The topic of ethics always raises a lot of debated, mostly due to the misunderstanding of the word “ethics” than anything else. What is ethics? Many people will say that ethics is all about what they felt personally as being right or wrong. Others will pin the word to their religious beliefs while others feel that ethics are actions that are generally acceptable by the set out laws. Some people believe that being ethical is doing what the society accepts. Therefore, these people have the feeling that it is the society that set the ethical standard of behavior for its people. It can be argued that all these beliefs are right, only up to a certain extent though (Velasquez et al, 2010). However, since this paper is more of a personal reflection on my own ethical standards, I’ll use the first definition. That is, ethics has to do with what I feel is right; not the society, not the laws, but my own personal beliefs.
My Ethical System
When a child is born, there is always the hope and desire of its parents that the child will grow up to be a successful person. However, the measure for success in most cases is different according to the society. For instance, one society may pin success to material wealth while another may pin success to morality. My parents had the same desire: to make me a successful person. Their idea of success was rather simple: to make me an honest person. Right from the beginning, as far as I can remember, they always tried to teach me this value.
I can recall one day when I was at a shopping mall with my parents. It was rather a busy place and the attendant at the shop was seemingly overwhelmed by the sheer number of the shoppers. The young lad I was, I found myself picking confectionary items and hid some of them in my pockets. When it was our turn to pay, my mother insisted on displaying everything that I had picked so that she could pay for it. However, I hid about two from the attendant. She was to discover this when we were outside of the place. Rather than going straight home, we headed back to the shop to pay for the items that I had hidden. I was ordered to apologize to the attendant for my mischief. I was then warned not to repeat the same action. When I was growing up, my parents always insisted on honesty; whether at school, home, church or at the shops.
Having honest parents to learn from certainly made the learning process much easier. Rather than being taught this virtue, I could see it in them, I could experience it., Integrity and justice came together with honesty. I had to be consistent in my actions, regardless of the situation. For instance, when I couldn’t complete my assignments in time, I had to tell the truth why I didn’t finish them. Using honesty and integrity as my pillars, I found out that other children trusted me. As a result, at times I was called to arbitrate when there was a misunderstanding between them. This utmost trust led me to try to be as just as possible. Therefore, these three virtues have formed the core of my ethical standards.
Ethics at Work
I believe that many employers would love having an honest person at the work place. Such an employee can be trusted with the organization, knowing very well that he/ she will do his/ her best. I am that kind of person. As an honest employee, I believe that I will always stick to the set goals that need to be accomplished. Therefore, I will require very minimal supervision. Additionally, I can be trusted with the organization’s finances. My other virtues of integrity and justice will stand me in good stead when I’m given some responsibility and authority. I am capable of leading the other employees, as they can learn from me. Being an example to other employees is very effective in motivating them.
Why Ethics is needed in an Organization
It is common practice for organizations to have their own code of conduct. This code of conduct will form the basic ethical standards of how people in the organization should behave and relate to each other. Any employee going against these standards is said to have breached the terms of employment. Ethics is very crucial to the organization as it controls the activities of the organization. Imagine going into an office and you find everyone doing what he/ she pleases. As we had already seen, many people interpret ethics differently. Therefore, these people will act according to their beliefs. Such an office will constantly be in chaos as all of them cannot agree on issues. The number of disagreements will be immense. However, having the ethical code at the organization simply dictates that all the employees in the organization have to conform to them, regardless of their beliefs. This ensures that there is an order in the organization (Baeyer, 1999).
In most cases ethics is incorporated at the organization with the help of societal standards, law and the beliefs of the employees. These standards may be varying. However, the organization has to reach a compromise on certain issues. Moreover, the company has to align its ethical standards with the goals of the organization. For instance, a service-based organization will require that all its employees are honest and polite. This will ensure that the organization gets more clients. This would not be the case when it had rogue employees. Since an organization is made up of people from different backgrounds, it is advisable that it uses the societal standards as the basic standard. Other ethical issues will be dictated by the organization’s goals and objectives (Kerns, 2003).
All employees have to conform to the organization’s set code of conduct, even if they don’t agree with some of its beliefs. However, it is crucial that the employees discuss their reservations with their employers. This may lead to a compromise. In cases where the organization cannot bulge, the employees would have no otherwise but to follow the codes. They will have to sacrifice for the sake of the organization. It is important that organizations involve the employees in laying down the ethical foundation to ensure harmony between the parties.
All individuals must have some form of ethical system they believe in and try to follow. This system may be varying from person to person. This is because what I may feel is ethically right may be wrong according to another person. Therefore, tolerance is very important. This will ensure that there is peace and harmony.