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In BUS 6351, you will study business ethics and corporate responsibility. However, as an MBA student, you come into this program with a set of morals and values which you have developed over the course of your life. While the grounding you will receive in BUS 6351 will be invaluable to you in your professional career, your practice of ethical decision-making begins with applying the values you already have to both major and minor professional decisions. In short, you should endeavor to behave in a way that maintains your integrity.
Integrity is defined as an adherence to a code of moral values. In practice, integrity means that you do what you believe is right no matter the circumstances. The point is not to abide by a set of rules because you fear the consequences of violating them--it is to maintain a standard of behavior simply because it is a standard worth maintaining.
We are all confronted by major decisions which test our integrity, and the majority of us are conscious of our personal values and quick to apply them at these moments. However, decisions which seem minor may pose a greater risk to our integrity than the obvious right-and-wrong situations. Maybe you made a difficult but correct decision at work, but when it was challenged you had too little confidence that your supervisor would support you to stand your ground. Or you became aware that a colleague was committing an ethical breach, but because no one else seemed to be aware of it and work was going well you decided not to address it. Or you proposed or supported a policy change that would make your job easier, even though you were aware that the change placed your employer at greater risk or was for some other reason not necessarily in your employer's best interest. Or maybe you simply engaged in office politics or pursued your duties with a little less diligence because this seemed to be consistent with your organization's culture. None of these decisions alone would strike many of us as a serious ethical breach, but each is a betrayal of our integrity and a threat to our professional success.
To preserve your integrity, you should keep a set of key questions in mind to evaluate your daily decisions: