Ethical Business Conduct

Employees of Tufts University have a responsibility to be cognizant of policies and procedures that encourage good ethical business behavior. In conducting university related business, one should avoid any practice that could suggest impropriety.   

Once an organization is tainted with a scandal or even the semblance of misconduct, it is difficult to shake the negative perception that ensues. As Mark Twain once said: “Always tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember anything.”

Ethical Breaches at Work

Many of us face ethical dilemmas in our jobs. Consider the following excuses used to rationalize unethical behavior:

  • “Everyone else does it.”
  • “Rankings will suffer.”
  • “That’s the way it has always been done.”
  • “I was only following orders.”
  • “For all I do around here…..”

These rationalizations can lead to acts of business misconduct:

  • Taking assets which do not belong to you
  • Providing false impressions or false data
  • Hiding or divulging critical information
  • Misusing accessed information or trade secrets
  • Violating policies and procedures
  • Condoning unethical actions
  • Entering into conflicts of interest (divided loyalties)
  • Conflicts of time commitment between work and outside interests

Resolving Ethical Dilemmas

Perhaps one of the more compelling ways to help resolve a question concerning ethical business conduct is “The Front Page of the Newspaper Test.” American investor Warren E. Buffet elaborates on this strategy: 
“Contemplating any business act, an employee should ask whether he/she would be willing to see it immediately described by an informed and critical reporter on the front page of the local paper, there to be read by his/her spouse, children, and friends.”