Ethics role in the 21st century

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Ethics applies to moral values that direct action and contribute to sound procedures or legislation on various issues such as corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, stock dealing, bigotry, bribery, and fiduciary obligations, among others (Harrell, 2009). Ethics has become a necessity in organizations in the 21st century, and it is neither a choice nor a privilege of modern society with growing impatience, marked by irresponsible and greedy acts that elevate the crafty while impoverishing others. Law typically guides corporate ethics and provides the appropriate framework that organizations should adopt to achieve public recognition (Bishop, 2013). Companies are today greatly concerned with company-customer relationships, which are highly dependent on various business policies created and implemented by companies. In that respect, business ethics plays an essential role, particularly in the contemporary business environment. That is because customers pay considerable attention to the public image of businesses that provide various products and services, as well as observe the ethical principles established and maintained by such companies and their leaders (Bishop, 2013). Any form of unethical behavior is unacceptable in the modern business environment since it may result in a considerable loss of customers, as well as undermine the companies’ positive brand image, thereby deteriorating the marketing performance of contemporary organizations (Bishop, 2013). However, incidences of unethical business policies and violation of business ethics still exist in the modern business environment, a situation which makes it necessary for businesses to elaborate the effective means of ensuring the prevention of violation of ethical principles and business ethics (Abdulla Karatas, 2015). The implementation and maintenance of the moral tenets in contemporary organizations are therefore essential in ensuring positive marketing performance and maintaining high competitiveness. This paper addresses the role of ethics in the 21st century, with the focus on explaining why the role of ethics is a necessity in the contemporary organizations, as well as the importance establishing and maintaining ethical principles in organizations.

Why the Role of Ethics is a Necessity in the Contemporary Organizations

Contemporary organizations can hardly underestimate the role of ethics in the modern business environment. Business ethics traditionally played a vital part in business development since companies, like today, were extremely concerned with the public image of their brand and their reputation. That was because the formation of a negative attitude or deterioration of the business image would and will undoubtedly result in the decline of the company's overall marketing performance (Harrell, 2009). The importance of ethical business principles and policies has today increased further due to the globalization of the economy, which has created a continuous competition growth among organizations across the world (Harrell, 2009). As a result, most companies spend a substantial part of their resources in creating a positive brand image that can attract new customers, as well as enhance the loyalty of existing customers (Harrell, 2009).

In the contemporary organizations, ethics forms the building block upon which the entire society is based (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015). Besides, ethics is integral to conducting business by setting reasonable standards. Business ethics, therefore, guides organizations in establishing general standards that are commonly acceptable and applicable in the society. That implies that ethical principles in companies should reflect the organizations' moral values, norms, and standards (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015). Besides, ethical principles in organizations play an essential role in guiding both the customers and the employees. That is because it is the responsibility of corporations to show the employees and customers various ethically correct positive behavior models and business patterns (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015).

In the contemporary organizations, customers usually prefer companies that have ethical are responsible policies in the context of customer relations, business environment, and employee management among others (Bishop, 2013). Besides, contemporary organizations cannot ignore the customers' position, which implies that ethical policies in organizations should aim at meeting the customers' needs and demands. Additionally, the primary goal of almost every contemporary organization is to maximize profit (Bishop, 2013). However, the use of unethical business policies cannot help in the achievement of such a goal, particularly in the contemporary business environment, which depends entirely on effective implementation and maintenance of ethical principles and leadership. That shows the significance of ethics in contemporary organizations. In fact, the organizations’ profit maximization interests should not outweigh the need for ethical business policies, regardless of whether an organization is for-profit or non-profit (Bishop, 2013).

Most contemporary organizations implement compliance with various ethical programs to guide their decision-making processes and employee behavior. The organizations’ compliance with various regulatory requirements and policies form a critical component of ensuring ethical behavior, which translates to improved organizational performance (Gambetti, Melewar, & Martin, 2017). Besides, the maintenance and monitoring of compliance is not only about pleasing the policy regulators but also an important way of maintaining an organization’s ethical health, which in turn contributes to its long-term prosperity, as well as promote and preserve its values (Gambetti, Melewar, & Martin, 2017).

On more practical levels, complying with various ethical programs contributes to meeting the organizations’ business goals and objectives, identifying the boundaries of ethical and legal behavior, as well as establishing an alert management system that signals when an organization approaches an ethical or legal boundary (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015). The presence of various ethical programs in organizations, therefore, demonstrate the companies' commitment to creating a corporate culture and work environment that values and respects engagement in good, right, and just practices (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015).

Besides, organizations need to embrace ethics training with the aim of assisting employees in addressing the moral dimension of their decisions. Training employees for ethical decision-making may include guest lectures, workshops, as well as employee or manager discussions (Harrell, 2009). Ethics training within organizations should focus on communicating and clarifying an organization's Code of ethics to enable employees to understand what the company expects of them. Some ethics training opportunities may also focus on making ethical decisions, while others may focus on the available resources to assist employees in situations of an ethical dilemma (Harrell, 2009). Organizational ethics also relates to the formulation of various policies about employees' ethical conduct through the adoption of different ethical codes. Such codes play a pivotal role in helping organization members in developing a better understanding of the differences between what is correct and wrong when making various decisions or taking specific actions (Harrell, 2009).

Additionally, the role of ethics in contemporary organizations lies in the philosophical, moral domain and has little to do with the actual business practices. However, the violation of various ethical principles and norms by organizations adversely affects the establishment of company-customer relationships, and, in most cases, may result in the collapse of a company (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015). It, therefore, proves beyond reasonable doubt that the violation of ethical principles and norms by contemporary organizations has significant adverse effects on companies in the context of the deterioration of the company's public image, and possible collapse of the business.

The Importance of Establishing and Maintaining Ethical Principles in Organizations

The leadership of contemporary organizations needs to prioritize the establishment and maintenance of ethical principles in their companies as a means of ensuring improved performance and high productivity. The organizations' management teams have the responsibility of setting the tone regarding how the entire organization conducts its day-to-day activities (Harrell, 2009). When an organization’s leadership philosophy is based on ethical principles, its leaders can lead the employees by example, as well as guide them in making informed decisions that take into consideration the benefits of both the individual employees and the entire organization (Bishop, 2013). Building organizations on the foundation of ethical behavior, especially in the contemporary world, helps in creating long-term positive impacts on companies, including the strengthening of their ability to attract and retain qualified, highly talented employees, as well as establishing and maintaining a positive image or reputation in the society (Bishop, 2013). Besides, operating a business by observing ethical principles helps in building a stronger bond between the employees and the managerial team, thereby enhancing stability within the organization (Bishop, 2013).

Additionally, when the leadership of organizations remains compliant with the organizations' ethical principles, they create a better foundation for the employees, who will always follow their leaders' footsteps. As a result, employees will make better decisions that are compliant with the organizations' ethical standards and will always observe business ethics as their guiding principle (Abdullah Karatas, 2015). That will in turn increase business productivity, as well as the employees' overall morale. Besides, the whole organization often benefits when employees complete various assigned tasks in ways that embrace integrity and honesty. Also, corporations that emphasize high standards of ethics in all their operations have a higher likelihood of recording high-performance than those whose leadership put less emphasis on ethical principles (Abdullah Karatas, 2015).

  The lack of effective establishment and maintenance of ethical principles by the leadership of organizations may make companies suffer from a significant loss of customer loyalty, as well as the deterioration of reputation. In the contemporary business environment, losing customer loyalty, coupled with the decline in the public image can significantly undermine an organization's position in both the local and global markets (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015). Besides, the lack of ethical principles in companies may eventually ruin businesses due to lack of good company-customer relationships, which are critical to an organization's successful business performance (Bishop, 2013).

The implementation and maintenance of ethical business policies and principles is therefore essential in ensuring effective business development, as well as the overall improvement of the modern companies' marketing performance. It is also crucial to note that it is not only the customers that compel organizations into establishing and maintaining ethical business policies and principles but also other stakeholders, including business partners and employees among others (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015). The establishment and maintenance of ethical principles in organizations can also confront substantial challenges. One of such difficulties is that organizations that employ unethical competition methods can have competitive advantages, especially those that operate in developing countries, where unethical business practices are rampant (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015).

Also, the establishment and maintenance of ethical principles in contemporary organizations require business leaders to observe various Codes of ethics within their corporations, which have comprehensive and defined ethical standards. Both the organizations' managers and employees should follow such ethical standards, irrespective of their position or experience in the company (Gambetti, Melewar, & Martin, 2017). Business Codes of ethics include basic moral principles and norms, as well as the code of conduct, that is essential in guiding the actions of both the company managers and employees (Gambetti, Melewar, & Martin, 2017). Besides, business Codes of ethics contribute significantly to ensuring ethical behavior and practice in organizations, and any violation of moral principles and norms by either the employees or managers should result in proportionate punishment (Gambetti, Melewar, & Martin, 2017).

  The leadership of organizations plays a pivotal role in ensuring effective and successful establishment, implementation, and maintenance of ethical business practices (Hijal-Moghrabi, Sabharwal, & Berman, 2015). That is because they take part in the creation of various business policies, and have the responsibility of exhibiting the positive, and ethically acceptable behavior models within the organization. Additionally, contemporary businesses have to embrace ethical principles as a means of being socially responsible, as well as ensuring ethical investment (Bishop, 2013; Gambetti, Melewar, & Martin, 2017). The rising number of investors that are looking for ethical organizations to invest in appears to drive more contemporary businesses into taking the issue of business ethics more seriously (Bishop, 2013; Gambetti, Melewar, & Martin, 2017). Besides, to retain good reputation and positive image, modern companies have to remain committed to establishing and maintaining ethical principles in the context of employees’ treatment, ethical marketing practices, as well as respect for the business environment (Bishop, 2013).

Conclusion

Ethics forms a great and essential component of the contemporary business environment, and any form of violation of various ethical principles and norms can significantly undermine different business operations, thereby resulting in the deterioration of the organizations' overall performance, as well as lead to a possible collapse of the company. It is, therefore, essential for contemporary organizations to emphasize and prioritize the establishment, implementation, and maintenance of ethical policies that would ensure that all stakeholders are compliant with various ethical principles and norms as a means of improving organizational performance and achieving high productivity. Besides, the development of business Codes of ethics in organizations plays a pivotal role in ensuring that contemporary businesses observe ethics in all the aspects of their operations. Additionally, most modern corporations are already aware of the great need for ethics in their business practices. However, there still exists a large window for improvement. Organizations must, therefore, view ethics as part of their social responsibility. Besides, ethical principles will only be beneficial to organizations that make them their priority by creating relational goals that work for the good of every stakeholder. The best modern companies will, thus, be in a position to shape their future and culture by embracing the institutionalization of various ethical principles, values, and norms. By establishing a value-based organizational culture, the society can achieve significant improvements, characterized by positive influences that go beyond the business environment.

References

Abdullah Karataş. (2015). Importance of Ethical Principles for Eco-friendly Management. China-USA Business Review, 14(6). http://dx.doi.org/10.17265/1537-1514/2015.06.002

Bishop, W. (2013). The Role of Ethics in 21st Century Organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 118(3), 635-637. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10551-013-1618-1

Gambetti, R., Melewar, T., & Martin, K. (2017). Guest Editors’ Introduction: Ethical Management of Intangible Assets in Contemporary Organizations. Business Ethics Quarterly, 27(03), 381-392. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/beq.2017.21

Harrell, H. (2009). Currents in Contemporary Ethics. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 37(4), 846-851. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-720x.2009.00456.x

Hijal-Moghrabi, I., Sabharwal, M., & Berman, E. (2015). The Importance of Ethical Environment to Organizational Performance in Employment at the Will States. Administration & Society, 49(9), 1346-1374. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0095399715581043

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