Ethics come from the Greek word, Ethos, which means “custom, habit, character”. Ethics is concerned with our behaviour or actions.
- It is about what we ought to be doing, not what we are doing.
- Ethics is making rational or intelligent decisions.
- It is concerned with acting in a just and fair way.
- Helps us to live flourishing lives and helps others flourish
- Making appropriate or prudent decisions
- Thinking things through thoroughly
- Not allowing our emotions to becloud our judgments
- Collecting appropriate information
- It involves taking other people’s interests and our duties to them into consideration in our decisions
- Calls for reflection and analysis
Ethics is a discipline that investigates how to behave in order to ensure that our life is flourishing,
successful, worth living and fulfilling. Ethics is basically about doing what is right. The aim of ethics is to put every activity and goal in its place, knowing what is worth doing and what is not worth doing, knowing what is worth wanting and having and knowing what is not worth wanting and having.
Also, within business itself, keeping in mind what is ultimately important and essential and what is not, what serves our overall career goals and what does not, what is part of business and what is forbidden to business, even when increased profit – the most obvious measure of business success – is at stake.”
Ethics is very broad and cannot be totally learnt within a short period but for the sake of having a hands-on on the course, we are focusing on ethics in business.
Business ethics is about applying ethical principles into business decisions and actions. The organisation takes duties to stakeholders into consideration.
I learnt about the principles of ethics which are;
- Respect and care – we must do this because they are human beings.
- Justice and fairness – Apply fairness and care in the appraisal of subordinates, observers of fiduciary duties and fairness in distributing rewards.
- Common good – we must have the good of the employees in mind and not being selfish
- Roles responsibility – we must be steady in the disposition of giving each person his dues and be clear on their responsibilities.
- Efficiency – we must build the capacity of the employees by training them to optimal level.
- Not causing direct harm to others
- Using the right means to achieve targets
- Accepting harmful side effects of business and taking actions
Ethics helps organisation to;
- Improve their businesses
- Build good reputation
- Have a better culture
- Attract quality professionals
- Attract satisfied customers.
So many organisations suffer from good ethic and we could see several examples in the cases we have treated.
In the case of the News of the World, an award winning Sunday Newspaper that releases Sunday Tabloids that publishes news around controversial issues, celebrity news, criminal news and sensational stories. The tabloid was known for the practice of “chequebook journalism” in other to get stories for their news. They were in business for 168 years until they were accused of Phone Hacking.