Personal Ethical Issues

The last level of ethical issues is personal issues. These deal with how we treat others within our

organization. For example, gossiping at work or taking credit for another’s work would be considered

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personal issues. As an employee of an organization, we may not have as much control over societal and

stakeholder issues, but certainly we have control over the personal issues level of ethics. This includes

“doing the right thing.” Doing the right thing affects our human relations in that if we are shown to be

trustworthy when making ethical decisions, it is more likely we can be promoted, or at the very least, earn

respect from our colleagues. Without this respect, our human relations with coworkers can be impacted


One of the biggest ethical challenges in the workplace is when our company’s ethics do not meet our own

personal ethics. For example, suppose you believe strongly that child labor should not be used to produce

clothing. You find out, however, that your company uses child labor in China to produce 10 percent of

your products. In this case, your personal values do not meet the societal and stakeholder values you find

important. This kind of difference in values can create challenges working in a particular organization.

When choosing the company or business we work for, it is important to make sure there is a match

between our personal values and the values within the organization.