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12 Ethical Principles for Business
Ethical values, translated into active language establishing standards or rules describing the kind of
behavior an ethical person should and should not engage in, are ethical principles. The following list
of principles incorporate the characteristics and values that most people associate with ethical
1. HONESTY. Ethical executives are honest and truthful in all their dealings and they do not
deliberately mislead or deceive others by misrepresentations, overstatements, partial truths,
selective omissions, or any other means.
2. INTEGRITY. Ethical executives demonstrate personal integrity and the courage of their
convictions by doing what they think is right even when there is great pressure to do otherwise; they
are principled, honorable and upright; they will fight for their beliefs. They will not sacrifice principle
for expediency, be hypocritical, or unscrupulous.
3. PROMISE-KEEPING & TRUSTWORTHINESS. Ethical executives are worthy of trust. They are
candid and forthcoming in supplying relevant information and correcting misapprehensions of fact,
and they make every reasonable effort to fulfill the letter and spirit of their promises and
commitments. They do not interpret agreements in an unreasonably technical or legalistic manner in
order to rationalize non-compliance or create justifications for escaping their commitments.
4. LOYALTY. Ethical executives are worthy of trust, demonstrate fidelity and loyalty to persons and
institutions by friendship in adversity, support and devotion to duty; they do not use or disclose
information learned in confidence for personal advantage. They safeguard the ability to make
independent professional judgments by scrupulously avoiding undue influences and conflicts of
interest. They are loyal to their companies and colleagues and if they decide to accept other
employment, they provide reasonable notice, respect the proprietary information of their former
employer, and refuse to engage in any activities that take undue advantage of their previous
5. FAIRNESS. Ethical executives and fair and just in all dealings; they do not exercise power
arbitrarily, and do not use overreaching nor indecent means to gain or maintain any advantage nor
take undue advantage of another’s mistakes or difficulties. Fair persons manifest a commitment to
justice, the equal treatment of individuals, tolerance for and acceptance of diversity, the they are
open-minded; they are willing to admit they are wrong and, where appropriate, change their
positions and beliefs.
6. CONCERN FOR OTHERS. Ethical executives are caring, compassionate, benevolent and kind;
they like the Golden Rule, help those in need, and seek to accomplish their business objectives in a
manner that causes the least harm and the greatest positive good.
7. RESPECT FOR OTHERS. Ethical executives demonstrate respect for the human dignity,
autonomy, privacy, rights, and interests of all those who have a stake in their decisions; they are
courteous and treat all people with equal respect and dignity regardless of sex, race or national
8. LAW ABIDING. Ethical executives abide by laws, rules and regulations relating to their business
9. COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE. Ethical executives pursue excellence in performing their
duties, are well informed and prepared, and constantly endeavor to increase their proficiency in all
areas of responsibility.
10. LEADERSHIP. Ethical executives are conscious of the responsibilities and opportunities of their
position of leadership and seek to be positive ethical role models by their own conduct and by
helping to create an environment in which principled reasoning and ethical decision making are
11. REPUTATION AND MORALE. Ethical executives seek to protect and build the company’s good
reputation and the morale of its employees by engaging in no conduct that might undermine respect
and by taking whatever actions are necessary to correct or prevent inappropriate conduct of others.
12. ACCOUNTABILITY. Ethical executives acknowledge and accept personal accountability for the
ethical quality of their decisions and omissions to themselves, their colleagues, their companies, and
You might like https://www.facebook.com/JIBusinessEthics/?ref=hl and a broader blog on ethical
issues at www.whatwillmatter.com
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