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What is ethical behavior?

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Quick Answer

Ethical behavior is acting in a manner that is in tandem with what society considers to be good morals. Ethical behaviors are important because they guide people’s actions. Examples of ethical behavior include integrity, fairness, honesty and dignity.

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Ethical behavior is acquired at all levels of socialization such as in the family, in church and at school. In a workplace, employees are expected to uphold certain outlined ethical behaviors. For instance, employees may be required to dress in a defined way and use acceptable language as indicated in codes of conduct. Using abusive language towards a client or a colleague is usually deemed unethical and may result in some form of punishment. Employees may also be expected to maintain a high level of integrity and accountability. For instance, reporting to work late may indicate a lack of commitment to a company. Similarly, for a company to be profitable, it has to conduct its business in a way that upholds certain key moral principles.

Ethical behaviors determine an organization’s reputation to the public as well as to its employees. An organization's leadership effects employee morale and loyalty. Employees with good ethical behavior display integrity and honesty in the dispensation of their duties.

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