As individuals, we all have different moral and ethical frameworks, which serves as rules and standards of how we act in our life’s. When confronted with dilemmas or choices, our ethics help us distinguish between right and wrong. Though our individual moral and ethics are formed during our upbringing, affected by our family, friends, religion and community, they change as we become older. In our professional work life, ethics and moral play a key role as well. In fact, when it comes to CSR, ethics and moral are quite important aspects of any business.
Business ethics is the professional equivalent to personal ethics, which applies to all aspects of the company. Generally, they serve as a guideline for the business’ conducts when working with ethical or moral principles and challenges. These are important, not only for the organization but also for the individual employee. It offers a shared framework in which the organization and the employees should act accordingly to.
Though individual moral and business ethics often appear to be the same, there are some distinctions between the two concepts. As aforementioned, individual ethics are formed by various, personal factors in our upbringing. It is given that we are not all exposed to the same experiences in our life’s. Thus, what we may perceive as being wrong or right, may not be the same as what other individuals believe. Thus, for any organization consisting of different individuals, there need to be some shared values.
While business ethics consists partly of individual ethics, professional business ethics distinguishes from individual ethics by also originating from organizational and legal standards. For any company, the legal standard of the business is the starting point of the company’s moral standards. A responsible business acts according to law. This is where business ethics distinguishes from individual ethics and become professional by combining legal, organizational and individual aspects of ethical and moral standards.
Examples of ethical standards in a business could be practices such as honesty, trustworthiness and social responsibility. Think of the company as a person. An ethical person would be honest, trustworthy and socially responsible. Why should that be any different from a company? Consumers and stakeholders expect companies to act ethically correct thus, it makes sense to apply business ethics in the company.
The general practice of CSR is about maintaining a sustainable business while generating a profit by acting responsibly, morally and ethically. Business ethics helps the company fulfilling this responsibly and are intertwined with the company’s CSR.
Thus, business ethics are the moral principles and ethical standards of the organization, which the individuals and the company should conduct businesses accordingly to. You can say that it is the way the business behaves as a unity. As individuals, we all have our personal standards however, it is important for a business to establish shared ethical and moral standards in the organization. Not only for the company and employees, but also for customers and stakeholders, since it communicates your company’s ethical standards.