Business and personal ethics interact constantly. At first glance, business and personal ethics seem to belong to two different domains, professional and personal life of individuals respectively. However, they have mutual impact on each other. Some argues that personal ethics defines business and business ethics of individuals, while others, in contrast, argue that it is business that defines personal ethics. In spite of their differences, they interact with each other and are similar to each other.
In fact, business is closely intertwined with personal ethics and they are similar to each other. To put it more precisely, business is conducted by individuals. Therefore, personal ethics of each individual defines his/her business ethics and behavior in business.
Furthermore, personal ethics influences behavior of individuals and their relations with their business partners and customers. Individuals learn certain behavioral patterns, which they extrapolate on business. For instance, an individual may be success-oriented in his/her personal life and he/she extrapolates this feature on his/her professional career or business activities.
At the same time, personal ethics is inseparable from business because often personal relations have attributes of business-like relations. For instance, couples often sing a contract before they get married. On the one hand, marriage is almost a sacred, very personal and, to a certain extent, intimate act, whereas the contract is a sheer business.
In addition, personal ethics defines social relations of individuals and therefore affects business relations. Personal ethics influences the communication style of individuals (Harvey, 1995). The communication style, in its turn, defines professional relations of individuals and their business relations as well. Moreover, the effectiveness of communication is extremely important in business but the communication style of each individual mirrors his/her personal ethics.
Personal ethics is shaped under the impact of social environment and individuals apply their personal ethics in their business relations because they believe their persona ethics is effective. If individuals feel their behavior is accepted by their social environment, they will naturally try the similar model of behavior in business to reach success. In such a way, they extrapolate their personal ethics on business.
Obviously, business is built on interpersonal relations, which are shaped under the impact of personal ethics of individuals (Harvey, 1995). Therefore, interpersonal relations shaped by individuals under the impact of his/her personal ethics are naturally borrowed by the individual to his/her business.
At the same time, business affects personal ethics as personal ethics affects business. The business environment influences individuals and their perception of the surrounding world and their social environment. Therefore, business influences personal ethics of individuals.
The contemporary society is a consumerist society, where business plays the main part because it gives wealth and prosperity (Frosh, 1991). Hence, people view business as a tool to become rich and successful, while it is business that evokes the strife for wealth and pursuit of consumerism in the society. This means that business defines personal ethics and sets ethical norms and values in the contemporary society.
Finally, business comprises an essential part of human life and they cannot avoid its impact on their perception of the surrounding world and on their personal ethics (Harvey, 1995). Hence, individuals cannot escape the impact of business and their personal ethics incorporates values and norms, which are used in business.
Thus, business and personal ethics are similar, even though they belong to two different domains.
Frosh, S. (1991). Identity Crisis, Modernity: Psychoanalysis and the Self. Boston: St. Martin Press.
Harvey, D. (1995). The condition of Post Modernity New York: Routledge.