The overall success of a company in today's market is dependent on a variety of factors. The company's product line, the quality of its employees, the proficiency with which it accomplishes its business goals, and a host of other technical factors determine whether or not a company survives in our modern economy. Of growing importance, however, is the moral and ethical character of the workforce that a company employs. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly evident that an organization that fails to establish a strict standard for ethical conduct leaves itself vulnerable to internal corruption that could compromise its future. In order to explore this growing aspect of the business world, an overview of the nature of ethics is presented, followed by techniques used to foster ethics in the workplace and the resulting benefits. Finally, the recent scandals at Enron and Tyco will be discussed to illustrate unethical business practices and the resultant effects on the economy.
Overview of Ethics.
In order to properly discuss the increasing importance of ethics in a company, it is necessary to look at the nature of ethics and how it applies to behaviour in the workplace. Ethics are described asthe principles of conduct governing an individual or a group? (Dessler 71). In a workplace context, ethics can also refer to the standards used to decide conduct, which also involve the question of morality. An ethical decision will always have the person making the decision asking whether he is going against society's accepted norms of behaviour. The law is another important factor when making an ethical/unethical decision and at times an action may be legal but unethical, while in other instances a law must be broken in order todo the right thing?. Also, the ethics that a person follows will be largely determined by that individual's own standards, which are formed throughout his/her life.