Promoting Ethics in Business

The Heavener Business Ethics Ambassadors, who represent the Poe Business Ethics Center at the Warrington College of Business, hosted the Ethics in the Workplace Symposium to promote the importance of business ethics to graduating seniors.

The event gave them an opportunity to accept an oath to be ethical in their future business ventures. The seniors signed cards pledging to be ethical business leaders and were encouraged to keep the card as a reminder of the oath. The event took place two weeks before graduation, punctuating the importance of ethics before seniors moved into their careers.

"Graduation is an incredibly important transition for undergraduate students,” said Dr. Brian Ray, Lecturer of Leadership and Ethics and the co-director of the Poe Business Ethics Center. “In addition to feelings of trepidation, students are also reflective in a very positive way. For students to have an oath that focuses on ethics and solid moral reasoning provides them an opportunity to recommit themselves as they begin their professional careers.

“It is an opportunity to promise themselves and their peers that their professional conduct will bring honor to the Warrington College of Business and the University of Florida.”

Two roundtable discussions served as the focus of the event. Both tables had a Business Ethics Ambassador to lead conversation about a different ethical business issue. Students talked about two issues per table before coming together as a group to talk about the fifth issue.

The issues discussed ranged from how students would handle employee theft to how ethical companies are with electronic devices that can record and store information like Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. The Business Ethics Ambassadors in charge of each table tried to put students in the middle of the ethical dilemma and challenge their thinking on what would be the correct way to handle it.

"Our goal in running the symposium is to emphasize the importance of maintaining ethics in careers after college,” said Jaimee Katz, who served as a Business Ethics Ambassador for the event. “By exposing students to ethical dilemmas in the workforce and making them aware of the consequences that can stem from the decisions they make as employees, participants obtain greater insight into the content of the oath before actually signing it.

The event tried to put students around as many ethical issues as possible, preparing them for the future when they’ll have to make ethical decisions in the business world during their careers.

“The Ethics Oath Symposium was a successful and insightful event,” said Heather Blum, the current president of the Business Ethics Ambassadors. “I believe that all students should participate before they graduate or before an internship to understand the varying ethical dilemmas they may face when entering the working world. Signing the oath and having it on a card in my wallet will always carry with me a reminder to follow my moral compass.”

Event leadership plans to expand future symposiums with additional components and more participants, continuing to educate students on life as an ethical business leader in the real world.