Business Ethics: Where Your Personal Integrity Comes into Play

Christian businessmen collaborating together in office

For years, the corporate world has been under immense pressure to produce earnings. It can be said that this pressure has led some businesses to operate in the grey areas between right and wrong; however, a new way of thinking is taking center stage with the passage of historic legislation redefining the roles and responsibilities of corporations and their individual contributors.

Public companies now are required to disclose the values by which they operate, usually in the form of a corporate code of ethics. While this code of ethics is an important step in a corruption-free workplace, it is by no means the end-all, be-all solution. (After all, Enron Corporation had a corporate code of ethics in place at the time of its fall.)

It’s difficult, if not impossible, for an organization to successfully lead with a one-size-fits-all corporate code of ethics, as these types of codes do not take into account the varying types of dilemmas and ambiguities that individual contributors within an organization encounter day-to-day in their jobs. This is where an individual contributor’s personal integrity comes into play. While it can be argued that a company’s role is to make a profit, it is the role of individual company contributors to achieve profit from a place of personal integrity and social responsibility.

An ethical approach to decision-making for individuals

Business – just like life – is fast moving and complex. It is helpful to realize that many business challenges do not lend themselves to a “perfect” course of action, rather a series of “better” actions that are envisioned by leaders and individual contributors with a strong sense of integrity, ethics and social responsibility.

In their book, Business Ethics: Decision-Making for Personal Integrity & Social Responsibility, authors Laura Hartman, Joseph DesJardins and Chris MacDonald, outline an ethical decision-making process.

  1. Separate the facts of the situation from the opinions
  2. Recognize the ethical component to the decision
  3. Identify and consider all of the people affected by the decision
  4. Consider the available alternatives
  5. Compare and weigh the alternatives
  6. Consider the effects of the decision on your own integrity, virtue and character
  7. Make your decision
  8. Learn from your experience

About Spring Arbor University’s online MBA

Spring Arbor University’s online learning community provides a distinct advantage over other online MBA programs. Effective leadership skills fused with purpose-driven development activities are at the core of our curriculum. In addition, learning with fellow Christians offers ample opportunities to foster disciplined habits and skills that promote Godly character.