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Chapter 4

Business Communication And The

Ethical Context
Background to Ethical Context

 Ethical Situations

 Ethics As a Communication Issue

 Ethics in Corporations–A Historical View

Background to Ethical Context

Ethical Situations

An Ethical dilemma is a complex situation that often involves

an apparent mental conflict between moral imperatives, in
which to obey one would result in transgressing another. This is
also called an ethical paradox.

Making ethical decisions is relatively easy when all the facts of

a situation are known.
Background to Ethical Context
Ethics As a Communication Issue

We communicate our values and beliefs to others via verbal

and nonverbal behavior.

 We are defined in the eyes of others according to the way

we behave.

 We also need to communicate to others the importance and

necessity of good ethics.

It follows that we have a responsibility to act in ways that

promote honesty and fairness to maximize the personal worth
of each person in the organization
Background to Ethical Context
Ethics in Corporations – A Historical View

Companies have long fought the battle of corporate corruption. Because

corporations are run by people and no human being is morally perfect,
ethical issues are bound to arise. How these issues are handled is the best
indicator of a corporation’s ethical commitment. Establish ethically moral
behavior in your corporation by taking the task seriously.

When company executives behave unethically, that behavior often ends up

in the news. While most companies have ethics policies, they don't
necessarily enforce or even follow them. By incorporating ethics into the
very heart of the business and reinforcing the idea of ethical behavior,
businesses can run efficiently, legally and ethically.
Communication and Ethical Issues

Legal Issues

Key Areas for Ethical Communication

Ethics and Organizational Responsibility

Communication and Ethical Issues
Legal Issues

Communicating ethically in the business arena challenges you on

several levels.
Legal issues have an impact on you personally and on the
organization to which you belong.

Legal issues in business communications become more complex

with the advancing improvement to technology. Use of new
devices increases efficiency and allows for more productivity, but it
also raises legal concerns as a business worries about the erosion
of privilege, interception of data or storage of communications.
Communication and Ethical Issues

 Key Areas for Ethical Communication

Ethical treatment of a subject takes time, thought, and preparation. As a

manager. It is important for you to focus on ethical communication in
three key areas:

Personal Written and Spoken Messages

Cross-Cultural Messages

Advertising Messages
Communication and Ethical Issues
 Key Areas for Ethical Communication
Personal Written and Spoken Messages
Your messages, both written and spoken, demonstrated not only
the message, you intended but also a message regarding your
values and integrity.
Use the guidelines to evaluate your purpose and motives in each
The guidelines are:
1. Message purpose
2. Research methods
3. Selection of material
4. Development of ideas
5. Use of language
6. Ethical context
7. Self-analysis
Communication and Ethical Issues
 Key Areas for Ethical Communication
Cross-Cultural Messages
Never before have so many people from different cultures lived
and worked together.
The world has become a global village, and the work force reflects
that diversity. Because we have such different customs and ways of
communicating, it is natural that misunderstandings occur in the
The cross-cultural ethical outline will help you assess your
ethicality in multicultural situations.
Cross-Cultural Ethical Guidelines:
1. Cultural context
2. Misunderstandings
3. Language
4. Accountability
Communication and Ethical Issues
Key Areas for Ethical Communication
Advertising Messages
It is ethically wrong to advertise products in ways that confuse.
Whether promoting a college jazz event, a gateway weekend, or a
line of products for a multimillion dollar company, the rule for
ethical advertising is consistent:
Tell the truth, don’t misrepresent , and don’t manipulate language
to create a false impression.
Ethical Guidelines for Advertising:
1. Language
2. Graphics/print
3. Omission
4. Truth
5. Accountability
Communication and Ethical Issues
Ethics and Organizational Responsibility
Business corporations exists for one reason: to make money . Today, however,
corporations are mindful of their corporate social responsibility, or CSR
(Corporate Social Responsibility), also known as their "triple bottom line,"
which includes a concern for profits, but also an ethical treatment of people
and the world in which we live. Proponents of CSR models say that
businesses are actually more profitable when they employ high CSR
standards, but that idea is still disputed by some corporate and financial

Human Rights
Community Development
Employee Welfare
Influence on Personal Ethics




Influence on Personal Ethics
 People

Your family played a large part in shaping your personal ethics.

Your family member and friends exert strong influence on your


Teacher, especially when you were younger, may have laid the
foundation for ethical decisions.

Personal ethics is strongly influence people around him including

,parent ,family ,teacher etc.
Influence on Personal Ethics
 Culture

Culture is an integral part of every society.

It is a learned pattern of behavior and ways in which a person

lives his or her life.

Culture is essential for the existence of a society, because it

binds people together. In the explicit sense of the term, culture
constitutes the music, food, arts and literature of a society. Culture
is way of life.

A culture is a way of life that is based on beliefs and values, such

as art, food, dance, rituals, religion, etc
Influence on Personal Ethics

 Philosophy

Theories of philosophy have long been concerned with ethical

and moral issues.

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems

concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, justice,
beauty, validity, mind and language.

A personal philosophy statement serves as an introduction to

you, focusing more on your beliefs and values than on life
experiences and biographical data.
Influence on Personal Ethics
 Law

Laws, some argue, represent the minimum standard of behavior.

Law is a set of rules in society set by the government in order to

maintain control.

Law of state has much and more influence one personal ethics.

Acting ethically mean following the law.

Influence on Personal Ethics
 Religion

Religion is belief in super natural and divine power or powers and

how we relate to them. It comprises of belief and practice.

Religious traditions give instructions to followers about what's

right and wrong. That is, belief systems define what is or isn't
ethical. In some religions, unethical behavior is punished and
ethical behavior is rewarded. In other religions, teachings provide
guidelines for ethics, but leave latitude for the believer to interpret
what is ethical and what isn't.