Code of Ethics in the Workplace

Code of Ethics in the Workplace

What comprises a code of ethics in the workplace is a debatable issue, with every organization having different rules on it. There are, however, some basic workplace ethics that must be followed by every organization.
"It's not ethical". What does this statement mean? Who decides what is ethical and what isn't? One could say that ethics help one decide what is morally right and wrong. Many people believe that, there is no room for ethics in the workplace. In a world of fierce competition where everyone is trying to get ahead of the other, it is believed ethics have absolutely no role to play. However, there are ways of winning the rat race in spite of being ethical. Though it may seem like a longer passage, there are some things that are just not professionally right. No matter how important is something to be done, going beyond the established code of ethics to achieve it, is simply unacceptable. Before we take a look at it, let's understand its benefits.

The Benefits
  • An organization that has an established code of conduct and ethics always functions better, and has a greater image among the people.
  • When in place, it enables self-regulation on part of the employees, and it guides them when challenging decisions have to be made. It also maintains complete professionalism in the workplace.
  • It enforces a strong group ethic, which in turn ensures the quality of the products and services provided by the organization. This is the role of ethics, a role so essential to ensure optimum functioning of the organization.
Violation of Ethics

Professional ethics deal with practicing the policies laid down by the organization when dealing with competitors, and with the code of conduct pertaining to the organization. They are violated or ethical issues in the workplace arise, in case of the following circumstances.
  • Misrepresentation of data, knowingly or unknowingly. It also involves failing to report such misrepresentation by other employees of the organization.
  • Taking advantage of a professional situation for personal benefits.
  • Working for an organization whose values and ethics conflict with your personal ethics.
  • Instigating colleagues to follow unethical paths for group benefits or gains.
  • Stealing or misrepresenting information for personal benefit, or on behalf of the employer for the benefit of the organization.
  • Flouting the norm of confidentiality in the workplace regarding the sensitive information.
  • Engaging in corporate espionage (working for an organization when bound by contract with another).
  • Misreporting the amount or number of hours worked.
  • Taking credit for work done by your colleague.
  • Dressing inappropriately or against the dress code set by the organization.
  • Getting personal with any colleague or superior in a professional setup.
  • Being dishonest in professional situations for personal or group gain.
  • Being insincere, uncommitted, and disloyal towards the organization.
  • Violating the established rules in the name of individual rights.
  • Disrespecting the personal values and beliefs of colleagues with which you have no concern.
  • Dealing with problems in an unprofessional manner by making the issue personal.
It is thus obvious, that by simply not engaging in such acts, you will be able to follow the established code. What ethics comprises is a very subjective issue, and it will differ from organization to organization. It is to be noted that, this practice is followed to ensure maximum productivity of the organization, without following an immoral, illegal, or unprofessional course of action by the management as well as the employees. By carrying out suitable training, these ethics can be imbibed in every employee, to achieve a common goal that has been laid out by that organization.
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