My Thoughts on Ethics

Ethics has become an issue of great importance in the business world today. I have a few basic thoughts on ethics, which I will share with you in this blog entry and effectively add to the discussion on ethics.

In my opinion, ethics should be lived. This means that the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude needs to be abandoned. Living ethics is at an individual level and involves one’s conduct in both a personal and professional capacity. So if I intentionally or knowingly deceive, discriminate or lie about someone else, be it a girlfriend or goalkeeper, I have behaved in an unethical manner. This line of argument could be extended to say that despite the perhaps minor unethical behavior in the personal sphere, this mentality as well as moral and value core could be reflected in some shape or form in the individual’s professional sphere. The only one who can truly judge this is the individual him/herself. That said, most educated individuals are excellent at rationalizing any given self-conduct until it is seen as acceptable. Therefore, we should be careful not to get too defensive when performing a self-evaluation on whether or not we act ethically.

From a business perspective many organizations have developed sets of “golden rules” with respect to ethics, but these are not always followed by all. Managers and directors should always bear in mind that no matter how well the company does financially, if that success comes at the cost of damaging and harming the environment or society, the managers and directors have sold their integrity to please a shareholder, fund manager or investment banker that they are more than likely never going to meet! Integrity can only ever be lost, never purchased or regained. Keeping ones integrity goes hand in hand with acting ethically, so let us try and be more courageous and thoughtful than we have ever been before.

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