Causes of Unethical Business Behavior
Ethics are essential in any business, but they are especially so in public accounting. Public accountants have a legal duty to act with integrity and independence. When accountants do not follow the ethical standards established by their profession, this is referred to as unethical behavior.
Dr. Jordan Sudberg writes that unethical behavior occurs because there are three primary factors at work:
According to Dr. Sudberg, motivation for unethical behavior can take many forms, including greed, fear, unprofessionalism, or boredom. Reason can be understood as the underlying or immediate desires and needs that motivate an individual to act in specific ways.
Driven by greed, unethical behavior is often motivated by fear of loss or punishment.
That’s the foundation of prosperity and being ethical and fair in your actions and dealings. Motivation can be understood as the underlying or immediate desires and needs that motivate an individual to act in specific ways.
Self-interest is not always a bad thing or a source of unethical behavior.
Self-interest can be healthy and beneficial. People must be constantly aware that pleasing oneself will never hurt others.
The key to self-interest is to focus on what could make you happy as opposed to what “should” make you happy, which may, in turn, actually hurt you in the long run.
The idea of self-interest may seem a bit selfish, but it is not necessarily a bad thing.
A person could be seen as both healthy and selfish.
Individuals who engage in unhealthy or unethical behaviors may believe they are acting in their self-interest.
Perception can influence how an individual perceives ethical situations.
Perception is influenced by many factors, including cultural norms and the individual’s moral judgment.
People who view unethical behavior as acceptable will tend to act in a manner that may be unethical.
People who know the difference between right and wrong tend to avoid engaging in unethical acts.
Ethical behaviors and attitudes are essential in any business. Values are the summation of a person’s moral beliefs. Values are the values that guide an individual’s perception and influence their decision-making.
Dr. Jordan Sudberg believes that ethical behavior is determined by a person’s core values and values regarding specific situations and choices.
Core values explain how people want themselves or others to behave in certain situations. In contrast, values define how a person would want to act in specific cases or with particular people.
Individuals may have different core values, leading them to act ethically or unethically in certain situations.
Ethical behavior can be derived from a person’s core values.
Core values are the overarching attitudes and beliefs which guide an individual’s actions in a particular situation.
Core values are a person’s guiding principles, and the decision-making process is derived from them.
Ethical decision-making involves the recognition of consequences.
This recognition is essential to ethical behavior.
A significant component of an organization’s success is its ability to make ethical decisions with complete honesty and integrity in everything they do. Ethical behavior builds a reputation, which is the foundation for a successful business.