Ethics is a branch of philosophy that focuses on right and wrong, what society considers right and wrong. Professional ethics is the set of moral standards that individuals must follow when carrying out any activity.
The purpose of ethics is to guarantee peaceful coexistence within communities. This idea can also be applied to relationships within companies and between that company and the society in which it operates. It is ethics that define acceptable codes of conduct to achieve the common good, even in the corporate environment.
What is the importance of professional ethics?
In the case of the individual who practices a profession, the first advantage of acting in accordance with ethical parameters is to have the guarantee of a clear conscience. This provides the assurance that your behavior is correct and does not harm others.
Observing professional ethics is also important in terms of career. In addition to competence in the performance of functions, companies value employees who have ethical and exemplary behavior. Therefore, values such as honesty, humility and respect for others are allies of those who wish to excel at work and win the admiration of bosses and colleagues.
From the companies’ point of view, respect for professional ethics guarantees, first of all, a harmonious work environment, which is reflected in the level of commitment and satisfaction of the employees. This friendly atmosphere improves team performance, leading to higher productivity and the development of the company as a whole.
The ethical performance of a company also affects the image that the organization projects among its clients, partners and suppliers, being an advantage over the competition in a society that is increasingly attentive to the notion of social responsibility.
What is the code of professional ethics?
In its generic definition, ethics does not always translate into laws and other formal, mandatory standards. However, professional ethics are generally governed by specific codes of conduct and statutes, created by the class representation councils .
These regulations, sometimes called “codes of ethics”, standardize the practice of the profession, its procedures and the conduct to be followed. The objective is to guarantee the safety of professionals, service users and society itself.
The application of codes of ethics is generally supervised by the boards that created them, and professionals who do not respect the moral principles of their category can be punished.
An example of these regulations is the Accountant’s Code of Professional Ethics (CEPC), approved by Resolution No. 803/1996 of the Federal Accounting Council. Psychologists, doctors, nurses, lawyers, and administrators, among other professionals, are also governed by their own regulations.
Professional ethics in the corporate environment.
In addition to the code of ethics in his category, a professional may also be subject to the rules of the company for which he works. The Organizational Code of Ethics is the set of rules created by some organizations and that must be followed by all their employees.
The function of the Code of Ethics is to guarantee the achievement of the company’s objectives and to provide the standardization of work procedures. Therefore, it is possible to build an environment of respect, making clear the rules of conduct compatible with the values of the corporation.
To function well, organizational codes of conduct must take into account the specificity of the company’s activity, looking for examples daily for its application. Furthermore, the regulation needs to be clearly worded and available to all.
Companies often have mechanisms in place to ensure compliance with these standards, rewards for good examples, and punishments for unethical behavior.
Examples of ethical work practices.
Even in companies that do not have a code of ethical conduct, there are behavioral parameters that must be taken into account by all professionals. These principles are based on common sense, that is, on the values that guide society as a whole.
An example is honesty . An ethical professional is one who tells the truth. Obtaining a false medical certificate to be absent from work or transferring the blame for a mistake you made to someone else are behaviors that undermine this value.
Any professional is also expected to have a respectful attitude towards colleagues and hierarchy . The ethical professional does not gossip, does not try to outwit another employee, and does not treat colleagues arrogantly. In the case of a boss, criticism is expected to be courteous, without debauchery or humiliation.
It is also necessary for everyone to separate their professional and personal relationships. Employees should be recognized or criticized based solely on their performance and competence. The responsible exercise of the function must be above any personal advantage. Accepting a gift from a supplier in exchange for closing a contract, for example, is not an ethical attitude.
Responsibility, transparency, competence, commitment and humility are other examples of the values of society that should be reflected in professional conduct.