Business persons perceive ethics as a means of avoiding those actions that will make the business conflict with the law. An individual should then not break the law in one’s work-related activity. This means avoiding those practices that are likely to attract civil law suits against the organization one is working for. Ethical conduct to them may also mean that the employees should also avoid those practices that are likely to bring bad corporate image for the company. Ethics goes beyond this formal understanding of the subject. The issue of right and wrong has been with us for long, religion and culture has tried to address it (Anscombe 1).
Ethics are important, not just in business but in personal life as well (Kelly 160). When ethics in business is fairly new, ethics in personal life has always been there and has to a great degree taken religious dimension. The ethic of reciprocity is the ultimate maxim in moral or ethical conduct. Personal ethics determines work place ethics. Personally, I have made my commitment or ethics, but making a commitment to ethics is not enough to make one ethical. To be ethical requires a systemic approach in the never ending goal of being ethical. The ethical issues in my life confront me every time I am making a decision. The question has now always been that because I have made my commitment to be ethical, is the decision that I have made, or I am about to make in line with my commitment? In Islam, law and ethics are embedded in the worshiper’s obligation to God and therefore both law and ethics are not required (Solomon 65). For a Muslim, ethics as we know it may take a back stage. However, ethics has now moved from the periphery and taken a central part in my everyday life.
There has been a ranging debate on to whether ethics are emotions or thoughts. It is true that the debate is intellectual, but there is no denying that there are some elements of both. I have found that in any ethical situation, I act first and then think later. But when confronted by a new ethical situation I sometimes think before acting. As I have already discussed, being ethical requires a high degree of self awareness and undivided commitment. I find myself every day reviewing my actions to determine whether I have been ethical. I have learned that ethics is never about self. It is about the welfare of the other.
Most misunderstanding in the business and work place are brought about by centering on self and not reaching out to others. Being ethical ensures everyone’s success because of the harmony that obtains. But because being unethical can be much easier, it is sometimes more advantageous to be unethical than being ethical. The Cohort 8 story is developing from a personal encounter with ethical questions and then moves on to religious understanding of ethics and then examines how religious beliefs impacts on our personal ethics. The choice of being ethical is important because we can influence others by our conduct. A business that is ethical in all its dealings will tend to make its partners to be ethical also. As I continue with my commitment to be ethical, people note and tend to treat me nearly the same as I treat them.
I feel that ethics should go beyond the obligations of the law to the vey private spheres of our lives. Unfortunately not many people can buy that and this idea is not well received in most parts of the world that do not have strong cultural and religion back ground (Blackburn 48). Ethics should not be based on humanistic philosophies only but both on law and personal principles.
Anscombe, Gray. “Modern Moral philosophy.” Philosophy, 33 (1958): 1-19
Blackburn, Sam. Being good: A short introduction to ethics. Oxford: Oxford University press,2001
Kelly, Eugene. The basics of Western philosophy. Greenwood press, 2006
Solomon, Richard. Morality and Good life: An introduction to Ethics through Classical Sources, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1984