Workplace Ethics

Posted In Thoughtworks - By NitiN Kumar Jain On Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 With 0 Comments






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While working in a corporate set up, we all tend to change the rules a bit like rushing in late to work and giving lame excuses, quickly packing off home when the boss goes out for a meeting or even taking printout for personal use secretly. We work at least 9 to 12 hours in a day at the workplace so we assume we are entitled to use office resources.

While at work, we all have access to a lot of resources stationary utilities, items for gifting purposes and more. But how much can we take them for granted and what principles should we follow? Well, most organizations today have set pointers for their employees to follow work ethics, and also offer training to help them fall in place with it.

Workplace ethics affirms an organization’s commitment to the highest standards of integrity in working relationships with one another customers, suppliers, and shareholders. Work Ethics include the ability to work well with others, sociability, integrity, honesty, self-management and responsibility. We can understand work ethics better through a certain expected behaviour and performance of people within their work environment. Ethics are definitely yours to control, which means that you decide what your principles are and stick to them. For an individual, workplace ethics includes some generally accepted indicators. Reporting to work on time, giving advance notice while taking leave from work, respecting supervisors and other employees, looking to improve the company and one’s role in the company, not stealing from the company, going beyond what is minimally required for one’s job, following rules and policies laid down by the company, and having a positive attitude. There are also some key traits of positive ethics. Apart from these integrity and honesty are the traits in question.

Many companies have work ethic codes but these are more of a framework which the employee decides what is in the best interest of individual and organizational development. Workplace ethics go beyond merely enunciating a code of ethics or policing people’s behaviour. It’s about listening to one’s conscience and making conscious choices in the interest of fairness and transparency.

Youngsters entering the corporate world may not have the professional maturity to understand and abide by a laid down code of conduct. And in today’s cosmopolitan workplace people come from diverse backgrounds and their social ethics vary. It is important to follow ethics in your workplace. It ensures that a healthy environment is maintained amongst co-workers and a basic level of discipline is instated.  Individually, it helps build a certain quality of unsupervised behaviour.

Workplace ethics are the cornerstone of integrity, and determine the level of trust. This trust when established sustained and nurtured, becomes the basis on which you can work together effectively and by the same token, when trust is squandered or lost, effective working relationships are destroyed.

-Sudipa Sarkar