The world and South Africa are plagued by scandals of corruption and alleged wrongdoing in politics and business alike. We all have a recollection of the ENRON scandal in the nineties and, more recently and closer to home, the Gupta saga and the overnight challenges faced by Steinhoff. The latter two examples have not even being put to trial, but the collateral damage is done by tainted reputations and a share price demise.
These examples are known because they are exposed in the public domain. There are also many SME businesses and their owners who face the same wrath of the consumers and markets in which they operate that we never hear about.
The reality is that one wrongdoing can ruin it all.
What is ethical behaviour?
This is acting in ways consistent with what society and individuals typically think are good values.
Ethical behaviour tends to be good for business and involves demonstrating respect for key moral principles that include:
Honesty – to speak and live according to the truth
Source: Adjusted from Businessdirectory.com
The reality is that “ethical behaviour is doing what is morally right – when nobody is looking”.
Firstly, it is important to understand that personal ethics and business ethics are one and the same thing. Unethical behaviour of an individual will surely lead into unethical business outcomes.
Here are some of the benefits if ethical behaviour is part of the people and business fabric:
Ethical practices come to the front in things like:
In his book, Ethics 101, John Maxwell (American author and leadership specialist) coins the “Golden Question” which I think is very relevant in applying ethics in our lives and business.
He asks, “How would I like to be treated in this situation?”
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Article written by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market