Why pretending that you don’t need to prioritize ethics is hurting you.
I’m pretty lazy. I don’t like to do things that cause me more work. This is one of the main reasons why I prioritize being ethical. It saves me a lot of grief. I avoid scandal (unless someone else draws me in against my will). I avoid mistakes that were easily avoided. Plus, being responsible for my actions makes me work harder and I feel like I get more done. My ethics don’t allow me to excuse myself for not doing what I’m supposed to do.
All these benefits also transfer over into the workplace. A study by the Josephson Institute reports on the cost of unethical behavior in the workplace is eye opening (see: http://josephsoninstitute.org/pdf/Report_HiddenCostsUnethicalBehavior.pdf)
Here are a few of the costs associated with unethical workplace behavior:
• Lost sales
• Costs associated with legal fees resulting from scandals and problems
• Employee fraud (estimated at $600 billion/year)
• High employee turnover is pretty expensive
• Costs associated with intentionally sabotaged projects
• Costs associated with poor problem solving resulting for poor communication and withheld information
So the question we need to ask ourselves is – is allowing our ethics to lapse for expediency really expedient? I don’t think so. It’s like anything. There is always a cost associated with your actions. Choose your actions wisely, prioritize your ethics, and make your life a little bit easier and better as a result.