The Importance of Business Ethics as a Core Pillar in an Organizations Culture

Ethics are a core pillar in an organization’s culture, with many businesses having their own definition of what constitutes that businesses’ codes of ethics. The principle, however, remains the same, these ethics drive the organization’s culture toward pre- determined goals. During the course of this paper, I will explore the ethical code of conduct of the United States Navy, how these ethics reflect the culture of the Navy and how the Navy’s ethical code of conduct and organizational culture reflect my own personal views on ethics and behavior.

My last employer was the United States Navy, whose core values are honor, courage and commitment; these values are engrained in every recruit who signs up, from the very first day. These core values serve as the Navy’s foundation of its organizational culture and define how the Navy wants to be perceived by both employers and the general public. The Navy further defines each of these three core values; honor calls for employees to “conduct themselves in the highest ethical manner in all relationships with peers, superiors and subordinates”, to be honest and truthful and to take responsibility for actions.

Courage calls for employees to meet professional and mission orientated demands, even when it is hazardous, demanding or difficult and to make decisions with the best interest of the Navy and the nation, disregarding personal consequences.

Lastly, commitment calls for employees to care for the safety and well-being of others, treat people with human dignity and respect and commit to positive changes and improvement; true commitment should be an unconditional trait, where commitment cannot be swayed by consequences, lack of recognition, or other events.

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The Navy’s core values of ethics are the building blocks of its culture and serve as a guide for new employees to learn the Navy’s cultural behavior and define good behavior versus bad behavior. The Navy, and the military in general, need to be perceived by the American public as the “good guys”, any negative publicity of a single military member is reflected upon the entire military, creating a discourse between the armed forces and those they protect and causing a decline in trust, similar to that seen in the civilian sector, where surveys have shown a steep decline in trust between corporations and the public. (Bart, 2011).

The foundation of values and ethics for the Navy are based on tradition and do not change as a whole, but are instead tweaked based on leadership’s views and needs; ethics within an organization may change from time to time as leadership changes personnel or agendas, but as a general rule, ethics should not be created or changed solely as a reaction to a crisis, as such an action could give off the perception that an organization only cares about ethics when the organization itself actually needs to. (Bart, 2011).

Individuals, like businesses, may hold different views of what is considered ethical; for me, ethics can be summed up as doing what is right, no matter the reward or consequences. Additionally, my personal rule on ethics is “if something requires lying, or emission of the truth, then there is a good chance it is unethical” and, above all else, I hold honor as the key trait to ethical behavior. Rakicheviki, Strezoska and Najdeska said it best, “Ethics is the philosophical discipline of morality.” (2010).

When I compare my own ethics to those of the Navy, it would be obvious to point out that the Navy has affected my views on ethics, as the military is a lifestyle as well as a job. However, in retrospect, I have always valued honesty and the ability to be unconditionally committed to something. Personal ethics are learned far before a person participates in any organization’s ethics, taught to a person by his or her parents, teachers, the church and other influential, respected people in a person’s life. (Rakicheviki, Strezoska & Najdeska, 2010).

Having a strong set of values and ethics will help an individual transition to a business that requires a high code of ethics, as ethics are not something that can typically be picked up by a person in a short amount of time and are instead a learned cultural behavior; as a learned cultural behavior, businesses that employ a long-term and continuous process of teaching the organization’s ethics to its employees will have an increased chance of passing those ethics to its employees and having a group of employees with a high degree of morality and trustworthiness that the company admires. (Rakicheviki, Strezoska & Najdeska, 2010).

The core concepts of ethics are very similar, however, it is an organization’s prerogative to set and employ its own specific guidelines in regards to ethics. The values and ethics of the United States Navy, for example, are time honored at their core, but ever changing to fit current needs and agendas. I find that my personal values are well in sync with the organizational values of the Navy and that being a part of that military lifestyle helped bring my views further in sync. Ethics is a learned behavioral trait and companies who employ a long-term and continuous plan in regards to organizational ethics are more likely to see employees who share similar views on ethics and values.

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The Importance of Business Ethics as a Core Pillar in an Organizations Culture. (2023, Feb 15). Retrieved from

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