Ethical Behavior in the Workplace: Does It Exist?


As competition in business grows exceedingly great it seems that ethical behavior in the workplace has been in a free fall. Everyone is scrambling for that little advantage that will catapult them into the lead and it comes with a big price tag! That advantage you called little may cost someone else everything!

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

So, is exaggerating on your resume ethical? Is taking credit for something you didn’t do alright? Is fudging the financial picture ethical or even legal? Is targeting an employee you don’t like because of their beliefs fair? Is covering up a problem on a new piece of equipment your company just released ethical? Is adding something to your expense report that wasn’t business related something you will be proud of later? Is taking home company supplies the right thing to do?

When it comes to ethical behavior in the workplace, it is wise to trust but verify!

These are just a small sample of the many types of behaviors that go on everyday in the workplace that should make us question ourselves about ethical behavior in the workplace today. It is costing businesses thousands of dollars for what some would call insignificant issues such as extended lunches and breaks, fudged expense reports, unnecessary overtime, horseplay, negligent behavior, personal telephone calls, using the photocopier for personal business, doing personal business on company time, sampling products, and so on. These so-called little things add up to very large expenses for a business when you add it all up.

Now when it comes to the more obvious unethical behavior such as blatantly misleading clients or customers about the facts of whatever it is that is being considered. Perhaps the customer asks a question about something like warranty information that missing in the contract that could cost the client or customer a lot of money if something goes wrong. Then when it does go wrong and the client or customer comes in the unethical salesperson tells them sorry that isn’t covered. When the customer or client complains they tell them they should have read the contract better. Then everyone wonders why people demand to have things in writing.

Ethical behavior in the workplace starts with you! If you begin to set the example by making sure you adhere to all the rules set by your company and not waiver it will begin to become contagious. No it will not happen overnight or even in the first few months. But if you continue to act ethically it will become the norm. However, do not get up on your high horse and prance around claiming to be Mr. or Mrs. Doright! This will go against what you are trying to accomplish. Neither should you report any and all wrong doing. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be a good steward of the company though. You know the difference between a tattletale and doing the right thing!

Good luck and remember that what you do does matter in life whether it is at work or at home. People are watching and those people are learning from you especially when it comes to ethical behavior in the workplace.

Thank you and May God bless you!

Ethical Behavior in the Workplace:

Keep Everyone Honest


Photo by George Pagan III on Unsplash

Using ethics in decision making can make it harder, or easier, depending on what perspective you have.

What motivates you to make a decision?

What can we do to make sure that we add ethics in decision making?

What do you do when you receive too much change back from a cashier?

Would your answer change if you knew the cashier?

What about if you are withdrawing four $20's from an ATM and one of the $20's is a $100 dollar bill instead?

Do you report it to the Bank or just say - WOW - This is my lucky day!

Whether you said you would keep the extra change or the $100 dollar bill, ethics is still a part of your decision.

Ethics in Decision Making: We Can Always Choose the Easy Way - But It's Much Harder to Choose the Right Way Which is Generally Harder

It just happens to be your set of values attached to it.

As a general rule we think of someone that is ethical as being honest. I personally agree with that whole heartedly.

The problem with being honest is that it can even get a little clouded.

As Humans we have a way of justifying things in our own minds, to the point that we make things that are clearly wrong into being right.

As an example of this and using ethics in decision making, let's take a look at a situation and you be the judge.

You go to a nice restaurant where you have a good friend working as a server. You know that they have only been there a few weeks.

When you and your spouse arrive you specifically ask to be seated in their area.

They are assigned as your Server and you enjoy a wonderful meal. They did a fantastic job and you were very proud of them.

The ticket that they prepare is presented to you and several of the items you ordered are missing.

This saves you a considerable amount of money. You ask them about it trying to be honest and they quietly tell you in a secretive way not to worry about it.

They go on to whisper to you that they could lose their job, but you are good friends and it is worth the risk.

So, the question is, are you being dishonest if you do not say something?

If you push the issue and try to pay the correct amount your friend might be fired. Do you want to be responsible for that?

Do you justify the entire experience by convincing yourself that you are honest but they are not?

Or any other version of that!

Point is that some decisions are easy and some are near impossible.

I have always tried to look at it in one very clear way and even then, it is hard.

I tell myself would I like to see my actions reported in the newspaper or on the news. If the answer is "No". Then I am probably doing something unethical.

In business we must stand behind our principle's and stand fast on the truth. Not stand behind the curtain like the Wizard in “The Wizard of OZ”!

Thank you and May God Bless you!

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.