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Ethical Behaviour

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Ethical behaviour refers to treating others fairly. Specifically, it refers to:

  • Being honest.
  • Maintaining confidence and trust.
  • Following the rules.
  • Properly conduct yourself.
  • Treating others fairly.
  • Demonstrating loyalty to the company and associates.
  • Carrying your share of the work and responsibility with 100 % effort.

The definition of ethical behaviour, while reasonably specific and easy to understand, is difficult to apply in every situation. In real life, there are always conflicting viewpoints, fuzzy circumstances, and unclear positions. Though difficult, it is critically important to cut through the smokescreen that sometimes exists in such a situation and use the 20/20 vision to make an ethical choice.

What is an Ethical Dilemma?

Because ethical standards are not codified, disagreements and dilemmas about proper behaviour often occur. An ethical dilemma arises in a situation when each choice or behaviour has some undesirable elements due to potentially negative ethical or personal consequences. Right or wrong cannot be identified. Consider the following examples:

  • Your boss says he cannot give you a raise this year because of budget constraints, but because of your good work this past year, he will look the other way if your expense accounts come in a little high.
  • An industrial engineer, who is your good friend, tells you three of your competitors have submitted price bids on his company’s proposed new construction project. He suggests a price you should submit and mentions certain construction specifications his boss is looking for on this job.

Managers must deal with these kinds of dilemmas and issues that fall squarely in the domain of ethics.