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Importance of Ethics in Business


Issues of fairness, ethics and social responsibility are becoming progressively important as organisations all over the globe are faced with an ever increasing competition. For this reason also, entrepreneurs are increasingly capitalising on unprecedented business opportunities around the world; a progeny of globalisation of national economies.

Examples of unethical business behaviour includes;
– poor working conditions,
– low wages,
– enforced overtime,
– harsh and brutal discipline,
– bribery,
– assumed safety,
– patent or copy right infringements,
– substandard product,
– deceptive advertisement,
– deliberate use of harmful substances,
– intentional environmental pollution,
– discrimination, and
– violation of promises just to mention but few.

Unethical behaviours of businesses are widely publicised by the media and amongst concerned citizens. Therefore, with these in mind, there is need for entrepreneurs to exercise due diligence in conducting their businesses in a socially and ethically responsible manner.

Ethics is not just to gain customer loyalty and public applause, but it is important also for employees support and shareholders trust. Basically, ethics is concern for good behaviour. When people feel an obligation to consider not just their own personal well-being but that of others, they are ethical. This is synonymous to the maxim of the “Golden Rule”, that states: Do to others as you would have them do to you. This maxim is also extended to business practices.

It is essential for businesses to behave ethically if they must achieve long-term sustainability. It implies focusing on the bottom line, the social, environmental as well as the economic impact of an organisation should provide the basis for sound stakeholder relationships that can sustain a business into the future.

For the businesses that are most likely to succeed in today’s globalising world will be those that are best able to combine the multiple conflicting interests of the various stakeholders, and incorporate a wider spectrum of opinions and values within the decision making process and objectives of the organisation. It is no news that successful businesses in Nigeria and indeed all over the globe are failing, because research findings have shown that profitably running businesses are suffering from a downfall and some seemingly effective businesses on the other hand are experiencing a decrease in their profits and popularity.

One of the main reasons behind these surprising failures is the lack of business ethics. A true understanding of what is right and wrong and the ability to distinguish between them is ethics.

Ethics is an important part of life and running a successful business is no exception. To become successful, a business needs to be driven by strong ethical values. The mindset of anybody in business must be positive enough to create a pathway for success in the business which will in turn set the work culture of the organisation. For a business to prosper and maintain its profit, it must be founded on certain ethical principles. A business that is based on ethics will remain sustainable over – time.

Be that as it may, the importance of ethics in business cannot be over emphasized. It must be apparent throughout every aspect of a business. When a business is known to be — transparent, that is, known for dealing honestly with all its stakeholders, it is most likely to become successful.

While ethics is a subjective topic that may mean different things to different people, it is still very important in all types of corporate settings.