Ethics are the most important principles of a community, group and an individual's life. Ethical rules form the basis of a peaceful and content life. For workers, the ethical conduct of their employers is of immense importance as it provides them work place security. An organization or person who respects the ethical code of others is very rare and hence more prized and respected. The paper look at the definition of 'Ethics' and explain its significance in organizations.
By definition 'Ethics' is a set of morals, moral principles of an individual or society, rules of behavior and an area of study in Philosophy. As a subject it studies the values that govern human behavior, classifying the behavior as moral or immoral on the basis of a particular society's principles of conduct. In other words it's a yardstick which helps man discern good evil, moral from immoral, right from wrong and virtue from sin (dictionary.reference.com, 2012).
A set of moral principles is force that has held the world intact for its entire existent. These principles ensure that some degree of selflessness, a desire to be helpful remains in the world at all times, thus keeping the universe going. Without Ethics the world would be a wild jungle where emotions like kindness, love, care, and concern would be non-existent. Humans would be like animals fulfilling only their bodily needs, without any regard to the feelings, health and safety of another. History shows that whenever a civilization has forgotten the difference between good and evil, it has perished. However, many people will consider this thought a matter of opinion, not fact. Such individuals would blame earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis etc. For the destruction of that culture or nation. If ethical conduct is the basis of a healthy society then why is there this difference in thinking and beliefs. This is because the entire world does not abide by a single moral code. According to Dictionary.com, it is "the body of moral principles or values governing a particular culture or group: the Christian ethics, the tribal ethic of the Zuni." Or as Collins defines ethics as '"social, religious, or civil code of behavior considered correct esp that of a particular, group, profession or individual" (dictionary.reference.com, 2012).Thus an ethical code varies from culture to culture, within each culture it varies from religion to religion and with each religion every profeesional has a different set of principles dictated by his or her profession. Lastly within each profession, every individual has a private and personal code of ethics formed by the influence of all these variables: country, culture, race, religion and profession. Thus the world of ethics is vast, colorful and full of variety.
Many conflicts in life and the world today are based on difference in thought process, and views and ideas of what comprises ethical conduct. A Hindu, whose religion declares cows as sacred, is in direct conflict with a Muslim who sacrifices a cow to fulfill a religious commandment. Thus an act as simple as eating of meat is widely disputed, with Muslims and meat lovers against Hindus and vegetarians. However, the world is run on the principles that are found in every culture, nation, religion and group. Just as the common moral value of respect for all and tolerance help people of diverse ethical background coexist peacefully.
Aristotle felt that ethics were the basis "to a well lived life." My own code of ethics is based on my religious principles of love, respect and tolerance. I have learned from my religion to do for others as I would want others to do for myself. To choose for others what I would choose for myself. As Plato believed that all moral training begins in child hood, mine begins with my mother's training (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2001). She taught me through example to work hard work at all costs, to earn a fair and honest living and never to depend on others. My society and culture have taught me to respect my elders but also to speak up for my rights because it is a very competitive and demanding place. My work place also taught me the value of effort, and sincerity to friends. I learned from my colleagues that no good deed goes unpaid and that respecting others is the best way to earn respect for one. When I was young I stole a pencil box from my…