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Workplace Ethics

ZUMBEEL Live Forum

Islamabad | 30th March 2009

Jawwad Zaki
Discussion Points

• Ethics – the concept

• Workplace Ethics

• Cultural Dimensions

• The White, Black & Grey

• Where do we stand . . .
The Concept
eth·ic noun
a. A set of principles of right conduct.
b. A theory or a system of moral values.


a. The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a
b. The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession.

– The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language,

Third Edition copyright - 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company
Ethics are also about making choices that may not always feel good or seem
like they benefit you but are the “right” choices to make.

“Do unto others as you would have done to you.”
How do we define Ethics…

Could there be a set of absolute ethics?

What kind of behaviour do you expect from people around

you in daily life?

Ethics vs. Role Morality

Why would we discuss ethics?
Possible Outcomes of Ethics Study
- sensitivity to rights & responsibilities
- empathy
- sensitivity to ethical dimensions
- alternatives & choices
Workplace Ethics
There is no such thing as
workplace ethics;
ethics are the same,
(or, should be)
whether in the workplace or
in personal life.
“On the one hand there is the law, which deals with crime and
punishment. On the other there is religion, which deals with virtue and
sin. Organizational ethics sits in between -- it goes well beyond the
law, and links to the personal beliefs of employees, but its focus is the
corporation or association or government department. Such groups of
people must work together to achieve common goals, while also
striving to do the right thing in a complex, diverse world. “

Should an organization strive to define what is the right

conduct in it’s business?

Do you think defining a code of conduct brings in a change

w.r.t an organization’s values?
Leadership & Ethics
Cultural Dimensions
How the perception about ethics changes across cultures?

Where does religion fits in?

The challenge for a Global organization

-What is right in East may not be so in West

- Global Behaviours
- Locally accepted conduct

What could be the suitable option?
White, Black & Grey
Are the lines so clear as black & white?

How do organizations deal with the grey?

Are ethics for “employees”?

What mechanisms could be in place to support ethical

behaviour in an organization?
Where do we stand . . .
References / Further Reading:

•Scaling an Islamic work Ethic:,%201988.pdf

The Muslim World League. Journal, 9(3), 6-12. Naqvi, S. N. (1981)


•3D Ethics - implementing workplace values by Attracta Lagan & Brian Moran

•International Management by Richard Mead

•Faith, Morals & Money by Edward D. Zinbarg

For these books & a lot more “Google Books” is a very interesting source.