Sunday, January 13, 2013

An Overview of Ethics



In my research about ethics, it is stated that ethics is a branch of study dealing with what is the proper course of action for man. Without it, our actions would be random and aimless. In our class in Values and Ethics in Information Technology, we have learned a little about business ethics, that it is a set of beliefs about right and wrong behaviour, ethical behaviour conforms to generally accepted social norms and  that this is important in many fields especially in a company, school, and offices or in general, in business.

I will discuss some of my research and learning in regards to ethics and according to our instructor, these are also some of the objectives or help towards learning further about our subject in Values and ethics in Information Technology.

Business Ethics in corporations are a very important academia that deals with the public image of the firm, which decides the future of a firm's products or services. Business ethics also determine the trust factor that public have in a corporate, based on which future investments are initiated. In addition to this, corporations are interested in fostering good business ethics. According to an article, fostering a good relationship through practicing good business ethics is important today; probably even more so than at any time previously. Screwing your customer base to profiteer from the financial worlds bad practices isn't any way to do this. In fact, when a customer feels that this is being done to them, or worse, when they can actually prove it, means they simply won't be returning customers. That’s why, a certain company needs to have ethical decision making. Ethical Decision Making is an important aspect that ensures that all companies not only meet but continue to perform at the highest ethical level without leaving any room for laxity. But there are these people who just abuse the power of information technology. Reason for this is that some trends have increased the risk of using information technology unethically. Example of these trends are there are too many people who don't want to think, for example researching about something for their school project or just for an information that they just want to get quick answers from other people resulting to posting something on the web that are not facts but merely unreliable. In my own opinion, that’s why they have these unethical actions because they just want to make fun.

Under ethics is the moral code, which is a set of rules. It establishes boundaries of generally accepted behavior. In my own understanding, this is to free a society from immoral actions meaning that there are some acts that is moral that of a doer and not to the person who witness the actions of the doer. A perfect example to this that is related to Information Technology is a true incident about two IT Professionals whom are hired to work for a certain school and are tasked to remove or heal virus from a professor’s computer. And these two IT Professionals detected nude pictures of girls that are just teenagers. They reported this to the police. But according to the professor, it is private that’s why it is not unethical act to have those pictures. Ethics also speaks about morality. Morality is a social convention about right and wrong and is widely shared. For me, it means that as an IT Professional, you must know what is proper and improper for you and to others especially to your co-worker, employer, customer and etc. These may vary by age, cultural group, ethnic background, religion, and gender and it can affect a person’s morality through these variations. Others that are under ethics are virtues, vices, and value system. Virtues are habits that incline people to do what is acceptable. Examples of virtues are hard work, perseverance, honesty, integrity, compassion, generosity, courage, etc. Vices are habits of unacceptable behavior.  In Catholic moral theology, a vice is a state of habitual sin that interferes with a person's freedom to choose his or her own actions.  And lastly, a value system, which is a scheme of moral values.


In our subject about Values and Ethics in Information Technology, we have also discussed about the importance of integrity. It is stated in our lessons that it is a cornerstone of ethical behavior. According to many, integrity is the core quality of a successful and happy life. Having integrity means being totally honest and truthful in every part of your life. By making the commitment to become a totally honest person, you will be doing more to ensure your success and happiness in life than anything else you can ever do. People with integrity will act in accordance with a personal code of principles. For me, this means that a person has its own principles which he or she can distinguish what’s right from wrong because of integrity. To add, a person with integrity has always extended to all people the same respect and consideration that it desires. It means that, that if you do good to others, you will receive the same from them. And lastly, people with integrity are applying the same moral standards in all situations. Meaning, that wherever and whatever a person is in a situation, he acts morally according to his own principles because of integrity.

All too often we hear people say that business is evil and a major cause of the many problems of society. Unfortunately, that statement is true in all too frequent cases. That doesn't mean, however, that all business is bad. A few bad apples can spoil an entire barrel. Such is the case in the business world where a few dishonest and uncaring people make all business people look bad. This speaks about Ethics in the Business World (Article Source: www.blogbusinessworld.blogspot.com/2006/05/business-ethics-change-world.html). According to our lessons in our subject, ethics raised to business agenda because of risks associated w/ increased inappropriate behavior. This is true to maintain the good reputation not just in a business or pertaining to their employees but in the whole nation. Furthermore, risk is the product of multiplying the likelihood of an event by the impact of its occurrence. In my opinion, talking about risk, it is necessary to be experience by a company and its employees. But through the help of ethics, the risk encountered will be solved immediately. Last thing we have discussed about Ethics in the Business World is that pertaining to risk, it have increased due to Globalization and heightened vigilance by employees, shareholders, and regulatory agencies.


Business today in many countries is fast gaining a reputation for bad business ethics. Some businesses today are seen by many struggling families as gouges. Costs to run a business today in Australia have risen considerably but so many small to large businesses haven't explained the rising costs very well to their customers. By not explaining the rising costs to their customers they certainly aren't fostering good relations with their client base (Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5388150). In accordance with our subject lessons, the reason why fostering good business is important in order to gain the goodwill of the community, to create an organization that operates consistently, to produce good business, to protect the organization and its employees from legal action, and to avoid unfavorable publicity. To elaborate these, for example in gaining the goodwill of the community, making contributions to charitable organizations and nonprofit institutions is one great technique to develop one’s business because as we know, goodwill can make it easier for corporations to conduct business. Another, for example in creating an organization that operates consistently, operating with honesty, integrity, staying true to corporate principles, in accordance to standards of ethical conduct, and other business values will definitely make a company’s stability stable. Another is about producing good business, for example, produce safe and effective products can really mean good business. To add about protecting the organization and its employees from legal actions, for a real scenario example, fines for criminal violations can be lowered by up to 80 percent if the organization has implemented an ethics management program and cooperate with authorities. And lastly, in avoiding unfavorable publicity, of course a company has its public reputation and it strongly influences value of its stock, how consumers regard products and services, degree of oversight received from government agencies and amount of support and cooperation received from business partners.

When company executives behave unethically, that behavior often ends up in the news. While most companies have ethics policies, they don't necessarily enforce or even follow them. By incorporating ethics into the very heart of the business and reinforcing the idea of ethical behavior, businesses can run efficiently, legally and ethically (Article Source: http://www.ehow.com/how_6860392_improve-corporate-ethics.html). It’s true that nowadays risks of unethical behavior are increasing and improvement of business ethics is becoming more important. There are means in improving corporate ethics examples are appointing a corporate ethics officer, having ethical standards set by board of directors, establishing a corporate code of ethics, conducting social audits, requiring employees to take ethics training, including ethical criteria in employee appraisals, when good ethics result in short-term losses and creating an ethical work environment. In elaborating this ways of improving corporate ethics for example in appointing a corporate ethics officer, a corporate ethics is defined as an ethical conduct, legal compliance and corporate social responsibility. A corporate ethics officer is well-respected and a senior-level manager, he/she provides vision and direction in the area of business conduct, and he/she tries to establish an environment that encourages ethical decision making. In complex to having ethical standards that is set by the board of directors, the board is the one who is responsible for supervising management team and the directors of company are expected to conduct themselves according to the highest standards of personal and professional integrity, set standard for company-wide ethical conduct and ensure compliance with laws and regulations. And lastly about establishing a corporate code of ethics, Code of ethics is a statement that highlights an organization’s key ethical issues. In our class, our instructor gave an example about Intel’s Code of Conduct and these are: 1.) Intel conducts business with honesty and integrity, 2.) Intel follows the letter and spirit of the law, 3.) Intel employees treat each other fairly, 4.) Intel employees act in the best interests of Intel and avoid conflicts of interest, and 5.) Intel employees protect the company’s assets and reputation. About conducting social audits, a social audit identifies ethical lapses committed in the past, reviews how well it is meeting its ethical and social responsibility goals, and sets directives for avoiding similar missteps in the future. Also about, requiring employees to take ethics training, it is merely important because comprehensive ethics education program encourages employees to act responsibly and ethically. Another one is the including the Ethical Criteria employee appraisals, this method is about having an evaluation for the performance of each employee if an employee treat others fairly with respect, accepting personal accountability and many more basis. About the method, when good ethics result in short-term losses, this means that operating ethically does not always guarantee business success. Lastly, about creating an ethical work environment, explains that good employees sometimes make bad ethical choices, may be encouraged to do “whatever it takes” to get the job done, and employees must have a knowledgeable and potent resource available to discuss perceived unethical practices. By following these methods, you'll be better prepared to handle judgments and decision-making that come up every day in the mortgage and real estate business. And you will ensure that you have done everything possible to make sure that your reputation, the most important component of your business, is firmly established.

Unethical behavior in the workplace, whether by management or employees, is detrimental to a good working environment.
How management can affect employees’ ethical behavior? Managers should take the ethical high road at every juncture, but the sad truth is that management often points to the bottom line to justify their bad behavior. Employees, on the other hand, may feel justified in cutting corners and fudging on important issues, blaming their unethical behavior on the pressure to perform (Article Source:http://www.ehow.com/info_8247861_unethical-behavior-management-employees-workplace.html).

In our class, we learned also the 7 steps to ethical decision making. These are getting the facts, identify stakeholders and their positions, consider the consequences of a decision, weigh various guidelines and principles, develop and evaluate options, review a decision and evaluate the results of a decision.

In relation of ethics to information technology, it is vital nowadays to study ethics about information technology because many public concerns related to IT are affecting the society these days. Examples of these are e-mail and internet access monitoring, peer-to-peer networks violation of copyright, unsolicited e-mail, hackers and identify theft, plagiarism, cookies and spyware.

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