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What are Management Ethics?

By Harriette Halepis
Updated May 16, 2024
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Morality as it pertains to the business management world is commonly known as management ethics. While each company has a different ethical standard, management ethics are largely the same in every industry. In many ways, this type of ethical understanding exists as an unwritten code, though literal ethical documents also exist.

The main goal of management ethics is to treat all employees and customers justly and fairly. It is believed that by following a moral and ethical code, business will improve. When a management team adheres to ethics, employees become motivated and a workplace environment becomes motivational.

When applied to everyday business, acting ethically means adhering to law, competing with others in an honest manner, and performing daily tasks without any element of deceit. Many companies around the globe update written codes of conduct as a result of past corporate scandals. It is not uncommon for a company to update this document on a yearly basis. After a code of conduct document has been updated, each staff member must read and understand the document. Further, all employees must adhere to the updated codes of conduct, and those that do not follow these regulations are often dismissed. Although managers must follow the same codes of conduct as employees, these individuals have additional obligations.

Almost every decision that is made on a daily basis involves an ethical decision. Managers must keep this in mind at all times. By setting a good ethical example for other employees, managers can easily encourage all employees to follow the same ethics. Some companies offer managers specialized management ethics courses that must be completed prior to job acceptance.

Frequently, managers who switch companies are asked to follow a different code of conduct. This does not mean that all other management ethics should be forgotten, but it does mean that additional ethics should be learned. Ethics are not necessarily interchangeable from country to country. Sometimes, different cultures respect different ethical rules. Thus, any person who decides to move to another country may have to adapt to cultural, and workplace, ethical differences.

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Discussion Comments

By GreenWeaver — On Jan 05, 2011

Crispety-I recently had the pleasure of buying a car and had the best shopping experience because the dealership kept their promise to me.

I went to buy a car and told them the model that I wanted with all of the features. They promised to get it for me.

When I returned a few days later looking to pick up my new car, the dealer did not have the exact model because they accidentally put these features into a model that was an upgrade from the one that I originally wanted.

Nonetheless, they honored their deal with me and offered me the car that was $7,000 more for the same price as the original model that I wanted. Although this dealership is about two hours from my home, I will only shop there for a car because they are an ethical business.

These businesses always stand out because they are so unique and a pleasure to deal with.

By Crispety — On Jan 04, 2011

Mutsy- Ethics in business is having a certain level of basic morality of knowing right from wrong. If you are honest with your customers and pay your bills accordingly to your suppliers, you will not have too many problems.

Ethics should be the cornerstone to any company’s creed because without it there is no future in business. An ethical business will always have customers and employees will enjoy working there because they know what is expected of them.

By mutsy — On Jan 02, 2011

Oasis11-Enron was a classic example of unethical organizational management. They lied about the financial records of the company and even encouraged employees to buy more of the company stock so that the stock price would be driven up so the executives could cash out their stock and make a fortune.

This is exactly what happened, but the employees lost their life savings because the stock was worthless when the truth revealed how poorly managed this company really was and how much debt it actually had. Also many records were falsified which added to the disgrace.

By oasis11 — On Jan 01, 2011

Ethics in business is important because a business that does not have ethics in business management will not stay in business for long.

Management business ethics require that employees be treated fairly and exactly the same. Preferential treatment of some employees over others is unethical especially if a supervisor is having a personal relationship with the employee.

This destroys employee moral and leads to company infighting and increased turnover.

Ethics in business management also require complete disclosure of financial records because employees would frown upon anything less.

This includes the financial health of the company and the future investments the company will make.

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