Understanding the Principles of Ethics: A Guide for Business Executives

Benevolence, non-maliciousness, autonomy and justice are the four principles of ethics that guide us in our daily lives. Business ethics is similar in principle to personal ethics, but it has much broader consequences. From the employee in the sales room to the business executive in the corner of the office, decisions made at work are often judged by a much larger number of people than personal decisions. Therefore, the fate of an employee, and perhaps the fate of the organization, could rise or fall depending on the perceived integrity of the decisions that are made in the workplace.

When it comes to business, ethical behavior can be determined by basic business principles, company morals, and codes of conduct specific to certain industries. Basic business principles say that you should create a quality product and pay fair wages to your employees. Corresponding examples of business ethics could be that you shouldn't falsely advertise your product and you shouldn't pay more to one race or gender than another. Company morals could also dictate that the company does not advertise on networks that have certain political views or that the salaries of company executives be made public.

Another type of example of ethical business practice is a code of ethics, which is often specific to different professions. For example, financial advisors have something called a fiduciary duty, which is a legal requirement to act for the benefit of their clients. To achieve lasting and sustainable success, organizations need all their staff to make ethically sound decisions regarding work performance and personal behavior. This is especially difficult when the stakes are high and no one else is watching. To help set company expectations, an executive with an inherent appreciation for ethical values can help promote a caring environment in which ethical behavior is encouraged and encouraged.

In fact, business leaders committed to personal and organizational excellence are often asked to define a specific set of ethical business practices to help employees understand the principles by which they will be judged. Once developed and implemented, this set of principles offers a path to lasting and sustainable success. The 12 ethical principles for business executives can help promote sustainable business success. Organizations are focusing more than ever on recruiting and retaining staff committed to moral integrity and ethical business practices. The term charity tells you what it means to “do good” to your client, for example, through immunization. Based on your own experience of receiving or witnessing health services at the community level, some examples of health interventions that demonstrate the beneficence of health workers include providing vaccinations, offering medical advice, providing access to clean water and sanitation facilities, and providing access to medical care.

On the other hand, non-maleficence means “do no harm” either intentionally or unintentionally to your customers. An example would be not abandoning a customer who needs your services. Distributive justice means that people have the right to receive the same treatment regardless of ethnicity, gender, culture, age, marital status, medical diagnosis, social position, economic status, political or religious beliefs, or any other individual characteristic. Everyone should be treated the same way. If you are not fair to the people and community groups in your environment while you practice your profession, you will not be able to earn the trust of the public and this will negatively affect your practice. As a health extension professional, you must be fair and maintain high ethical standards at all times including confidentiality and truthfulness with all your clients alike.

However, as some of the examples from this study session have demonstrated you will face dilemmas that are difficult to resolve in harmony with the concepts of respecting autonomy and informed consent as well as reconciling the demands of beneficence and non-malefficence. Can you give an example of charity? An example would be providing vaccinations or offering medical advice. An example of non-maleficence would be not abandoning a customer who needs your services. As a business executive it is important to understand how these four principles apply in order for you to make ethically sound decisions in your workplace. It is essential for organizations to recruit staff committed to moral integrity and ethical business practices in order for them to achieve lasting success. To ensure this happens it is important for executives to define a set of ethical principles that employees can use as guidance when making decisions at work.

Examples include creating quality products and paying fair wages as well as adhering to codes of conduct specific to certain industries such as financial advisors having a fiduciary duty. In addition it is important for executives to ensure distributive justice by treating everyone equally regardless of their background or characteristics. Finally it is important for executives to ensure charity by “doing good” such as providing vaccinations or offering medical advice as well as non-maleficence by not abandoning customers who need their services. By understanding these four principles executives can ensure their organization has lasting success by recruiting staff committed to moral integrity and ethical business practices.