Business Communication Ethics – Function – Purpose

Communication is a process of exchanging information between individuals with other individuals or with groups of people. An effective communicator will try to clearly and accurately send messages in the form of thoughts, attention, and goals to the recipient of the message through a process. Communication can be said to be successful when the sender of the message and the recipient of the message understand the same information (Read also: Principles of Communication ). In relation to the context, communication also involves various choices, reflects values, and has consequences. These three key elements of communication form the basis for communication ethics (Macau, 2009: 435).

In order to create better communication, understanding of various issues relating to communication is needed. Some companies that have socially and ethically responsible goals require an ethical communication priority both within the company and when interacting with the public. This is consistent with what was stated by S. Alejo (2008) that business communication is the main foundation for the operation of an organization or company, both within the organization and outside the organization. Because in theory, many consumers are more interested in doing business with companies that they trust ethically where business ethics provide its own advantages in the market.

Communication in an organization or the business world is not an easy task. A communication skill is needed to create effective communication in the business environment. Facts in the field show that in organizations or the business world, conflicts are always caused by business communication barriers . Conflict is a part of organizational life or the business world, both conflict that is destructive or productive. Conflicts that occur in organizations or the business world can damage work relationships or create the seeds needed for change and development in an organization or business world. (Also read: Organizational Communication )


Business communication occurs when a message is sent or received between an organization or company and its employees (Read also: Internal Communication and Vertical Communication ). Business communication also occurs between organizations or companies with external parties, for example stakeholders or consumers. It is important for organizations or companies to ascertain whether the messages they convey and receive refer to ethical norms in order to guarantee the creation of communication effectiveness.

Also read:

  • Organizational Communication Patterns
  • Diagonal Communication

According to G. Cheney, M. Kent, and M. Debashish (2011) ethical business communication is very important in three main perspectives namely business with the public, business with employees, and business with business.

  1. Business communication with business in the sense of communication between a business company and distributors and suppliers.
  2. Business communication with employees means communication that plays a role at the organizational level and how upper management sends business messages such as policies to employees
  3. Business communication with the public plays an instrumental role in developing the image of an organization. Therefore, it is undeniable that the management of high ethical standards during business communication is a success factor for some businesses.

Also read:

  • Leadership Communication
  • Online Communication

Understanding Ethics in Business Communication

Ethics has become a very important word in the corporate world because of the growing development of globalization and communication. Ethical terminology comes from Greek which refers to acceptable character or habits or behavior.

  • According to the Oxford Dictionary, what is meant by ethics is a moral principle that directs a person’s behavior or how an activity is received. In other words, ethics is a branch of knowledge that focuses on moral principles.
  • Ethics is a set of ethical principles or standards that direct the behavior of individuals or organizations. By using ethical standards, an individual or an organization regulates their behavior to distinguish between what is right or what is wrong that is felt by others.
  • According to KD Parzhigar and R. Parzhigar(2006) what is meant by ethics is a critical analysis of cultural values ​​to determine the validity of truth and error in the terminology of two main criteria namely truth and justice. Ethics determine the relationship of an individual to society, nature, and God. How do people make ethical decisions? They are influenced by how they see themselves in relation to kindness and / or perfection.
  • According to Josina M. Macau(2009), ethics is a study of values, what is more important and what is less important, about what is “good”, as well as guidelines for behavior and norms. Macau further states that ethics provides a framework and tool for recognizing the various choices available and for distinguishing between one or less moral judgments in the given situations.

Also read:

  • Philosophy of Communication
  • Ontology, Epistemology, and Axiology
  • Communication Psychology Theories

Business Ethics in Communication

Business ethics can be defined as the principles of written and unwritten codes and the values ​​that make decisions and actions in a company. Business ethics has been a hot topic of discussion since the start of the 21st century. Some business ethics discussions refer to business ethics behavior and practices in the market. But the discussion of ethics and not ethics of business behavior is as old as the market itself.

Every business organization must emphasize the importance of business communication ethics at every level of the organization including communication between employees or between the organization and outside entities. There are several things related to the main ethical issues that must be considered by business organizations, namely honesty, fairness, sensitivity, and respect.

Meanwhile, according to JO Cherrington and DJ Cherrington (1992) found that most organizations face various ethical issues as follows:

  • Take things that do not belong to yourself or steal.
  • Saying things that don’t match reality or lie.
  • Wrong impression.
  • Conflict of interest and influence of buying.
  • Hiding information.
  • Acting unfairly.
  • Personal decadence.
  • Interpersonal harassment.
  • Organizational harassment.
  • Violence rules.
  • Accessories for unethical actions.
  • Moral balance.


Some important characteristics of communication ethics that are also used when business is as follows (Kumar, 2014: 283 – 284):

  • Understand what is meant without attacking others
  • Manage relationships with audiences
  • Present information to the public without reducing it or withholding important information
  • Understand that ethics is related to values ​​and may be different for society
  • Ensure that all information is accurate and accessible

Also read:

  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Press function

Basic Assumptions

Every communication decision has an ethical dimension whether acknowledged or not. Starting from an individual joining an organization until retiring, he encounters various kinds of events that accompany his career where communication has an ethical dimension attached to it. According to Kumar (2014), there are several basic assumptions that shape communication ethics, namely:

  • Look before deciding
  • Communication ethics cannot be avoided because it involves motives and impacts
  • Ethics are often seen as having nothing to do with business objectives

Also read:

  • Robert N. Entman’s Framing Analysis Model
  • Press during the New Order

Factors Affecting Organizational Ethics

Various factors have an impact and influence on ethical decisions made by employees or managers including (Kumar, 2014: 286) as follows:

  • Company culture.
  • The existence and application or application of a written code of ethics.
  • Formal and informal policies and rules.
  • The norms for acceptable behavior.
  • Reward system in finance.
  • System for achievement of performance.
  • The company’s attitude towards employees.
  • The procedures for recruiting employees for promotional purposes.
  • Job contract practice.
  • Application of legal behavior.
  • Company decision making process.
  • Behavior and attitude of the leadership of the organization.

Also read:

  • Communication Management
  • Public Relations Management

Scope of Communication Ethics

According to Kumar (2014), ethical treatment of subjects requires time, thought and preparation. As a manager, it is important for us to stay focused on the ethics of communication within the scope of:

  • Written and verbal messages

The messages conveyed by business organizations, both written and verbal, describe not only the intended message but also the message regarding values ​​and integrity. To evaluate the goals and motives in each situation, several things to consider are the purpose of the message, the research method, the choice of material, the development of ideas, the use of language, the ethical context, and self-analysis.

  • Cross-cultural messages

In relation to cross-cultural business communication , communicators should anticipate and avoid misunderstandings as much as possible and avoid the benefits of misunderstandings. This is because in cross-cultural business communication, business organizations collaborate with other business organizations that have cultural diversity. Some things that must be considered in cross-cultural business communication ethics are cultural context, misunderstanding, language, and accountability.

  • Advertising created by the company

Advertising is a very important area for companies that spread its wings to various countries. For this reason, a sense of sensitivity is needed for differences which is one of the important managerial skills that must be possessed. Some things that must be considered in advertising messages are language, graphics, neglect, truth, and accountability.

Also read:

  • Factors Affecting Communication
  • Communication Ethics on the Internet
  • Marketing Communication Theory

The Function of Business Communication Ethics

The main function of business communication ethics is to ensure that business messages sent and received are business messages that are neutral and do not attack various parties. According to J. Jaska (1996), effective business communication ethics plays an important role in strengthening or strengthening organizational or corporate culture.

If an organization or company does not consider various ethical standards in the delivery and acceptance of business messages, it will have an impact on the organization or company concerned, for example the emergence of a corporate or organizational culture that does not hinder employee productivity, unhappy and unsatisfied employees, and a bad corporate image in the public eye

Also read:

  • Barriers to Organizational Communication
  • Informal Communication

The Purpose of Business Communication Ethics

The ethics of business communication has the primary goal of meeting the needs of responsive and emotional recipients of business message recipients such as customers and employees. In addition, business communication ethics has an important role in protecting, respecting and maintaining a good business image for the organization. For any organization, communication has the primary purpose of ensuring that there is an organizational order and ensuring that the relationship between the organization and its employees is harmonious.

Also read:

  • Organizational Communication Theory
  • Group Communication Theory
  • Public Relations Theory

Benefits of Learning the Ethics of Business Communication

Studying the ethics of business communication can provide several benefits including being that we come to understand the notion of business communication ethics, the function of business communication ethics, the purpose and role of business communication ethics, as well as other aspects of communication ethics related to organizations or business.

Thus a brief description of the ethics of business communication. Hopefully it can provide new knowledge and insights about business communication and communication ethics.


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