Current General Studies Magazine (August 2014)
General Studies - IV (Ethics)
Ethics is a set of standards that society places on itself
and which help guide behaviour, choices and actions. The crux of ethical
behaviour does not lie in bold words and expressions enshrined as standards, but
in their adoption in action, in sanctions against their violations, in putting
in place competent disciplinary bodies to investigate allegations of violations
and impose sanctions quickly and in promoting a culture of integrity.
Most of us would agree that it is ethics in practice that
makes sense; just having it carefully drafted and redrafted in books may not
serve the purpose. Of course all of us want businesses to be fair, clean and
beneficial to the society. For that to happen, organizations need to abide by
ethics or rule of law, engage themselves in fair practices and competition; all
of which will benefit the consumer, the society and organization. Primarily it
is the individual, the consumer, the employee or the human social unit of the
society who benefits from ethics.
In addition ethics is important because of the following ;
Satisfying Basic Human Needs i Being fair, honest and
ethical is one the basic human needs. Every employee desires to be such
himself and to work for an organization that is fair and ethical in its
Creating Credibility ; An organization that is believed
to be driven by moral values is respected in the society even by those who
may have no information about the working and the businesses or an
organization. Infosys, for example is perceived as an organization for good
corporate governance and social responsibility initiatives. This perception
is held far and wide even by those who do not even know what business the
organization is into.
Uniting People and Leadership : An organization driven by
values is revered by its employees also. They are the common thread that
brings the employees and the decision makers on a common platform.
This goes a long way in aligning behaviors within the organization towards
achievement of one common goal or mission.
Improving Decision Making : A man’s destiny is the sum
total of all the decisions that he/she takes in course of his life. The same
holds true for organizations. Decisions are driven by values. For example an
organization that does not value competition will be fierce in its
operations aiming to wipe out its competitors and establish a monopoly in
Long Term Gains : Organizations guided by ethics and
values are profitable in the long run, though in the short run they may seem
to lose money. Tata group, one of the largest business conglomerates in
India was seen on the verge of decline at the beginning of 1990’s, which
soon turned out to be otherwise. The same company’s Tata NANO car was
predicted as a failure, and failed to do well but the same is picking up
Securing the Society : Often ethics succeeds law in
safeguarding the society. The law machinery is often found acting as a mute
spectator, unable to save the society and the environment. Technology, for
example is growing at such a fast pace that the by the time law comes up
with a regulation we have a newer technology with new threats replacing the
older one. Lawyers and public interest litigations may not help a great deal
but ethics can. Ethics tries to create a sense of right and wrong in the
organizations and often when the law fails, it is the ethics that may stop
organizations from harming the society or environment.
Ethics is a requirement for human life. It is our means of
deciding a course of action. Without it, our actions would be random and aimless
There would be no way to work- towards a goal because there would be no way to
pick between a limitless number of goals. Even with an ethical standard, we may
be unable to pursue our goals with the possibility of success. To the degree
which a rational ethical standard is taken, we are able to correctly organize
our goals and actions to accomplish our most important values. Any flaw in our
ethics will reduce our ability to be successful in our endeavors.
What is ethics? Does Ethics is as important as taking breath in human
Why can’t you ignore ethics?