Definition of enterprise ethics

Enterprise ethics refers to the notion that business and ethics are not separate - that business knowledge and ethical understanding are critical components of good decisions made at all levels of organisations.

An enterprise ethics approach views individuals working in all areas of a company - for example , investor relations, marketing, operations or sales - as being responsible for ethics, and not just the people who have jobs related to ethics and compliance.

Every worker can take actions that embody the purpose, vision, values and ethical ideals of an organisation and its stakeholders. Enterprise ethics are most often initiated by ethical leadership which connect the goals of the organisation with those of the internal employees and external stakeholders.

Toyota’s reputation for quality was largely built upon the fact that all assembly line workers were empowered to pull the andon cord, which initiates the stoppage of the assembly line until an observed problem was resolved.

Zappos, the online clothes, shoes and accessories store, built their reputation for customer service in a similar fashion. The people answering the phones are expected to stay on the line with customers until problems are resolved and they have significant leeway in how to do this.

Enterprise ethics are about building and sustaining a culture where the company values are embodied by everyone in the company no matter where they sit in the organisational chart. [1]