People looking for a model of ethical behaviour have many options, such as friends, teachers, parents and clergy. In the business setting, managers may be looked to as examples of both ethical behaviour and social responsibility. The demonstration of ethical behaviour may be more internal, with employees demonstrating and describing ethics to each other. The demonstration of social responsibility is often directed outward and demonstrated to the community. Both ethical behaviour and social responsibility reflect on individual employees and the organisation they work for.
Decide on a line of ethical thought you would like to demonstrate. Types of ethical thought might include following rules, adhering to community standards or following your conscience. Ethical thought may contain a mix of many ideals.
Be fair. Once you have decided on your ethical ideals, hold everyone, including yourself, to the same ethical standards.
Be respectful. Refrain from discrimination, discourage harassment and show concern for other people's well-being.
Be honest. Communicate openly, sharing your opinions, ideas and ethical stance.
Demonstrate self-control. Control both physical and emotional impulses. Try not to overindulge. Consider replacing anger with concern.
Have the courage to act with integrity. It's easy to do the right thing when everything is smooth sailing. It takes bravery to demonstrate ethics in the face of a difficult situation.
Commit a portion of your funds to cover the cost of socially responsible programs. Donations, community events and sustainable products all cost money. Make sure the capital is there to spend.
Choose a cause (or causes) to support. Donate to, support and promote your cause. You may want to consider a cause that's appropriate to your business or line of work, such as breast cancer awareness for a women's clothing store, or education for a children's toy store.
Consider going green. You might use environmentally friendly services and sustainable products. If you have enough capital, you might overhaul your entire business process to create a greener approach.
Create community connections. Find out what the people of your community need and help provide that for them. This could include anything from youth clubs to women's shelters, free help with taxes or soup kitchens.
Network online. Use the Internet to reach out to the community and promote social responsibility.
It's OK to let others be aware of your ethical ideals, but remember that your ethical stance is not necessarily a law or rule.
Tips and warnings
- It's OK to let others be aware of your ethical ideals, but remember that your ethical stance is not necessarily a law or rule.
- Oregon State University: New study examines how role models influence ethical behaviour
- Association Forum of Chicagoland: Ethical Behavior of Association Leaders
- Pepperdine University: Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Workplace Culture
- Business.Gov: Socially Responsible Marketing in Your Community