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Ethics in Business and government

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Read the following case study and then discuss the question that follows

Ethics is about day-in, day-out living and working with others. The respect and dignity with which you treat your boss, subordinates, coworkers, friends, and even strangers who you may never encounter again in your lifetime matter if you aspire to be an ethical person. Moreover, it doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, female or male, or employed in the public or private sectors. Consider the 2007 National Business Ethics Survey conducted by the Ethics Resource Center.

 The survey canvassed, by telephone, more than 3,400 U.S. employees (1,929 responded) to learn about the ethical practices in the organizations for which they work. (The report can be accessed at research/nbes.asp.) On the positive side, the survey findings indicate that (1) the number of formal ethics and compliance programs in corporate America are increasing and (2) companies are moving beyond a singular focus on complying with laws and regulations and adopting a more comprehensive integrity approach to reduce misconduct. On the negative side, ethical misconduct remains very high, with more than half of employees reporting that they witnessed misconduct of some kind; many employees do not report misconduct, with one in eight fearful of retaliation; and only 9 percent of companies have strong ethical cultures. The report is available online at asp.

Discussion Questions

 1. Are ethics practices and behaviors in the business world different than those found in public service? If so, why?

2. Are ethical standards in business organizations higher or lower than those in public service organizations?

3. Is there more unethical behavior in government than in business?

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