Ethical Behavior in a Workplace

Joy Karren M. Dumale

There are a lot of writings about the ethical behavior of an employee, but how to really behave in a workplace? According to Charles D. Kerns, PhD, MBA, ethical behavior in a workplace is simply knowing between right and wrong and what would be an individual would consider and believe as right or wrong.

If a person followed a higher position with a hidden agenda, did it consider this person wrong? If he or she disobeyed the rules of his or her office or school for the sake of humility and dignity, does his or her integrity get lesser? Those are some questions a person will ask to assess what side they are or what they are as an employee.

Ethical behavior is the moral principle in a given situation. It is how to behave accordingly to the standards and to function properly set by the organization people belong to, also indicating the proper and polite way to behave, and the conduct or procedure prescribed by the authority to be observed with. Further, it is not just only following orders, rules, and regulations, it is accountability, integrity, honesty, loyalty, and respect. It is moral principles that need to be followed by both employee and the employer.

Employees tend to follow what has been established, whether this is right or wrong, especially if this person is new in an organization, he or she observes and tends to follow what many will do, and his or her reason is shallow just because everyone doing the same thing. But honestly, will they do it or follow it because that is the right thing or that is the real thing? The right thing in a sense is the correct thing to do, and the real thing in a sense is that is it the genuine him or her and does it come from his or her heart?

A person can follow his or her own heart, if what are their guts telling them, and also a person can follow his or her environment, safer and easier. Attending work, meetings, and seminars are not the only things to identify personnel being good employees, showing respect for their co-workers’ time, space, decisions, and positions also. Failure to serve or slow service is not a serious breach of ethical behavior, maybe there are reasons behind it that needs a deeper understanding, and maybe will be considered as a poor etiquette but still performing own functions yet needs an improvement. Manifesting an improvement is another ethical behavior, meaning a person is open to new ideas, and they are growing not only as a person but also as an employee. Another, listening to the voice of other people and taking into consideration the suggestions, feelings, and emotions of others, whether they are in a position or not. Weighing truths or opinions of different sides of factions is another. Commitment and eagerness to work and assigned tasks are one too. Even if a person hit rock bottom he or she still manages to accomplish daily tasks.

An employee knows how to follow to rules and regulations established by an institution in order to be polite but expanding the core meaning of ethics is hard to follow and adjust. Ethical behavior of an employee is not always by the book or what has been said, the ethical behavior of an employee is knowing the truths behind scenarios or situations of life, weighing the facts given and not being gullible, showing empathy to others, and standing in what is right and believing what is real. In addition, according to Sean Peek, effective communication is significant to avoid misunderstanding, especially when dealing with issues in the workplace, taking responsibility and accountability for any decisions made, professionalism especially when pressure arises, upholding trust, and mutual respect for a colleague regardless of the position.

According to Dr. Thomas Mahan, ethical behavior in a workplace is important in this can promote positive behaviors in an organization to increase productivity. Organizations should exemplify standards of ethical conduct to guide the behavior of its employee to what is right or wrong. No matter how much an organization leader believes that his or her staff is being honest, there is always the tendency that someone will be tempted to push the limits to unethical behavior. Those who exemplify these values recognized their commitment. One ideal way to discourage unethical behaviors in an organization is to lead by example. Displaying a model behavior will be followed by the rest of the staff and see what to expect. Ethical behavior in a workplace should maintain to ensure a healthy work environment.

High functioning and highly skilled and experienced employee are always looked up to as the role model of ethical behavior in a workplace. As a good performer sometimes, it is overlooked this individual cannot make an unethical tendency, thus it is disappointing to the people who have a high standard for this individual to witness this behavior. Being ethical is essential in fixing problems and in improving processes. Therefore, it is really important for an organization to value the importance of practicing good ethics in the workplace.