What Are Organizational Ethics? (With Benefits and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 21, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To understand the key elements of a company's culture, you can learn about its professional ethics. Professional ethics involve moral values and standards guiding a company's operations. Understanding the reason for professional ethics can help maintain high moral values within the company. In this article, we define organizational ethics, highlight core values of professional ethics, give reasons why they're important, and provide examples of good ethical behaviour.

What are organizational ethics?

Organizational ethics are the set principles and the application of values that govern company operations and business conduct between management and employees. These professional standards serve as rules that promote non-economic social values and uphold moral standards in the workplace. The concept of professional ethics establishes guidelines for workplace interactions between company stakeholders and the quality of their products or services.

Read more: What Are Business Ethics? Definition, Overview, and Examples

Organizations have core values that help employees and employers accomplish company goals while basing their operations on a value-based framework. A company's values may vary according to its products or services, but there are all-encompassing ethics that remain at the core of businesses, regardless of the industry or work environment. Here are four core ethics that companies typically require:

1. Integrity

This principle is essential to acting right, knowing what's good and bad, and operating fairly. Basing a career on a foundation of truth and integrity can help build a healthy and long-lasting relationship with an employer, management, colleagues, clients, and other workplace stakeholders. An organization that acts honestly in all its dealings can build a solid and reliable reputation for itself in the industry and amongst customers.

Read more: What Is Honesty and Integrity in a Workplace Setting?

2. Respect

An organization can perform effectively if they have a dedicated team facilitating company growth. Showing respect for employees is vital to reducing turnover because it assures them of a safe and respectful work atmosphere. Respect involves honouring basic human rights and eradicating any element of discrimination based on gender, nationality, religion, beliefs, and race. A company can maintain respect between colleagues, management, and employees by establishing a friendly work atmosphere to enhance employees' self-confidence and motivation.

3. Innovation

The concept of innovation is vital for organizations that aim to outperform their competition or release a product or service to the market. Innovation involves creating new ideas and inspirations without imitating another's work. In this case, companies encourage employees to be more spontaneous and creative when introducing new concepts that can aid business improvement. Establishing the principle of innovation in the organization helps the company remain unique in its operations.

4. Drive

The desire for constant improvement is achievable once there's a constant willingness to learn. Drive is another core value that companies integrate into their operational structure to create a system for employees to accomplish more tasks and achieve bigger goals. Such businesses provide the necessary platforms for employees to build their creative abilities, take on challenging goals, and expand their skill set. Having this value in your organization can ensure a constant improvement in productivity and higher employee value.

Read more: What Are Ethics at Work? With Definition and Examples

Importance of ethics to an organization

Any business that bases its operations on good moral values tends to grow and be more profitable while following due process. Other rewards for implementing good ethical behaviours in an organization include:

  • Helping the management to understand situations and address them in the right manner

  • Helping employers and employees abstain from corrupt practices by establishing consequences for unethical acts

  • Making it easier for companies to understand moral expectations to operate within their framework

  • Helping organizations handle challenges from competitors

Read more: What Are Managerial Ethics? (With Examples and Advantages)

Examples of good ethical behaviours

Good ethical behaviours can help ensure optimal productivity and better interpersonal relationships at work. Below are examples of good ethical behaviours that are integral to company growth:

Obedience to company rules and regulations

Staying attentive to company rules and complying with set procedures and policies is a sign of a well-behaved employee. Usually, when a candidate receives a job offer at an organization, they sign several documents that include the organization's rule book and agreement form. Rule books are principles that guide employees on how to act within the company's moral standard. Some candidates may ignore or disregard crucial information from the agreement form because of excitement about the new job. This act may lead them to disobey company guidelines and face repercussions. Ensure you read and understand administrative regulations extensively.

Read more: What Is Organizational Commitment? (With Tips and Benefits)

Effective communication

Effective communication is another crucial workplace ethical behaviour that can help you better interact with colleagues and management without misunderstandings. Optimal communication may differ depending on the situation. For example, an English-speaking receptionist may struggle to attend to a Spanish client. In this case, they can find a Spanish-speaking colleague to help translate information.

Responsibility

It's vital for employees to be responsible for their personal choices and teamwork decisions. This attribute is a leadership quality required of anyone who aims for a supervisory role in their career. While you may be anxious or scared to undertake new responsibilities in line with your work, remember that new challenges prepare you for bigger opportunities and experiences. It's great if you accomplish a new challenge on your first trial, but if not, you can improve. Acknowledge mistakes and take responsibility for whatever action you take.

For example, suppose a company's marketing team developed a new strategy to introduce the company's new product to the market. The strategy failed, and the company lost resources in the process. In this case, the marketing team can take joint responsibility for the incident and earn another opportunity to redeem themselves. In this scenario, the marketing team displayed a high level of responsibility.

Read more: What Is Leadership in an Organization? (With a How-to Guide)

Professional standards

Professional standards are ethical principles that pertain to acting courteously and professionally with colleagues, management, customers, or clients. Several professional standards guide all aspects of professional activity in the workplace. It includes the manner of communication, quality of work, and relationship with others. Depending on the industry or the company's culture, standards that some companies accept might be unprofessional to others.

For example, many organizations find it unprofessional to use informal language at work. There are also organizations that require employees to submit their mobile devices when working. Whatever standard the company prescribes, ensure you can abide by it before accepting the role.

Read more: What Is Ethical Behaviour? (Importance and Examples)

Accountability

Accountability is another excellent ethical behaviour in the workplace that determines talent and responsibility. Being accountable allows you to build reliance and trust with the company's management. For example, according to the annual budgeting plan, a company disburses specific amounts to different departments. The department head ideally oversees the funds throughout the financial year under the finance department's supervision. If the department heads can't account for the funds at the end of the year, the company may grow suspicious of embezzlement and theft. You can remain accountable by keeping records of all activities, projects, funds, and other relevant data.

Read more: 15 Professional Characteristics for the Workplace

Upholding trust

In all you do, ensure you don't act in a manner that may make your employer or colleagues lose trust in you. Endeavour to accomplish tasks accurately and within the expected timeline. Upholding trust with your employers can help you keep their goodwill and advance your career. If deciding to become a freelancer, upholding your client's trust can determine whether they request your services after the first trial.

Showing initiative

It can be very important to use your discretion at work where necessary. Spending extra hours at work may be helpful if your company has a deadline to meet. While companies hire candidates based on their skill level, they also expect you to show initiative towards untold rules of work. If you complete your set tasks and it's within your power to show initiative in another to fast-track a project, do it.

For example, if you're a visual artist and your client wants a design that requires some written content, help write the content if you can. Employers and clients may refer you and support your career growth.

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