Business ethics go beyond how corporations behave towards one another, their employees, and consumers. Ethics allow businesses to come to a consensus of what is correct behavior and how certain values and principles can become actionable, not just for success, but to improve conditions in a larger sense.
Business Ethics Start with Honesty
Honesty allows businesses, investors, and employees to develop on the same page. It is unethical to mislead or misrepresent products, services, or business operations. This is the foundation of business ethics. If a business is dishonest, none of the following points in this article will ever be realized.
Businesses Must Operate Fairly
Fairness plays a large role in business ethics. Fairness helps to level the playing field for new and small businesses to give them a chance to succeed. Businesses should not use underhanded means to gain an advantage over the competition or to corner a market. Businesses also need to apply fairness when approaching diversity, hiring, and serving their customers.
Abide by the Law
Businesses, employees, and people operating on behalf of an organization must abide by the laws that pertain to commerce and trade. Keep in mind that ethics and laws are two very different things. While laws are a part of business ethics, there are quite a few unethical businesses that do not explicitly break the law. However, in most cases, the issue can be traced back to our first point, honesty.
Leadership and Accountability
In every business, those in leadership roles must act ethically and understand the responsibilities of their positions. Leaders must understand that their decisions impact everyone in the business, as well as the customers. This is why leaders must set an example by which their actions and the actions of those within the business have accountability to those higher up the chain, their peers, entry-level employees, and their customers.
Values and Principles
With a firm grasp of ethics, businesses can connect with their customers and their communities to enact change. Performing periodic audits of behavior, partnerships, and operations can keep businesses running ethically so they can stay on the path to success.