The terms ethics and morals can be easily confused, however, in today’s article we will show that, although complementary, they do not have the same meaning. Both are based on principles, beliefs and values that guide the conduct put into practice in all situations within a society and, consequently, of the company that is inserted in it. Read on to find out more!
Understand the concepts of Ethics and Morals
The word “ethics” comes from the ancient Greek “ethikos”, which derives from “ethos” and which, in turn, means custom or habit. Roman politician Cícero coined the term “moralis”, moral, as a Latin version of “ethikos”.
Thus, historically, the roots of the words ethics and moralis meant the same thing, since one was a translation of the other.
In that sense, in the past, asking a Roman what the difference between business ethics and morals was like asking a person today the difference between business and business.
Before you conclude that words are really synonymous, know that today things have changed, after all, the language is alive and transforms according to the changes of society.
Currently, the word ethics has a meaning related to the way of being and acting. Moral concerns the customs of a person or, in the case we are dealing with here, a company and all those who are part of it.
The importance of ethics and morals in organizational culture
The formation of the idea of what is ethical and moral within a company starts from what the society in which it is inserted considers ethical and moral. Therefore, a corporation founded in Brazil and another in Turkey will have different reflections on many principles.
The goal here is not to say who is right or wrong, but to show that organizations behave differently because of the environment around them.
To provide security to employees’ decisions and procedures, the organization must build a very important document called the Code of Conduct , which must contain very important points, such as what is ethical and what is moral in the vision of the company and that community, the basic rules of dress, what behaviors are not accepted, among other topics.
It is essential to remember that this set of rules, regulations, routines and controls is also built on the company’s objectives. It is possible, for example, that an advertising agency does not require a specific dress code, but a pharmaceutical industry does. In the same way that it is possible that these two companies demand that all employees respect each other’s personal choices.
The Code of Conduct helps to build the corporate culture of the corporation, so it should not be stagnant. Regularly, it is mandatory that the responsible areas carry out a review.
After all, as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus used to say:
Promoting an organizational culture based on the principles defended by the company is the most effective way to establish an ideal behavior pattern, which should be adopted by everyone who is part of the organization.
It is essential that employees are aware of the company’s values and principles, from the moment they are approved in the selection process. He must declare, through a contract, that he has knowledge, is in agreement and is committed to directing his conduct based on these guidelines.
This document must also be signed by partners, suppliers, shareholders and all parties that relate to the company and influence the results in some way. With all stakeholders aligned, possible conflicts are prevented and, above all, procedures are aligned, accelerating the achievement of organizational objectives.
What do Ethics and Morals represent in a company’s code of conduct?
Morality is related to compliance with the rules of a company ‘s Code of Conduct , while ethics, in the organizational context, concerns the professional who performs his activities according to the principles stipulated by the employer.
It is worth mentioning that ethics may vary according to the profession and area of activity, although there are universal factors applicable in general situations, such as responsibility, commitment, honesty, among others.
All members of a company have an important role, regardless of their hierarchical level, and their duties have a direct impact on the organization’s results.
Therefore, the decisions and attitudes that the employee makes must be guided by shared ethics and morals so that their actions are in line with expectations.
Always remember that you are the representation of your company. Therefore, their attitudes must be the same as the company would adopt. It is a matter of conscience and responsibility towards the company’s values and objectives.
Be aware of your behaviors inside and outside, especially when you are representing.
10 Points to consider to maintain ethics and morals in the business environment
Doing the right thing will not guarantee success for your business, however, ignoring ethics almost always leads to failure . That is why valuing morals and ethics within the organizational environment is fundamental, even as a matter of values and principles.
Here are 10 points to consider.
• The manager must see things as they are and not as he would like them to be, only then will it be possible to identify the need for changes.
• Leading professionals, such as managers, managers and supervisors, must lead by setting good examples of conduct for others.
• The company should never show indifference to inappropriate situations that are happening in its environment.
• Anticipate possible moral and ethical conflicts in order to avoid them.
• Understand that it is natural for people to behave in different ways, which does not mean that they can ignore the ethical and moral standards set by the company.
• Define what the company’s expectations are for its employees early in the hiring process.
• Offer support to supervisors to maintain ethical conduct and be prepared to resolve conflicts of this nature.
• Encourage all members of the organization to speak up when they see unethical behavior.
• Cherish clear communication between leaders and followers.
• Show everyone that virtue is its own reward, that is, no one should act ethically and morally expecting to be rewarded, but because it is the right thing to do.
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