The Difference between Business Etiquette and Business Ethics

The Difference between Business Etiquette and Business Ethics

Businesspeople are expected to look and act professionally during their work hours. As they work, they are expected to make important decisions that are fair and honest. There is a field that involves business etiquette, and another field for business ethics. Learn more about the differences between the two in the world of business.

Business Ethics Is More Risky:

Business etiquette consists of the proper actions and behaviors that are required to do business with other people. Business ethics are the values and principles that affect how fairly the professionals behave toward each other. The practices of both etiquette and ethics are needed by every successful professional or company.

For any business, violating a code of ethics has more serious risks and wide-sweeping effects. A discrimination or harassment lawsuit could bring down a high-powered business leader. Accounting scandals are known to have bankrupted some businesses. There are other ethics problems that include embezzling or the underpayment of certain workers.

Etiquette Is More Superficial:

Business etiquette affects common, everyday acts in the workplace. Wearing a uniform or clean, professional clothing to the workplace is the most basic form of etiquette. Showing up to a business meeting on time and completing work assignments by the deadlines are other examples.

Violating the code of etiquette has less serious consequences. All professionals are expected to practice email etiquette when they contact their clients through email. So, sending emails that are written in an informal, conversational tone is a minor offense. At the worst, practicing bad etiquette leads to a job termination. However, a widespread public scandal that could topple the company is not an effect of having improper manners.

Business Ethics Requires Training:

Every company has different training programs that involve ethics. From major corporations with thousands of employees to small businesses with 10 employees, all businesses have to follow certain codes of conducts. The most common programs involve training employees to prevent hiring discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying. There are also state and federal laws that prevent business people from mistreating others or they could face fines or imprisonment.

It’s common to make mistakes with business etiquette. However, making a mistake with ethics could cost you a job and ruin your employer’s reputation. Know the differences between the two, but also know that you cannot survive with only either one. Every professional needs both proper ethics and etiquette to be important members of the business world.

Mark Angelo co-founded the Investment Manager in August 2009 and two affiliated investment managers.

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