SECULAR ETHICS IN THE CORPORATE SECTOR
“Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what’s right to do.” (Potter Stewart, Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States)
A commercial focus on values and ethics is increasingly important to the success and credibility of the corporate sector across the globe. Businesses are operating in a changing world and facing increasing challenges and levels of scrutiny. Recent years have also seen numerous well publicised corporate scandals involving fraud, corruption, questionable business practices and unacceptable behaviour. In short, an absence of ethical practices.
Words like compassion, kindness, understanding, interdependence and concern don’t often appear in job descriptions or in the roles of board directors. However, if these values were embraced by the corporate sector they might drive a reduction in the corporate greed, dishonesty and self-interest that led to many of the corporate scandals of recent years.
Adopting a sound ethical approach ensures that companies are not only well run but also profitable and viable for the long term. The secular ethics approach provides strong guidelines for the conduct of individuals and of companies. Ethics in business provides a moral compass to guide the way a company, and the individuals within it, behaves. If this compass is in place, a company is more likely to treat its customers, suppliers and staff well and to have a long-term, profitable future.
Reasons Why Ethics Are Important In Business
A person’s ethics are the principles of morality that inform how a person behaves. They can be described as that person’s ‘moral code’.
There are various branches of ethics, and one branch is ‘business ethics’. This type of ethics is focused on how business ought to behave. The type of business ethics that looks at how businesses should act within a society is sometimes referred to as ‘corporate social responsibility’.