Ethics in the workplace: an introduction

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Ethics is an increasingly critical talking point in the modern world. So is it time we placed greater importance on these conversations within our businesses? Introducing his upcoming nine-part series on ethics in the workplace, Luke Andreski sets the scene for why a robust moral code and set of values is essential for organisations – and the people within them – to thrive.

Ethical dilemmas of ever greater urgency surround us: fake news vs. truth, political expediency vs. integrity, expertise vs. populism, integration vs. putting up walls, GDP vs. the environment.

This sense of moral urgency touches on all aspects of our personal and political lives. We encounter it in social media, via online and paper newspapers, through the 24 hour news streams, on Twitter and WhatsApp. So it’s not surprising that its presence is also felt in the workplace.

How do we reconcile the needs of efficiency and profitability with employee wellbeing? What can employers expect from employees in terms of loyalty, commitment, discretion or even secrecy? What can employees expect of employers in terms of fair pay, equal opportunity or even contracted hours? Is a culture of whistle-blowing to be encouraged or can it be destructive? Should businesses be responsible for policing or even educating their customers or clients? And what of the indirect impacts of business on communities and the environment?

Trust in employers is at an all-time low – so what can we do to restore this?

In this series I argue that ethics lies at the heart of many of these issues and dilemmas, and that ethics can be brought into play to resolve them. I also argue that a decisive moral code or set of values is now a critical success factor both for society as a whole and for businesses and employers in particular.

In the last year I have published two books on ethics in a broad social context, and now, in collaboration with Phase 3 Consulting and HRZone, I will be looking more specifically at ethics in the workplace.

What does it mean to run an ethical business or to be an ethical employer? What are the traits of an ethical manager? What is my moral duty to my employer? And is there a conflict in the business environment between being ethical and being successful?

I begin the series with an introduction to ethics and its relevance in the modern workplace, and follow this up by asking, “What are the key characteristics of an ethical business? How can we make the organisations we work in or lead more ethical? And is ethics a success factor in the modern workplace?

In subsequent articles I look at management and leadership ethics, the ethical employee, how to manage unethical behaviour, the ‘environmental question’, whistleblowing and transparency, ethical intelligence, and whether ethics can encourage a renewal of trust in the workplace.

I’m keenly looking forward to exploring these topics – and I hope you will join me!

About Luke Andreski

Luke Andreski - Author - Ethical Intelligence

Luke Andreski is a writer with over thirty years’ experience in the IT industry, specialising in HRIS implementations and change management. More recently he has focussed on moral philosophy and psychology, with a particular interest in business leadership and management ethics.

He has published two books on ethics: Ethical Intelligence, a guide to effective ethical thinking in a world of polarised belief and political spin; and Intelligent Ethics, exploring the need for ethical change if we are to address the challenges of the 21st Century.

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