Steve Jones makes some good points about ethics in an Ethics editorial at SQLServerCentral.com.
My oldest daughter Manda is working on a masters in theology (and another masters in counseling, I think...). She said something that really stuck during a pre-Christmas lunch: "Integrity is now the key to business leadership and not just some nice-to-have trait."
One thing about business ethics is it doesn't lend itself to "balancing" like other things in our field. For example, Jeffrey Skilling could not argue that he engaged in proper accounting most of the time at Enron and should therefore not be punished for the few times he strayed.
There's also the myth that disclosure will absolve all that's wrong. Disclosure is nice, mind you, but calling the person you just screwed in a business deal and telling them "you've been screwed!" doesn't really make it right. "Un-screwing" is the solution - and good luck with that.
In an age where integrity is key it's not the 1,000 ethical things you or I do that will actually count, it's the absence of 1 unethical thing.
Thinking in this manner may seem difficult but it's more a matter of habit than anything else. I was fortunate to have a grandmother that drilled this fact into my very being. She said (several times) "Doing the right thing ain't always easy, but it's always the right thing."
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