What is a Business Ethics Policy?

C. Daw

Business ethics policy, also commonly called the corporate ethics policy, is the company’s statement, or guidelines, on the expected behavior of the employees and the company itself while dealing with others. The business ethics policy acts as the definer of what is right or wrong, moral or unethical. The core aim of every trading business is to make money; capitalism at its greatest height. Making as much money as possible is not a threat to the business ethics concept, but the way a business does it is the determinant of whether it’s right or wrong.

Most business ethics policies prohibit bribes.
Most business ethics policies prohibit bribes.

There are general business ethics that are expected, or are demanded, by forces outside the company such as the government or the industry’s watchdogs. The American business ethics policy is the general guideline for American businesses on their business ethics practices and involves how the company behaves towards the community, the environment, competition, and all other factors that affect its business. For a company to avoid spending money on litigation and fines, they should instill good business ethics and values on each of their employees.

A business ethics policy will cover how employees are expected to behave when dealing with others.
A business ethics policy will cover how employees are expected to behave when dealing with others.

Generally, the business ethics policy is guided by some standard principles that are universal. The first basic principle is honesty; the business should vow to always tell the truth without misleading people. The information given out should be true to the type of relationship involved. The other principle is quality assurance; this makes the business deliver what it promises in quality, quantity, and in the time promised. The business should go to lengthy measures to fulfill their commitments.

The business ethics policy should also demand fairness and respect on all business management ethics adapted. This leads to unquestionable business ethics practices that do not segregate nor discriminate on bases of class, race, religion, health, education and many others. All the people coming into contact with the business are treated equally. The respect should be directed to all the employees, the customers, supplies, the government and the society at large. Adept business ethics will include the business ethics and social responsibility towards the immediate community. A business ethics research will unveil the most suitable business ethics for individual businesses for each specific industry.

Compassion and integrity must also be insisted upon, and outlined and followed by every business ethics policy. Compassion involves the minding of what others feel or undergo. The business should show care to all of the public, rather than standing aside. Even when the company is faced with personal, professional, and social conflicts, it should stand by its ethical stand. No pressure should compel them to stray from their business ethics and values. Sometimes a business might be faced by an issue that calls for an unorthodox solution to save their well being. An example is when the business is demanded to pay bribes to conceal an error that would cost their reputation and decrease their financial stability. The business management ethics would demand that they face the music the right way.

Business ethics policies might try and tackle office rumors.
Business ethics policies might try and tackle office rumors.

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Discussion Comments


Ethics norms are said to be universally but they are interpreted differently by different people. Businesses are no different. Different businesses give different levels of importance to their ethics policy. And the policies can vary slightly as well.


@burcinc-- I agree that sometimes businesses do break ethics policies for their advantage. But I also think that we have some of the most ethical businesses and institutions in the world. First of all, there is usually fair competition in the market and businesses are required to treat their employees and customers fairly.

If a business is not following ethics, I think that the consumers give the best response by simply not purchasing their products. No business would want to lose customers, so it's in everyone's best interest to do things fairly.


Although ethics is universal and applicable in every circumstance, I feel like businesses sometimes forego these rules so that they can make more profits.

For example, inaccurate advertisement and labeling of products are current issues. Many ads are misleading or outright give the wrong information about a product. But businesses get away with it because some of it is not regulated. People can take a business to court but most people don't do that unless the false advertisement caused them harm of some kind. I think that some businesses follow only some aspects of ethics policy.

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