Ethical Standards And Behaviours In The Office (Ethical Principles)

Table Of Contents

  • Definition Of Ethics
  • Ethical Principles In The Workplace
  • Positive Work Ethics
  • The Relevance Of Positive Work Ethics
  • Negative Work Ethics

The office is any place where people (workers) coverage to perform one official and legal activity or the other for the achievement of organizational objectives. Both upward, downward, and horizontal interactions take place amongst the staff in any work. That is to say, communication inform instructions, orders, commands, pleasantries, etc, take place on daily bases among directors, senior staff, and junior staffers in every establishment. Communication also flows from senior to junior and from junior to senior for the effective functioning of the office.

Office work demands respect for one another. The rights and life of human beings are given prior consideration in decision making so that feelings would not be injured. In short, there should be justice, equity and fair-play in dealing with staff generally in order not to infringe on anybody’s right. This is because once individual rights are infringed upon, it gives rise to unhealthy work relationship which is never for the good of neither the staffers nor the firm itself.

Thus, there are always rules and regulations guiding the behaviour of workers towards fellow workers and towards their work. This can be called ethical standards and behaviours in the work place; that is the way people suppose to behave while carrying out their day to day official activities for there to be peace, love and progress for all and sundry in the organization. This article therefore deals with positive and negative work either and their impact on the entire work environment.

Definition Of Ethics

The word “ethics” is defined as a set of principles that people use to decide what is right and what is wrong; the study of the principle of what is right or wrong. Ethics is also seen as, “the totality of moral principles or sets of values about what conduct ought to be, discipline dealing with that which is good and bad with moral duty and obligation”.

Generally, ethics, whether as principles of conduct or a field of study dwells on right or wrong human behaviours exhibited in the process of daily relationship with one another especially in the office.

Ethical Principles In The Workplace (Code Of Conduct)

The following are some ethical principles that should guide worker’s attitude in dealing with their colleagues or visitors at the office:

1. Principle Of Honesty
2. Principle Of Promptness
3. Principle Of Dedication
4. Principle Of Loyalty
5. Principle Of Reliability
6. Principle Of Adaptability
7. Principle Of Self-Control
8. Principle Of Punctuality
9. Principle Of Respect For Constituted Authority
10. Principle Of Responsibility
11. Principle Of Diplomacy, Tact And Discretion
12. Principle Of Equity
13. Principle Of Care For Government Property
14. Principle Of Conscientiousness
15. Principle Of Self-Determination

The above listed ethical principles are vividly expatiated below:

1. Principle Of Honesty

Honesty, they said, “is the best policy”. Thus, every worker should be honest in the execution of his daily function. Honesty and truth are like straight lines that go straight up or along while dishonesty and lying are like twisted or slopping lines.

2. Principle Of Promptness

The office worker should be prompt in giving attention to visitors, clients, customers, etc to the office. This means that he should give them immediate and quick attention to make them feel happy and belonged. By doing this he can count on their patronage.

3. Principle Of Dedication

This means spending a large amount of one’s time and effort to the achievement of organizational objectives. Staff does not engage in gossips when things are going wrong in the office; instead he finds a way to salvaging the situation.

4. Principle Of Loyalty

Loyalty is the support that you always give to someone or something because of your feelings of duty or love towards them. Thus, workers should give complete loyalty to constituted authorities especially in promoting good intentions.

5. Principle Of Reliability

This is the quality of being reliable. A reliable staff is one who you can trust to behave well, work hard, or do what you expect him to do. This type of fellow is always entrusted with official secrets.

6. Principle Of Adaptability

To adapt is to change your ideas or behaviour so that you can deal with a new situation. Workers should be easily adaptable to changes in their places of work in order to fit in, in the often raidly changing work environment.

7. Principle Of Self-Control

This is a quality that is very often lacking in many staff. It is the ability of a staff to control his behaviour and not show strong emotions such as anger or sadness even when he has good reason to flay up or lose control.

8. Principle Of Punctuality

Punctuality is the sole of business. This ethical principle should be a properlling force that moves staff who wants to be loved and friendly with his boss. Punctuality is the attitude of arriving at the office at the right time. When a worker is often punctual to office, he will be able to attend to such visitors who arrive early to the office for one thing or the other.

9. Principle Of Respect For Constituted Authority

It is a maxim that respect is reciprocal. Respect is a feeling of admiration that you have for someone because of their personal qualities, their achievements, or their status, which you show by treating in a polite and kind way. But ethics demands that a worker should show respect to his boss and colleagues no matter their position.

10. Principle Of Responsibility

This is the state of being in charge of someone or something and of making sure that what they doe or what happens to them is right or satisfactory. Every staff should always be ready to take responsibility of some integral functions of an organization in order to realize its goal and aspiration.

11. Principle Of Equity/Fairness

Equity means fairness. The principle of equity demands that everybody in an organization, from the most senior to the least paid staff, should be fair in their treatment of issues.

12. Principle Of Self-Discipline

The ability to control your behavior so that you do what you should do, when you should do it, is called self-discipline. A personally disciplined staff is one who performs his assigned job at the right time. He does not need to be scolded or punished in order to execute his task.

Positive Work Ethics

Organizational effectiveness and efficiency is a direct result of positive work ethics. Positive work ethics are acquired or potential moral human standards, the summation of which leads to the achievement of firm’s objectives. Therefore for an establishment to thrive its work force must exhibit nothing more than positive work ethic among which are:

1. Preservation Of Official Secrets.

2. Care of government property.

3. Team work or co-operative attitude to work.

4. Perseverance.

5. Punctual to work.

6. Enthusiastic attitude: one of the most powerful engines of business success is enthusiasm. It is the feeling of being very interested in one’s work or being excited by it.

7. Commitment.

8. Courtesy: It means being civil or polite to other people, customers, coworkers, subordinates, even the boss. Courtesy is most important in getting new customers and employees, as well as in keeping old customers and employees.

9. Patience.

10. Confidence: This is of two types: self-confidence and confidence in others.

The Relevance Of Positive Work Ethics

The fact remains that the relevance of positive work ethics in an organization cannot be over-emphasized. Positive standard work behaviours are highly connected and instrumental to organizational success. No establishment fails if its employers and employees firmly recognize, encourage, and pursue the enthronement of positive work ethics whose importance are listed hereunder:

1. Healthy organizational environment.

2. Discourages behaviours detrimental to the organization.

3. Encourages employees to be more productive.

4. Helps to retain customers and suppliers.

5. It gives good reputation to the company.

6. It boots the profit level of the organization.

7. The production level of the organization will be increased.

8. It helps to do things well and promptly.

9. Customers get quality services.

10. It makes the firm to treat their employees fairly.

11. It reduces high labour turnover.

12. Employees are more disciplined.

13. Workers are more likely to receive better pay.

14. Greater fringe benefits to workers.

15. Creates conducive employer-employee relationship.

16. Increases employee’s morale.

17. Promotes good atmosphere between the organization and her host community.

Negative Work Ethics

WAI War Against Indiscipline was introduced in Nigeria by the military to forestall the bad impact of negative work ethics in the public and private sectors of the nation. But up till today, indiscipline remains a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the faculty of most Nigerian civil servants.

Negative work ethics is a deliberate or in-deliberate refusal to do the right thing for the benefits of others. Examples of negative work ethics exhibited by most Nigerian workers are_

1. Sleeping on duty.

2. Divulging of confidential information.

3. Lateness to work.

4. Sexual harassment.

5. Trading in the office.

6. Acts of insubordination and sabotage.

7. Indecent dressing.

8. Alcohol drinking/smoking.

9. Bringing children to the office.

10. Laziness and malingering.

11. Stealing/Dishonesty/fraud.

12. Receiving visitors during office works.

13. Aggressive manners.

14. Nagging in the office.

15. Manicuring and Pedi curing in the office.

16. Idle gossips.

17. Misuse of government property.

18. Absenteeism.

19. Unfaithfulness to duty.

20. Engaging in idle chats.

21. Illegal outside duties.

22. Discrimination/nepotism/ethnicity.

23. Name-dropping.

24. Licentiousness.

25. Abuse of trust

The above-listed acts of indiscipline compromise staff efficiency and therefore lower productivity.

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