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Workplace Behavior Ethics

QUESTION: What are some practical workplace behavior ethics?


Practical workplace behavior ethics are a matter of remembering that things should be done "decently and in order" (a famous quote from 1 Corinthians 14:40). In other words, there needs to be a basis for ethics that stems from something deeper than the immediate situation or human viewpoint. One can rationalize any choice or decision they make. However, these methods fail to give someone a clear moral compass. Therefore, one's personal behavior in the workplace has to be based on a solid ethical foundation and the only place to find that foundation is the Word of God.

The word "decently," in the passage cited above, comes from a Greek root word that means honestly or in a seemly manner. In a world where honesty is not highly prized and situational ethics abound, having a reputation for honesty in business dealings will not only bring peace of mind but will also reap reward. That means that one’s workplace behavior ethics of honest treatment for all: employer, fellow employees, vendors, and customers is a hallmark to be prized and not despised. It would be great if these ethics began at the top of the company. However, whether that is true or not, the call for decent and orderly behavior in the workplace should be the minimum standard by which every individual in the company operates. This means we understand that situational ethics do not result in personal integrity.

The word "order" in this same passage means an arranging, arrangement, a fixed succession observing a fixed time, due or right order, orderly condition, the post, rank, or position which one holds in civic or other affairs. Since this position generally depends on one's talents, experience, and resources, it extends to one’s character, fashion or mode of operation, quality, and style. In other words, this order is inclusive of every relationship and every endeavor that is employed in one’s life and that extends to the workplace environment. Workplace behavior ethics are not compartmentalized but in fact must be, across the board, consistent behavior that is the hallmark of a person's total life.

It is said that ethics or moral character is doing the right thing when no one is looking. "Take care! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don't shout about it as the hypocrites do -- blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4)

Workplace behavior ethics is doing the right thing for the sake of one’s personal integrity and fellowship with God. When the vertical relationship is right, the horizontal people-to-people, relationships will fall into their proper place. Therefore, this is more than just the "golden rule" of doing unto others, as we would have them to do unto us. There is an idea here that we go the extra mile to make sure that our workplace behavior ethics are above reproach at all times and that we work not just to please ourselves, but for the welfare of others, and to bring glory to God with our lives.

“Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

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