Let us talk about some myths in the field of business. In this article, I am specifically looking at myths regarding ethics in business. These are myths that you have to be careful of. Holding on to myths can be misleading and limiting. What is a myth, by the way? A myth is a commonly held but false belief, a common misconception. It can also be defined as a popular conception about real people or events which exaggerates or idealizes reality. Ethics are principles relating to right and wrong conduct. You can think of it as standards that govern the conduct of people, especially in a particular field e.g. business. So, we are discussing myths on business ethics to be wary of.

Myth One: Getting Ethical People Eliminates The Need For An Ethics Framework

This is a widespread myth that many business people, entrepreneurs, and enterprises live by. The assumption held here is that if you hire, work with, or partner with ethical people then you are good to go. This means moving forward you think there will not be a need to put together an ethics framework that the involved parties should adhere to. You will find that there will be no concrete ethics policies as a result. An example is assuming that hiring or partnering with a Christian guarantees ethical conduct. Where that can be true in some cases it is still necessary to have an ethics code they must adhere to. So, in running any enterprise, take time to work on and draft an ethics code that governs its culture.

Myth Two: Ethics Can Only Be Cultivated Through Religion

I gave the example of a Christian above for a reason. I was illustrating an example but also connecting it to this point. Many people assume that someone who belongs to a faith-based organization (FBO) e.g. Christianity is ethical. This comes from a standpoint that nowhere else other religion can a person be primed to be ethical.

(Not everyone under religion is ethical though but this is not my main point here).

The resultant wrong perspective held is that it is not possible to inculcate ethical values via measures put together at a business or startup. Many people think that it is only a religious belief system that can cultivate ethics in people. That is not true though; thinking that way is misleading. With proper management practices and responsible leadership, ethics can be cultivated by a startup or business.

Do not forget our definition of what ethics are. In the context of entrepreneurship or business, ethics explores right or wrong conduct in how someone interacts with the enterprise in question. So, as much as religion can cultivate ethical conduct, it is not the only way.

Myth Three: Keeping The Law Means You Are Ethical

This one might be an uncomfortable subject to discuss but it is important. Many of you think that if you are keeping the law then you are ethical. By ‘law’ I am referring to a body of binding rules and regulations, customs, and standards established in a community or grouping by its legislative and or judicial authorities. So it can be a country’s constitution, a company’s constitution, regulatory frameworks, and so on. Of course, adherence to the law can in essence mean you are ethical.

However, some laws in themselves can be unethical thus adhering to them makes you unethical. It is one of the ironies of the law. For instance, a company can treat someone e.g. an employee or client unethically with the full backing of the law. Thus it is important to appreciate the nuances that come with balancing between the law and what is ethical. What is legal might not always be ethical.

You might think these are trivial matters but they are pertinent. Business ethics are central to business, startup, or company culture. Business, startup, or company culture has a huge bearing on overall performance. If you do not get the ethics right chances are performance will be negatively affected. That is why it is relevant to know about the myths so that you dispel them. If you have not been prioritizing building a winning business, startup, or company culture, it is high time you start. Revolutionize it in 2022 and beyond.