In a time of universal deceit— telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
— George Orwell

An Age of Skepticism

This pessimistic quote is most often attributed to English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic George Orwell. Although Orwell’s authorship of the quote cannot be unequivocally proven, I believe this quote profoundly encapsulates a popular belief in our culture: That we are very often being lied to, and subsequently we do not even expect the truth.

This skeptical business climate and the risks associated with inappropriate behavior and business practices has caused ethics/integrity to rise to the top of the agenda of most companies. Because we are in the managed services industry at Afidence—which means we work closely with people—honesty and integrity are paramount to maintaining lasting, healthy relationships. 

Examples

1. Cisco

Cisco is a highly successful, U.S. Based multinational company that manufactures state of the art networking equipment. Consider the model advocated by the Cisco Chairman and former CEO John Chambers: “Any success that is not achieved ethically is no success at all. At Cisco, we hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards, and we will not tolerate anything less.”

Cisco takes various steps to put corporate social responsibility (CSR) into action. Cisco manages its emissions and greenhouse gases to do its part to protect the environment. The company provides ethics training for every employee and it encourages a healthy work-life balance. Employees are also encouraged to donate money and volunteer for nonprofit organizations around the globe. 

2. Intel 

Intel Corporation is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California that designs and manufactures some of the best and most widely used computer processor chips in the world. The company is also a leading innovator of cloud technology. Intel’s Code of Conduct as stated by CEO Brian Krzanich is, “As we embrace new challenges and increase our presence in rapidly changing markets, one thing that must never change is our unflagging commitment to our values and the highest ethical standards. These core values and standards are the foundation of the unique Intel culture that differentiates us, builds our brand, and inspires our customers and suppliers.”

Why Pursue Good Business Ethics?

So, why is fostering CSR and good business ethics so important? According to author G.W. Reynolds, in his book Ethics in Information Technology (Cengage Learning, 2014), organizations have at least five good reasons for pursuing CSR goals and for promoting a work environment in which employees are encouraged to act ethically when making business decisions:

  • Gaining the goodwill of the community
  • Creating an organization that operates consistently
  • Fostering good business practices
  • Protecting the organization and its employees from legal action
  • Avoiding unfavorable publicity

CSR and good business ethics encompass more than following simple rules. Ethical companies, as shown in the examples above, go out of their way to leave an impression on everyone they interact with. CSR and good business ethics require a steadfast commitment to integrity and social responsibility. And in a world full of skepticism, integrity, and social responsibility are powerful differentiators.

Greg Krull

Sr. IT Consultant | Afidence

 

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