A Crash Course in Business Ethics


by Sam Young, marketing intern & junior marketing major, Mike Cottrell College of Business

There’s a lot of buzz around business ethics. As our culture becomes more ethically aware, consumers have become more aware of the morals and values behind every brand. This has put a spotlight on businesses to work harder at not only creating quality products, but a quality business.

Business ethics by definition is a form of applied ethics that examines ethical principles or problems that arise in a business. From insider trading to fraud, it is important to have a handle on the type of action an individual should take through company policy. That can be difficult if a company does not have code of ethics set up and could lead to unethical decision making, lawsuits, a decline in sales, and a failed business.

Developing a code of ethics is important to begin the process of becoming an ethical business. This should include the values and principles that the company is based on, supported by management, and a code of conduct to detail the responsibilities of an individual in the company. Having a specific set of values and rules of the company are essential to the business’ moral code and will give employees a point of reference.

It is important to set up these ethical guidelines so that employees can determine the best course of action. There should be training set up so that employees are up to date on the ethical values of the business and how to navigate through their company with them. This is essential to having a high functioning and well received brand. Even having a refresher course on the types of ethics is important especially if there are updates to the policy.

By defining your morals, you are ensuring that employees understand how they should conduct business. Developing a code of ethics is an important step into becoming a successful business that people can rely on for not only good products, but good values.

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