What Constitutes Ethical Or Unethical Behavior?

Ethical behavior refers to that conduct that is beyond reproach and is in accordance to the laid down standards of a society, organization or institution.

Ethical behavior in society

This varies from place to place. The behaviors considered unethical in one society can be acceptable in another. For instance, it is an unethical social behavior to engage in favoritism in the public. Refusing to relate with others on the basis of their age, sex and race are also unethical social behaviors.

Ethical behavior within the work place

This refers to conduct that organizations expect their employees to hold while at work. Most organizations have formulated documents referred to as ‘codes of conduct’, that set out the accepted behaviors within the work place. They have set out the rules and regulations that need to be adhered to by those in their employ. This is mainly because an individual’s conduct can affect the relationships within an organization, thereby taking a negative toll on the overall performance of an organization.

Employee’s unethical behavior

In any organization, it is unethical of an employee to be corrupt. One is not supposed to accept or give out bribes in exchange for services or goods. An employee who engages in corruption is said to have acted in an unethical manner. Taking excessive breaks or repeated sick leave are also unethical behaviors. This should only happen when there is a serious need to do so. Mild headaches do not count. Again, taking office supplies home is extremely unethical. Office property should be kept separately from one’s personal property. In some organizations, this conduct can be translated to theft.

Employer’s unethical behavior

It is not only employees who can behave in unethical ways. Employers also have a common code of conduct and are required to act in a given manner. For instance, an employer is not supposed to use the company money for his personal expenses. 

Ethical behavior in academic institutions

For students within learning institutions it is unethical behavior to cheat during examinations.

Ethical behavior is to be cultivated within an individual from an early age. Without strong moral convictions, one can be easily swayed to engage in contrary behaviors.

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