Workplace is one of the most important places in our lives. We spend almost one-third to half of our life in workplace, that too during the primetime of our lives. Keeping this fact in mind, observing important ethical principles in the workplace can make this place more beautiful, harmonious and conducive to personal as well as organization’s growth.  As we spend such a vast amount of our time in the workplace, atmosphere in the workplace has a direct bearing on our health and happiness. Any chaotic and discordant workplace that does not follow any ethical principles will be at the mercy of the whim and fancy of its occupants. This is not only harmful to the workplace but also reduces its efficiency. Setting important ethical principles in the workplace can increase the efficiency, productivity and growth potential of the firm. Ethical principles chalk out the guidelines for behavior in the workplace that encourages cooperation, coordination and smoothness of the workplace functionality.


Do Employees Need Charting Ethical Principles?:

Certainly, if the employees know how to behave themselves in the workplace, ethical principles need not be formulated at all. Good cultural upbringing and thinking are enough to make employees behave in a manner that conducive to overall growth and efficient functioning of the company. However, you never know when a friction takes place and doubts creep in among the employees. In case of any discrepancy, employees shall ask themselves four basic questions: 


  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  • Will it be beneficial to all concerned? 

This Rotary Four-Way Test system was devised by Herbert Taylor. Another workplace behavior scientist Thomas Jefferson advocated the theory of transparency; and on the other hand Immanuel Kant proposed categorical imperative, which states that some acts are wrong and others are right, regardless of the consequences.


Ethical Principles Are The Need Of The Times

Multi-cultured and multi-ethnic workplaces of 21st century makes the workplace conundrum more confusing and requires charting out definite ethical principles that tends to minimize, if not eliminate, friction amongst the workforce and protect company’s assets. The diversity in the workplace and the freedom of expression makes it necessary to set boundaries that should not be crossed during interpersonal behavior and the course of duty. Ideal ethical principles in the workplace must abide by the organizational culture, strategic goals of the organization, and value individual freedom and diversity.


Important Ethical Principles


Irrespective of the working conditions, and the nature of work and workforce, some ethical principles must be followed to enhance the workplace harmony and in turn, productivity.

·                    Integrity: Personal integrity of the workers must be honored at any cost. This will imbibe the sense of pride and obligation amongst them. Value of integrity will make the employees to be honest and fair in all practices.

·                    Objectives: Company objectives must be clearly set out and displayed openly so that they remain in mind and can be referred to anytime. Each employee must be explained about the role he or she has to play in achieving company objectives.

·                    Responsibility: Every worker should be clear of his or her responsibility. It should be written down and well explained to each worker. Responsibility should be so clear that it should not leave scope for any ambiguity or conflict.

·                    Fairness: There must be fairness in every activity undertaken inside the company premises or in its outside dealings. This fairness instills a lot of confidence and belief among the employees. Fairness also leaves no chance for doubts and complaints to arise.

·                    Openness: Practices at the workplace shall allow free and frank exchange of opinion and ideas among the employees at all level. No idea shall be outright rejected or accepted. Everyone must have a say in judging the opinion and ideas put forth by any other employee. This instills the sense of belongingness and worth among the employees.

·                    Diversity: Any company directives or working principles must keep the diversity of the workplace in mind. Not a single employee from any cultural, racial or educational background shall feel neglected. Diversity must be a platform to have better understanding among employees and learn from each other’s diverse backgrounds.

·                    Behavior: Any workplace that has a group of employees must set clear guidelines for interpersonal behavior. They must be taught where to draw lines and how to respect an individual. Due respect must be paid to the superiors and the interest of the subordinates must be considered.

·                    Value: All employees must understand that value of the assets around them. No one shall be allowed to play with, damage or neglect the assets. Company’s assets must be treated as their own and employees must be held responsible for any willful damage to it. Taking care of the property and equipment within employee’s sphere of activity shall be his or her primary responsibility.


If important ethical principles in the workplace are drawn keeping the above principles or guidelines in mind, it benefits hugely to the company in terms of increased bonhomie and productivity.


Picture- wolfgang.wedenig – wuschL

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