Ethics can be defined as the moral principles governing the behavior of an individual or the conduct of given activities. Legal compliance in behavior is the act of acting in accordance with the laws of a country or state. The paper addresses behaviors and activities that are considered ethical or legal, from an individual’s perspective as well as in businesses. In addition, a contrast between ethical and legal behavior, giving an insight on benefits of maintaining ethics over legality. Finally, we consider the importance of ensuring ethical conduct in various activities.
Individual values depend on what an individual believes is moral and what they consider as right or wrong. Personal ethics influences how a person feels, acts and lives under different conditions (Ferrell 34). As an individual ethical behavior can be; acting in a way that is in compliance to what is considered by the society as good morals (Shaw 65). On the other hand, a person can be unethical if his actions are not within what is considered to be moral by the society. For instance, a student cheating in an examination.
Business ethics can be referred to as the organizational principles, standards and norms governing the actions and behavior of individuals in a business organization (Ferrell, Odies & John 120). The set standards of ethics vary from one business organization to another. Any action that is within the set principles in the business is considered ethical. An example of such action may include honest, fair and transparent dealings within the business (Shaw 97). On the other hand, any action that falls outside the regarded moral principles of the business is considered unethical (Crane, Andrew& Dirk 100).
In comparing business ethics to personal ethics, it is clear that personal ethics can influence business ethics. However, some of the business ethics may not meet the personal values since what is considered as ethics in the business environment may not be regarded as ethical by an individual (Hartman et al. 35). Conflicts may arise in cases where the personal ethics may not coincide with the business ethics (Shaw 87). To ensure better work, there should be harmony between personal and business ethics.
Legal Compliance and Ethics
Ethics and law differ in that, ethics are guidelines for social life based on morality while laws are set regulations with exact set of consequences of violation. Ethics are based on morality therefore no penalties attached upon violation (Lieberman 55). Maintaining a good reputation is a matter of morality that ensures good relations between institutions and individuals. All the laws are not always ethical therefore legal compliance may not necessarily mean morality(Lieberman 73). While laws are based on the regulations that must be obeyed, ethics are set on the morality of the society therefore all that is legal may not be ethical and all that is legal is not ethical. For instance, it can be legal for doctors having an industrial action avoiding patients to die in hospitals while it is very unethical.
Ethics can be a crucial component of society. As a result of observing the principles, various advantages can be achieved. For instance, success in business, securing and maintaining a meaningful employment, peaceful coexistence within a society, eliminating discrimination within the community as well as reduced stress in our everyday lives (Meiners 65).
In conclusion, both from the individual and business perspective ethics form part of daily operations. It is, therefore, important to maintain the standards to ensure morality in the society and success in the businesses. Ensuring ethics brings a good reputation while ensuring legality may not be ethical.