Integrity in Business
Integrity in Business
Integrity in business is one of the virtues that the society and the corporate world at large endeavor to uphold. Integrity can be explained as the quality of an individual to always behave according to the accepted moral principles. According to businessethics, every businessman should strive to maintain the integrity at all times. Business ethics demands that the business professionalsshould act responsible and uphold integrity when reviewing sensitive financial information. For instance, when creating or updating profit and loss account, trading account of an organization or any other form of account involving financial information, a business person should act with utmost responsibility and integrity (Accountant, 2009, p. 12). It is worth mentioning that is only through integrity that a business person earns respect and trust from the organization where he/she works. However, it is vital to underscore the fact that business involves duties and responsibilities that are sometimes quite tempting. For example, a situation may be so critical that a person is compelled by external pressures to inflate figures of expenses in order to create a balance or to engage in underhand practices. Such situations are very delicate and require a business professional to act responsibly by weighing the consequences. The aim of this paper is to discuss the main factor that influences the choice of a business person to uphold the integrity in situations that demands inflation of expenses. This essay will be based two aspects of ethics: the moral development of an individual and the organizational cultural values (Petryni, 2013).
In this essay, the intent is to determine the major factor that most professionals consider in order to uphold the integrity in tempting situations. It is noteworthy that the essay will be developed from first person perspective other than the commonly known third person perspective. Therefore, in most parts of the essay I will use first person narration in the business context. Before looking at my own understanding and make a judgment on this topic, I wish to discuss the topic from a general view focusing on ethical practices in accounting (Crawford, 2008, p. 16).
While making decision on financial records, the tussle is always on the business professionals to ensure honesty in the records but at the same time wishing to reap from where they sow. It poses a big dilemma that has led many businessmen/women astray. Anybody who chooses to be a business person should learn to be selfless. Selflessness demands that the self-interest should always come last among the priorities. A business person should keep the interest of the organization, the interest of the clients he/she serves and the interest of the society on what is considered to be good above self-interest (Vincent, 2008, p. 52).
In view of ethics, the propensity towards doing what is right should be a desire that emanate from within an individual. Literal compliance to set rules and obligation is not the best way to achieve a high level of integrity. When a person does right because he/she is dictated by rules to do right, and then the right is as good as nothing. In other words, doing the right thing should be an individual decision motivated by personal philosophies and believes and not societal rules and culture. For example, a person who does what is right because he/she is bound to the rules is very likely to do the opposite when the rules not fully implemented (Jackling et al., 2007, p. 928).
In view of organizational culture, business organizations have set standard code of conduct that stipulates all that a professional is expected of (Dellaportas, 2009, p. 410). Accounting is no difference from other professions where codes of conduct control the behaviors of professionals
When dealing with financial information, one should ensure that he does everything with honesty, truth and fairness. A breach to these professional expectations in businesscalls for professional action. Such a breach would be perceived as professional misconduct that is inadmissible As far as moral development is concerned, a person will be influenced to do the right thing due to personal conscience. If a person engages in any practice that contradicts his or her beliefs, the guilt of self-disobedience would haunt. It is, therefore, within the domain of moral development that an individual may gauge actions as right or wrong. Notably, morality is a prerequisite for making well-thought decision Also, an action against self-beliefs is sometimes unforgivable offence. Disobedience to oneself is one thing that everyone desires to avoid through all means. For example, when faced with a situation that calls for inflation of expenses, one has to carefully weigh between self-philosophies guided by moral development or the culture set by the organization where he/she works.
Moreover, Consequentialism Principle of ethics holds that the rightness or wrongness of an action is judged based on the result. The main idea is to minimize harms while maximizing benefits as much as possible. In this principle, egoism, utilitarianism and altruism are the standards for judging a decision. In the light of egoism, emphasis on individual benefits at the expense of public safety is unethical and should be avoided by all means (Scheid, 2013, p. 139). This principle expects every business person to ensure that the outcome of every action is to the benefit of the majority, not individual benefit.
After understanding the fundamentals in ethics, it is important to decide the most important determinant factor on integrity in my situation. In case I am faced with a situation that expects me to inflate the expenses, I will stand with my moral standards. I believe in my personal philosophy driven by a desire to do what my conscience approves of as right as long as it does not compromise the expectations. I am convinced that inflation of expenses is not the right action to do when the records seem not to balance. Honesty is a value that I believe in, and I always stand for it. I am persuaded an inclined to do the right thing based on morality. Inward motivation is much more beneficial than what is done under organizational cultural values
However, I cannot dismiss the role played by organizational culture and values in inculcating and instilling integrity and ethics among accountants. Every employee is subscribed to the cultural values of the organization where he/she works. The difference comes in when such values lead to manipulation and forced obedience. I must reiterate that my passion to uphold integrity and accountability in records are directed by my moral development and personal philosophies (Loeb, 2003, p. 78). I cannot relent to compromise the common good while giving into manipulation by the organization.
In a nutshell, integrity is an important element of business ethics that is fueled in the power of individual morality and organizational culture and values. These two factors are important in promoting accountability, transparency and integrity in business. I must emphasize that intrinsic desire to uphold integrity is more important than the organizational cultures that in some organizations are just paper work. I will, therefore, have my decision against inflation of expenses influenced largely by my personal moral development than organizational culture and values.
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