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Ethics & Its Real Interpretation

Ethics & Its Real Interpretation

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Published by Nataraj Viswanathan
Nataraj Viswanathan weaves his thoughts and analysis on Old Ethical values verses the change and its application on Business.
Nataraj Viswanathan weaves his thoughts and analysis on Old Ethical values verses the change and its application on Business.

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Published by: Nataraj Viswanathan on Apr 06, 2009
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Every individual has to come across the word Ethics. Conceited fact is that many firms, Social organizations have the chum for Ethical practice, creation, and renascence largely pious and virtuous. Ethics are not mere values of life but also certain key conducive factors that are followed while performing an act of life. Ethics – the values, for most of the people are hereditary, few values can be practiced, and few imbibed by way of mingling with virtuous people in the society or place of work. Moral principles of life, code of conduct, moral values, all attribute towards understanding ethics better. Over a period of years and metamorphosis of the human life since its evolution, ethics and values have undergone changes based on various experiences of past and in context to the way of life that was followed during each interval of historic times. I am trying to write this article based on my way of thinking and facts cum experiences of life. Focus is more towards Business Ethics at the end.

Ethics during bygone days:
There are some key values like, Speaking truth, Humbleness, Love and affection, respecting elders, e.t.c which have been part of Vedic scriptures and also been emerged and retold by saints and prophets who came and disappeared over a period of years. All religions speak about some universal ethical values and principles, which apply, to all human beings. Indian history talks about caste system like, Brahmin, Kshatriya e.t.c where in each race or caste used to have their, own ethical values and principles that were followed. To name a few such values…

A. “Kshatriyas” They should not leave an animal wounded, while hunting. If ventured for hunting they should not return back wounding the animal, rather they should see to it that the animal is killed. One more dharma or ethical practice to be followed was, rule the kingdom, and lay down lives to protect the interest of the country and its people. They were supposed to rule in such a manner that justice and peace was equally available to all. B. “Vysyas” Their job was to amass wealth both for self and social welfare purpose. Their job was also to initiate business opportunities and see to it that fair trade practices were carried out. Most of these people used to be the vajeers (Finance controller) in any kingdom. They used to have a control as well as take care of reserves that are required to run the king’s palace as well as welfare activities of public. C. “Brahmin” They were supposed to suppress their impulses on physical enjoyment. They were supposed to take care of the religious activities of the kingdom as well as caretakers of temple activities and its assets. Similarly there were further downtrodden castes which had their own ethical way of carrying their activities.

The higher the caste status, more the social obligation was the rule. Ethical values of each caste were followed by generations together. Ethics in Politics: Ethics in Kautilya’s Arthasastra speaks about cutting a decayed finger for the benefit of an individual, abjuration of a child for the family welfare, similarly sacrificing a village for welfare of the home country. Ethics in Life: Human life is divided into four stages, childhood, youth (Brahmacharya), married life (Samsara), and old age (Sanyasa). Each of these stages has their own principles and values to be followed. An ethical value of married life cannot be an ethical value for Old age. Ethics in War: Lord Krishna in Bhagvad Gita, enlightens Arjuna by saying, “Hey Arjuna, do not get confused or perplexed by seeing your brothers and relatives on the opposite side. This war is for dharma and your job is to kill the enemy that is supporting Adharma.” Epic and literature like Bhagvad Gita & Arthasastra are mere examples of earlier existence of ethics and values.

Ethics in the present world: Ethics and values in Today’s General Scenario
As said before, Ethics today too plays an important role in every ones life, be it an individual, corporate segment, Business, Politics, sports, e.t.c Time has come when most of them speak about culture, policies, the right way to do things, and in the process, ethics or values take a beating quite often. Few of them correct themselves based on experiences and few do not care about it. Ethical values have changed and redefined by individuals with the renaissance in social values, culture, and upsurge of glamour and fashion.

The ethical values and down the line knowledge sharing of the same has also undergone, a big alteration since the evolution of nuclear family and society moving up, encouraging youngsters and fresh minds to take independent decisions. With the increasing IT culture, and speedy communications, ethical values of various communities gets merged and certain other global culture and values are replacing the local ethical thoughts. Maslow’s theory of needs speaks about a steady growth of an individual with the assumption that certain values and behavioral aspects are imbibed based on age, experience and other factors too. Just for academic interest if we were to show a relationship between Maslow’s Theory of Needs and Ethics we can easily say that ethical values has to elevate or surge as one climbs the Maslow’s pyramid as shown in Dig-1


Ethical values to be on an increasing trend

This means that ethical values are directly proportional to the growth in Maslow’s pyramid. To reach the topmost level of the Maslow’s pyramid, one has to have more values and principles in life, which are ethical by nature or applauded virtues accepted by society as a whole.

Ethics and values in Today’s Business Scenario
If we were to talk about Ethics and values governing the Business or Corporate culture, its broadly divided into two, one for the core internal customers to which the individual or group belongs, the other external customers wherein individual or group are associated to some other Corporate or business organization. The setting up of, ethical rules and regulations, governance, and knowledge sharing of such Ethical values, brings in transparency to the entire business. Few corporate sectors have really emerged successful in inculcating such virtues and have put in place the modus operandi and governance policies for both internal and external customers. With more forums and social organizations coming into existence for Woman, Consumers, children etc. The ethical values undergo renaissance and tries to keep its pace with the present environment. V.Nataraj Executive – Retail Titan Industries Limited 4th Floor, Mitra Towers, 10/4 Kasturba Road, Bangalore – 560 001 Ph: 41504131, Cell: 9880303504 nataraj@titan.co.in

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