thics is important to every society as it plays a critical role in shaping the individuals behaviours within a society. Since the dawn of human civilization, men have sought to keep human conduct in check to preserve the peace of society. Where written law is used to govern official businesses and happenings, ethics act as a self-governing system to keep human self-interest and the good of society at equilibrium because the eyes of the law are not always available (Duska, 2012).
However, as with everything in life, nothing is perfect. Ethics and human conduct are no exception to this rule. Ethics of the old days has been polluted and are inadequate for business self-governance due to changes in the environment and cultural norms. In other words, ethics in today’s society has eroded. As cited by (Gino ; Bazerman, 2008), managers and leaders in modern organizations lack strong ethical standards (Andrews, 1989; Longnecker, 1985; Molander, 1987; Pit t; Abratt, 1986) or are willing to abandon them in the face of economic incentives or competitive pressures (Gellerman, 1986; Hosmer, 1987).
Humans have always been thought of as selfish creatures, and this just further proves it. Colleagues bad mouthing each other behind their backs to increase chances of promotion shows a lack of professional ethics in order to gain economic advantage can be seen as unethical, but logical. Unfortunately, some acts such as littering the streets and using the cell phone in a cinema despite being told repeatedly not to do so, is not just unethical, it is downright absurd.
However, erosion of ethics is not just limited to the business world. It has spilled over to every aspect of society, such as athletes cheating or taking drugs, and the previously unheard of bribing of Olympics organizing selection committee (Cordeiro, 2003).
There are very serious impacts to the society if the erosion of ethics is not kept in check. The public, whether it is business, friendship or any kind of interaction, functions because humans rely on a varying level of trust, respect for others, and cooperation (Cordeiro, 2003). If erosion of ethics continues to worsen, nobody will have any trust in others, at all. In the end, society will cease to function like it presently does and everyone will either lock themselves at home, or walk around heavily armed.
Unfortunately, it is not just the actual erosion of ethics, but the people’s perception of the erosion that has to be addressed as well. As cited in Cordeiro (2003), Morgan (1993) states that people are judgmental and will choose not to commit to any activities when they perceive that the other parties are unethical.