MAKING BUSINESS ETHICAL OR IS ETHICAL BUSINESS AN OXYMORON?

In the course of my career I have clearly seen a direct correlation between ever increasing education and training on ethics and ethical behaviour in business. I use business in the broadest sense to include any activity which receives money, spends money or controls expenditure. The problem has been that the correlation is 100 per cent NEGATIVE. More education and training, lower business ethics.

A recent resume from a job seeker evidently showed that he was sensitive to ethical behaviour. He included in his list of KEY SKILLS this item

Solid moral compass and heightened awareness of workplace ethics.

What on earth have we come to when we are so aware of unethical behaviour that applicants are forced to claim that ‘hey, I’m not normal, I am stating that I am the ethical exception’. Having to proclaim ethicality should be about as appropriate on a resume as saying ‘if you employ me I am prepared to come to work’. But nonetheless it makes some sense, except it may provoke questions as to why the individual felt it necessary to mention, rather like the proverbial car salesman who puts ‘honest’ before his name.

Conclusion? Be ethical, act ethically. Make sure that your communication conveys the message WITHOUT stating so explicitly.

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