Ethical Communication is an Essential Part of Business

“Ethical Communication is an Essential Part of Business”

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Abstract

Ethical communication is regarded as an important aspect in successful business performance and stakeholder’s ability to cultivate trust and reliability to the business. This article will introduce the concept of ethical communication, define it, outline its advantages in relation to business success, outline some challenges that affect ethical communication, and in the end make a conclusion that proves whether the article thesis on ethical communication as an essential part of business is true. It will use literature review on business ethical communication to support or reject this thesis.

Introduction

According to Bowen et al. (2006) any operable business has a fundamental aim of making profits. However, in order for that business to thrive and survive, it must have a comprehensive networking and interconnections that will meet the needs and demands of the relevant stakeholders. The stakeholders in this case range from consumers, business partners, employees, the government, sponsors, and other businesses in the same line. Basically, people prefer to work with companies that uphold business ethics as a way of building trust and credibility for current and future business transactions. However, for ethical business to thrive, ethical communication must be put in place.

One fundamental aspect about ethical communication is that it tends to boost morale among employees and create a team feeling. It is a prerogative of collaboration capabilities within internal and external business operations whereby a professional and credible business relationship is created between the relevant stakeholders. As a result, a number of specific ethical goals must be achieved for corporate ethical communication to be fully implemented and the goals of any business to be achieved. The aspect of communicating ethically has the objective of creating a string business relationship in a business setting (Pearson, 2017).

There is vast importance in a business promoting ethical communication in its daily business operations. Ethical communication can be defined as the societal acceptable code of conduct which is known as ethics. This means that truthful information that ensures that others are not harmed or misled is availed. Treating people with respect, keeping business stakeholders informed, promising what one can truly deliver, and information confidentiality are major factors that guide ethical communication for better business performance and capturing of new consumer domains (Bowen et al. 2006).

Moreover, lack of ethical communication is a sign of disrespect and all it does is erode the existing business relationship and compromises the image and integrity of people working in that business. Ethical communication is meant to create a good rapport with business stakeholders wile upholding business virtues and principles for fair business transactions. This article explores various business concepts and literatures and presents an argument that aims at supporting the claim that “Ethical communication is an essential part of business”.

Good businesses are formed on the principles of ethical practices. This comes as an advantage as companies use business ethics to drive profits and maintain good relationship with relevant stakeholders. When these ethics are incorporated in business communication, the thrive of the business becomes even better and more profits are realized as an ethical culture is created. Communication of strong ethical business practices forms the basis of good public image that fetch more customers for the business while ensuring the existing customer domain is retained (Thill and Bovée, 2006).

Ethical communication is known to cultivate honesty as a fundamental ethical principle. Trust can never be created if the communicated message and business arrangements has no honesty. Honest communication ensures that one company develops trust with other and thus creating better business rapport. A good examples of ethical communication platform is in social media and online commercials. The principle of honesty must be applied in these commercials as a way of avoiding mislead of consumers on product quality and purposes (Pearson, 2017). This makes consumers develop trust in the company and cultivate confidence in the products being sold.

A brand is created when a company makes ethical communication its core culture. Communication must clearly label an opinion, fact, or a speculation when addressing an issue pertaining business. Clarity is an aspect that comes with ethical communication and it distinguishes fact from opinion, this is an aspect that must be upheld in ethical communication. The information presented to the public should not obfuscate or even fetch confusion to the public in a manner that manipulates them into accepting product or services offered by the company (Guffey and Loewy, 2010)

Another ethical communication aspect that promotes better operations and collaborative running of a business is the ability to acknowledge information sources. Information credibility is as important as the communication process used. Information must come from reliable sources and conveyed to the intended recipient in the intended form. In this context, recognizing and crediting employees based on better performance creates acknowledgement that gives motivation to them for better future performance (Pearson, 2017). This means that the overall business performance is affected positively.

Moreover, giving credit as a part of ethical communication extends to acknowledging one’s ideas and intellectual property. Another ethical contribution of communication to business is the ability of business to keep confidential information pertaining to business partners. Protecting confidential information for a company is an ethical obligation for all the stakeholders in that business. Any breach not only puts the survival of the business at jeopardy, but also compromises on the overall performance and profitability of the business since rival companies will easily steal the ideas and gain entrance into its market domain (Bowen et al. 2006).

As Guffey and Loewy (2010) put it, ethical communication also ensures that the aspect of accepting responsibilities is cultivated. Owning mistakes and planning ahead while keeping a communication platform that promotes collaboration among employees is what creates teamwork. Teamwork is great for performance purposes. It leads to sharing of ideas, learning new things, and sharpening of one’s skills through helping each other. Without ethical communication, businesses may end up crumbling due to lack of better relationship between stakeholders. When project investors continue getting positive feedback and reports from various stakeholders on business performance, they end up investing more in the same firm.

Based on what DeVito (1995) outlines, ethical communication also demands that it is illegal to discriminate customers, employees, or any other stakeholder based on their gender, race, culture, appearance, political affiliations, and religious grounds. Socially responsible and ethical business aims at not only benefiting the investors of business but also the environment and the community around that business. As a result, it is their ethical responsibility to communicate its business practices to the community so that they can understand what is done and how the business plans to conserve the environment. As a result, its social responsibilities towards these community members get highly recognized and appreciated.

However, sometimes ethical communication has its setbacks. One may be viewed through the need to uphold company information confidential. Sometimes this information may be intended to harm the consumers and the employees of the company know about it but they are bound to keep it a secret. This means that a conflict of interest between ethics and morality is realized. If an employee decided to uphold ethical communication in this case, they may end up hurting the consumer who should be protected by getting quality staff in the first place (Guffey and Loewy, 2010).

The vulnerability of information to theft and manipulation in a business setting also affects the concept of ethical communication a step back. Stolen private information for stakeholders can be used to breach the database of the firm and in the process compromising more information. The other negative aspect is the bureaucracy that exists in the navigating barriers such as message clarity, frequency and quantity that may affect the ability of the organization to read, categorize and respond. Moreover, investing in ethical communication is costly as it may require change of business policies that may in one way or the other affect employees and lead to some of them leaving DeVito (1995).

However, despite these few setbacks in ethical communication, the fundamental aspect remains that ethics in communication add business value. This value is shared among stakeholders as transparency and business credibility is enhanced among the people involved and the community. Most importantly, ethical practices, collaboration, honesty, and promotion of trust are all enhanced. Ethical business decisions can only be made if they are well communicated to the relevant stakeholders (Guffey and Loewy, 2010).

Conclusion

Despite the few hiccups that challenge ethical communication, it is very important in the success of any business. First of all it promotes honesty, trust, integrity, and reliable and credible business partnership or relationship between the stakeholders. It promotes information confidentiality, good public image, expands the customer domain in the market, promotes corporate social responsibility, and in the process the overall performance of the business is improved.

References

Bowen, S.A., Heath, R.L., Lee, J., Painter, G., Agraz, F.J., McKie, D. and Toledano, M., 2006. The business of truth: A guide to ethical communication. San Francisco, CA: IABC Research Foundation.

DeVito, J.A., 1995. The interpersonal communication book. New York.

Guffey, M.E. and Loewy, D., 2010. Business communication: Process and product. Cengage Learning.

Pearson, R., 2017. Business ethics as communication ethics: Public relations practice and the idea of dialogue. In Public relations theory(pp. 111-131). Routledge.

Thill, J.V. and Bovée, C.L., 2006. Excellence in business communication. Prentice-Hall, Inc..