The Importance of Ethics in Business: A Primer

Regardless of your area of business or your specific career, ethics is the key to success. If you truly want to succeed in business, you need to have a strong sense of ethics. At Brescia University Online, we offer a variety of business degrees at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s level as well as an accounting certificate. Educating ethical members of the business workforce is our priority and we understand the importance of ethics in business. Ethical practices can help you make the most of your business career and get ahead. Here’s how.

The Benefits of Ethical Practices

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is an authority when it comes to ethics in the business world. They even provide a business ethics training program. Here are some of the reasons they give for why a high standard of ethics should be maintained at all times:

  • Employees and professionals can get distracted by questionable practices and ethical concerns. This often leads to loss of focus and increased business costs. In terms of distraction, the BBB reported that workers who witness questionable ethics incidents tell an average of eight of their fellow employees.
  • The reputations of both businesses and the employees that work for them can be compromised when ethical problems occur.
  • Employee retention and future recruitment are negatively affected by ethical lapses of employees and management.
  • Confusion and resentment among both employees and customers are common responses when there is a lack of clear ethical guidelines within a company.
  • Ethical companies attract higher quality employees, which reduces recruitment costs and draws in talent.
  • Investors are attracted to businesses that are known for ethical practices.

In more general terms, ethics should be practiced within every area of a business, and clear guidelines should be established to guarantee accountability. When a business or its employees are known to deal fairly with their clients and customers, the experience of long-term success is more likely.

Although the topic can be subjective and include different characteristics depending on who you ask, ethics are still important and play an important role in areas like hiring and management practices. Companies should inform all new employees of ethical guidelines so employees know what is expected of them and can maintain their company’s ethical standards. When a company hires quality, trustworthy employees, worker retention is also higher.

However, the importance of ethics does extend beyond relationships between management and employees. A business that interacts with its community in a positive way creates consistent and stable relationships with their customers and clients. In addition, customers who feel that they are being treated unfairly by a company will stop doing business with them— and spread the word about why.

What are Ethical Principles?

Although there is no standard code of ethics, there are still some principles that every professional and business should try hard to maintain. In today’s high-tech and competitive business world, character and conscience are making a comeback. And with almost universal access to the Internet, word travels fast when ethical practices aren’t upheld. Here are some characteristics of ethical businesses and professionals.


Ethical managers and employees earn a loyal client base through integrity. This principle refers to the quality of possessing and adhering to high moral and professional standards.


Though it is important to be loyal to your company, it is also important to be loyal to your clients and community. Avoiding conflicts of interest is an important aspect of loyalty.


In all aspects of business, it is important to be truthful and candid. Unethical businesses may try to deceive clients by miscommunication or keep inaccurate records, but this will ultimately jeopardize success.


Always consider the business, financial and professional consequences to your decision-making and keep the interests of stakeholders in mind.


Treat all people with respect and courtesy, regardless of whether they are a client, manger or fellow employee. Follow the Golden Rule and treat others how you want to be treated.


Above all it is important to abide by all laws, rules and regulations within your industry. This relates to business activities as well as employee behavior.


Perform your duties and responsibilities to the best of your ability and be well-informed about the functions of your company.


When you find yourself in a leadership position, it’s important to be conscious of the responsibilities involved. Be an ethical role model for those you are leading.


Work to build and protect the company’s reputation as well as the reputation of its employees. Avoid actions or decisions that undermine the respect your business commands.


Acknowledge and accept personal accountability for all of your actions, especially your mistakes. Work to improve and maintain positive work habits. 

Brescia University’s Online Business Programs

If you want to become a business professional who can function ethically in the industry, BUOnline has a variety of degree options you can choose from. Our dynamic programs help you build a foundation for success. We offer the following business-based programs:

Whether you are just getting started with your business education or are looking for advanced education and additional qualifications, get started with us today.