Most of the organizations are built upon their capabilities and desires to generate wealth and return profit which remains as the essential objective these days. However, achieving these goals and objectives are more meaningful when acting with integrity and embedding business ethics in corporate culture, as these are the key identifies of the ‘real success’ in today’s business landscape. If the truth to be told, adhering to ethical values and remaining complaint can be quite frustrating and can be perceived as a burden on the shoulders whereas ‘cutting the corner’ may appear to be the easy call for some.
Business ethics refers to the moral principles and values that shape and navigate the behavior of the business, with its most common description. Despite, when it comes to daily decision-making in practice, the issue becomes even more complex and confusing, and the proverbial definitions do not match with or reflect the real-life dilemmas.
So, what is the matter with business ethics and why it became a hype recently? The answer is quite straightforward: Ethics pays back!
In the corporate world, it is no surprise that ethical companies outscore their competitors who finds ethics underrated or those who does not prefer to invest in ethics. There are countless organizations and professionals across the globe and ethics enable these stakeholders or counterparts to speak the same language which allows them to align in the same direction and creates an opportunity to reflect on how ethical standards and norms can shape the businesses and the society as a whole.
For this reason, ethics recently become a distinctive competitive advantage and it allows organizations to:
- Attract and retain talents.
- Boost the workforce motivation and build psychological safety.
- Protect it from the legal sanctions and regulatory enforcement.
- Create a speak-up culture and preserve the transparency among the organization.
- Generate wealth and value for strategic partnerships, mergers, and acquisitions.
- Build resilience with muscle memory for ethical culture, transparency, and accountability.
- Help building positive reputation and brand image (which is priceless and nonquantifiable).
Looking from a broader perspective, in today’s world, ethics matter more than ever as our society is witnessing a ‘polycrisis’ era with extraordinary challenges such as climate crisis, migration waves, rising nationalism, racial, gender and economic injustice – just to name a few of many. These challenges are deeply influencing the business world in parallel without doubt, and they should seek ways for empowering ethics every time, everywhere. A quote by Kerry Stokes, well-known Australian businessperson, says that: “Ethics or simple honesty is the building blocks upon which our whole society is based, and business is a part of our society, and it’s integral to the practice of being able to conduct business, that you have a set of honest standards.” which is a great expression of how business is intertwined with the society and ethics is overarching.
As a starting point, every single individual of our society must internalize the fact that ethics is not just some abstract area of study for philosophers and academics. Instead, it is an active process that each of us can engage in to improve our lives, strengthen our communities, and build a better world. Ethics is not some cure-all for the world’s problems, but it is an actual process for finding solutions in a more collaborative and respectful manner against the winner-take-all approach that dominates life today.
Either when we are doing business or in our daily lives, we should always think ahead of our actions and keep asking these three questions to ourselves: “What are the consequences of my act or behavior?”, “Would I do the same if nobody was watching or to judge?” and “How will this have an impact on my organization/society?”. As we are celebrating the Global Ethics Day this week, this is a great time to recall that embracing ethics help connecting individuals and organizations to the idea that ethics is a powerful tool for imagining a better future.
Yazı: Salih Aksu – AstraZeneca, Compliance Assurance Partner
Not: Makalelerdeki Görüş Ve Yorumlar Yazar Veya Yazarlara Ait Olup , Etik Ve İtibar Derneği’nin Konu Ile İlgili Düşüncelerini Yansıtmamaktadır.