairness.
5 ethical issues you may encounter (from Golden West College)
- Unethical Leadership
- Toxic Workplace Culture
- Discrimination and Harassment
- Unrealistic and Conflicting Goals
- Questionable Use of Company Technology
- … more at GWC …
Why people continue to do unethical things
The Harvard Business Review has studied why this problem persists. Here are some of their findings…
Psychologically unsafe to speak up. Author Ron Carucci says that statements like, “I have an open door policy,” some leadership actions may inhibit the courage needed to raise ethical concerns. A manager’s reactions to an employee’s concerns sets the tone for whether or not people will raise future issues. If a leader reacts with even the slightest bit of annoyance, they are signaling they don’t really want to hear concerns.
Excessive pressure to reach unrealistic performance targets. Significant research suggests unfettered goal setting can encourage people to make compromising choices in order to reach targets, especially if those targets seem unrealistic. Organizations must ensure people have the resources, timelines, skill and support they need to achieve targets they are given, especially ambitious stretch goals.
Conflicting goals provoke a sense of unfairness. And once a sense of injustice is provoked, the stage is set for compromise. Maureen Ambrose, Mark Seabright, and Marshall Schminke’s research on organizational injustice clearly shows a direct correlation between employees’ sense of fairness and their conscious choice to sabotage the organization.
Too many leaders assume that talking about ethics is something you do when there’s been a scandal, or as part of an organization’s compliance program. Jonathan Haidt, Professor of Business Ethics at NYU and founder of says, “It’s important to talk about the positive examples of ethical behavior, not just the bad ones. Focusing on the positive reasons you are in business, and reinforcing the good things people do strengthens ethical choices as ‘the norm’ of the organization.”
A positive example isn’t being set. Leaders must accept they are held to higher standards than others. They must be extra vigilant about not just their intentions, but how it is others might interpret their behavior. Leaders must put themselves in the shoes of those they lead to see what unintended messages they may be sending.
Organizations who don’t want to find themselves on a front-page scandal must scrutinize their actions to far greater degrees than they may have realized, Carucci said. In an age of corporate mistrust, creating ethical workplaces takes more than compliance programs. …Read More
video by McCombs School of Business