April 12, 2013
Without personal ethics there is no business ethics

These days when crisis seems to have no end, when corruption cases appear everywhere, showing that in the professional practice interests that move people and organizations are not always regulated by the values that human behaviour should have, we should wonder to what extent professional and business ethics can exist without framing it in ethics in the widest sense; that is, in the daily behaviour of people, both in interpersonal relationships, in coexistence and in respect for the Earth, which is not ours, is only a loan given by future generations. I think that there is no professional or business ethics without assuming that a good professional, a good entrepreneur or a good manager or business owner has to be a good human being. Without this condition that becomes necessary and indispensable ethics is only a written piece of paper, something used for marketing operations or justifying inexplicable actions. Certainly human beings are action, thought and feelings, three components that only when they become synergic and symbiotic coherence appears. Therefore, to act ethically means firstly to become coherent. To be coherent with own and professional actions and actions as a citizen, and in the collective actions framed in business unfolding. To act from coherence means to develop in accordance with values that tinge the behaviour, that is when we can speak about professional and business ethics, neither before nor after. Values are what make that, when business ethics is appealed to justify actions, words are not something empty, rhetoric to justify the unjustifiable or to ignore someone else’s suffering, fruit of growing unbalances that reach the society. A society more and more fragmented and in which, seeking protection in "it is necessary to act with professionalism", often people look the other way setting aside coherence and looking for comfort, or maintaining positions of hypothetical privilege or dominant position. Values are what support ethics in general, and specifically professional ethics to guarantee the alignment of the whole team acting in accordance with what is desirable, and at the same time to banish what is to despise and must not be done. Values that cannot ignore socioeconomic reality, nor aspects associated with environmental unbalances and indispensable criteria in relation with sustainability, nor the rightful social progress, in no way cannot ignore that all business development must be accompanied by professional development of its members and conciliation of it with personal development, aspects that cannot despise the traditional and unfair gender discrimination suffered by women in a society that, using maternity, put highly qualified and committed people aside from responsibility posts. Values that must guide the enterprise productive development in a context of a more and more global, heterogeneous, unbalanced and deregulated society and culture. A set of values that must regulate actions of each member of the enterprise. Consequently, business ethics is something that must impregnate the action of each member of the organization, all of them without exception, in such a way that the challenge of acting with the associated values "to act in accordance with what is desirable and to banish what is to despise¬" will only be achieved if within the enterprise each member internalize it as an own code of conduct. Then the group becomes team, a link which means that its members practise coherence in a framework of responsibility, loyalty, transparency and honesty. Values that exude from the enterprise to the exterior and that slant the enterprise, as an organization, to be coresponsable both for collective progress and common good. Business ethics, therefore, is not only a set of written and divulged values and principles, but also a culture reached by each and every one of its members, with a triple objective: to work for efficiency, to do more with less; to enable human and personal growing of each of its members, without exclusions, and establishing as a limit only will and own abilities, and, finally, to get a full understanding with the society where it is developed, accepting the challenge of being coresponsable for collective development and social progress. Consequently, business ethics is closely linked to professional ethics, to the way of practicing the professional activity, and this to behaviour and values that regulate the day-to-day of each human being. This last aspect is the basis of the ethical building of all organization, because makes each person wonder whether its actions are framed in the values that entail that each person acts consistently, and at the same time makes them think in society in which they are immersed, knowing that the person that grows looks for business progress, respecting and facilitating collective development. Personal ethics acting from coherence and professional ethics developing the activity in the framework of acceptance of the principles and values that impregnate the organization are the two pillars allowing achieving business ethics, and not the other way round, because once again it should be understood that in freedom people make the organization and not the organization makes people. Antoni Garrell i Guiu 12.04.2013