Business Ethics – Defining, Identifying, and Navigating Ethical Dilemmas

“Being good is good for business,” – Anita Roddick – The Body Shop Founder

Companies that have created and maintain high ethical standards outperform competitors in all aspects of business – from profitability and stock prices to recruiting and business development.

Recently, PBO Advisory Group hosted a webinar devoted to the principles of business ethics. Below are some key takeaways. view webinar

According to our webinar presenters Wade Lindenberger, an instructor at UCSD Rady School of Management, and Anita Raygoza, PBO Advisory’s consulting director of HR Services:

  • Ethics are defined as distinguishing between right/ethical and wrong/unethical by applying core values.
  • Ethics should be a part of a company’s strategic planning process so everyone has a touchpoint.
  • The company values, on which ethics are based, should be created with employee input and should be discussed and demonstrated from the top down.
  • It doesn’t take any more time to be ethical.
  • A company’s ethics are put to the test in every aspect of business operations. Each department may have its own set of ethical standards in addition to the company’s overall standards.
  • Best practices for an employer to help employees embrace a company’s ethics include policies, training, accountability and leading by example.
  • When an act is considered unethical, use a process to navigate the situation. Wade refers to this navigation process as an Ethical GPS, which is completed as follows:
    • Determine whether you are facing an ethical dilemma
    • Determine stakeholders
    • Determine professional obligations
    • Gather facts
    • Consult with trusted advisors (be careful with confidential information)
    • Outline options and analyze pros and cons
    • Decide on a best course of action
    • Act clearly and decisively
    • Conduct a review to establish lessons learned
  • The Giving Voice to Values technique provides a way to more successfully advocate your ethical position by voicing your values to win hearts and minds, and includes:
    • To whom should I go for support?
    • What should I say to convince them that my position is the most ethical one?
    • How do I respond to the reasons and rationalizations I am likely to hear from my superiors?
    • What else do I need to do to ensure my position is heard and acted on?
  • Ethical actions make a difference only after you find a way to change the hearts and minds of others by effectively voicing your values in the context of your professional responsibilities.

At PBO Advisory Group, we are committed to our company’s core values, actively communicating and applying them on an ongoing basis. Each of our team members has completed ethical training, taught by Wade. From an HR perspective, Anita works with our clients to form ethical standards upon which the HR department operates.

We encourage you to watch the entire webinar. If your company needs to develop or update your values and ethics policies, this is a great place to start. Or feel free to reach out to Anita or Francesca San Diego, our chief financial officer who moderated the webinar, for more information.

Anita Raygoza, PHR, SHRM-CP, CBP
Consulting Director, HR Services
(858) 935-48476


Francesca San Diego
Consulting CFO & Member
(858) 935-48476