Models of Ethical Behavior in Business

by Daniella Lauren ; Updated September 26, 2017

Ethics is an important part of business. Companies use ethical behavior models to ensure managers and employees follow the proper rules of the company and the business environment when working. Many organizations develop guidelines to train and educate employees on proper ethical behavior in the workplace. Ethical guidelines can help relieve the pressure a company faces from consumers, competitors and the economic market when conducting business.


Leadership is the primary way companies foster proper ethical behavior. Leaders and executive managers have a responsibility to set the tone for ethical behavior by conducting business in an ethical and moral manner. If a leader fails to display a proper ethical behavior, workers may be unwilling to accept the company's ethical guidelines.

Leaders who act ethically ensure that problems and issues in the company are identified quickly and handled appropriately by managers and employees. Proper leadership ethics also maintain an organization's long-term viability and business environment, because customers are more willing to embrace an ethical company.

Company Culture

A company culture is the intangible business environment created by leaders and executive managers. Leaders use the company's culture to pass on the mission, goals and objectives and how employees should approach jobs when helping the company reach its goals. Important elements of a strong company culture include integrity, trust, leadership, professional behavior and flexibility. Leaders and executive managers should weave these elements into company culture to ensure employees understand and follow ethical business principles.

Companies can teach employees the company’s culture by using manuals or informal meetings. These mediums give management an opportunity to explain the importance of ethical business behavior.

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Ethics Pledge

Companies may use a pledge to ensure employees act ethically when dealing with different business situations. These pledges, confirmed by an employee's signature, state a worker's willingness to agree with and follow the company's ethical principles. Companies may also use these pledges to reinforce the importance of business ethics and why employees must sign the pledge and follow these principles. Ethics pledges also grant employees the freedom to report unethical business practices by managers or other employees. Most companies use an anonymous reporting method to ensure employees aren't castigated or punished for turning in people who engage in unethical behavior.

About the Author

Daniella Lauren has worked with eHow and various new media sites as a freelance writer since 2009. Her work covers topics in education, business, and home and garden. Daniella holds a Master of Science in elementary education and a Bachelor of Arts in history from Pensacola Christian College.

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