Developing ethics training for employees: What you need to know

Gertrude C. Chombo (gchombo12@gmail.com) is the Principal Consultant/CEO for Q-Train Consulting in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ethics has been defined as a “science of conduct.” It includes the basic ground rules by which we should live our lives. It is also defined as “the attempt to arrive at an understanding of the nature of human values, of how we ought to live, and of what constitutes right conduct.”[1] Merriam-Webster defines ethics as “a theory or system of moral values.”[2] On the other hand, morality is defined as “a doctrine or system of moral conduct” and being moral as “relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior.” Morality is also understood as a set of beliefs and values developed over time. In a nutshell, ethics simply means “to do what is right” or “to do what is good.”

Doing what is right or good, therefore, means you must have the knowledge of what is good and right. It follows that for you to have that knowledge, you need to have acquired it from somewhere. This is where ethics training comes in.

Ethics is evolving with global changes. However, according to Peter F. Drucker, ethics is nonnegotiable, and there is one ethics.[3] With increasing commercial activities, the need for ethics is increasing. Organizations have realized the need for more guidance and to ensure their activities support the common good and do not harm others. And the number of ethically inclined stakeholders is increasing. Examples of stakeholders include:

  • Local communities

  • Employees and managers

  • Investors

  • Customers

  • Government and civil society

  • Media

  • Competitors

  • Trade bodies

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