What place does ethics have in business?

Just Recruitment Group Ltd Director Peter Foy reflects on the value of morality in contemporary commerce.

Most people working in the business world tend to believe that companies are there to make money.

Put simply, a company’s primary business is business. It needs to generate wealth for its shareholders. If it performs some good deeds in the process – a bit of positive Corporate Social Responsibility work here, some charitable giving there – all well and good. But the bottom line is, well, the bottom line.

I want to challenge that wisdom. I don’t think money-making is the full story for contemporary commercial operations. Yes, it’s important. But unless businesses contribute to healthy communities, they stand very little chance of flourishing.

Why communities matter

Just consider for a moment. It is from our communities that we draw employees, customers, champions and critics. If we’re not surrounded by a vibrant grouping of people with a clearly defined sense of the common good, we may as well not be trading.

When the communities in which we operate thrive, we thrive. When they suffer, we suffer. We are wedded to our neighbours and they to us. Our destinies are entwined.

That explains why businesses that don’t look out for the people around them so often fail. We rely on our neighbours, as they rely on us. To use a phrase that was unfortunately hijacked by politicians a decade or so ago, we’re in it together.

Expert opinion

These sentiments have been well articulated by businesspeople such as Marc Benioff and academics like Professor Atul Shah, who works at the University of Suffolk.

The message is simple: business needs to be rooted in community. Greed isn’t good. Mutuality and other-regard are.

Of course, the notion that business should take account of ethics is by no means novel. Adam Smith, the man often cited as the father of the laissez-faire economy, stressed the need for Corporate Social Responsibility. The market is right but the market needs management. Individual greed must not be allowed to damage the common good.

Benioff, the founder of Salesforce.com, is eloquent in his belief that businesses need to be generous with their profits and talents to develop the communities in which they trade. He argues forcibly that this generosity should continue even when times are hard. When communities suffer, so do corporations. They need to stand alongside one another.

Professor Shah approaches the issue from a slightly different angle. As an academic he is concerned with how our future businesspeople, i.e. his students, are equipped to enter the market. His major thesis is that commerce needs to be rooted in a lived ethics: for business to prosper in an acceptable fashion, its practitioners must have a societal framework from which they can draw an ethical pattern.

Knowing right from wrong

In other words: businesspeople need to know right from wrong and feel compelled to act accordingly.

The Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) regularly publishes surveys of the general public’s perception concerning the morality of businesses. You can see Just Recruitment’s summary of some of its most recent findings by clicking on the video above. The understanding of what is ethical in the survey is divided into two categories:

1) Legal

  • Financial probity
  • Discrimination
  • Prejudice

Cross these lines and you break the law. So, speak out.

2) Subjective

Are you, as an employee, happy with the environment you are working in?

In its own ethical guide, the IBE states:

“We recognise that this Guide cannot cover every challenge that you might face in your work. In these situations, we trust you to use your personal judgment to make the right decisions.”

Forming judgments

This, I think, is the rub. Because, for a person to have trustworthy judgement, they must have some understanding of right and wrong. And that’s why companies need to have ethical practice hardwired into their operations. Ethics should be in every business’s DNA.

How else will employees calibrate their moral compass?

The challenge

Here’s my challenge to the business community: we should consider how to enshrine morality in our companies, not only so that we’re committed to doing the right thing at a corporate level.

More important even that is to shape the dispositions of our people, so they know how to live, and flourish, in the world.

Published: 20 March 2019

© Copyright Just Recruitment 2019

If you liked this article you may like to read – Ten of the most common “neuromyths”

You may also like to read – The knowledge: find out what you stand for

Jobs currently available

Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: £18,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Chelmsford
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909015
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for a driver to join a large and well-established business, with multiple branches across the UK.

This position will be based at their Chelmsford branch.

The role involves delivering various items to locations in and around the Chelmsford area.

You must have a full clean driving licence and have experience of driving either transit or LWB vans.

Working Hours:

  • 45 per week Mon-Fri 7:30 - 5 plus 2 Saturday mornings (8am-12pm) per month - paid at overtime rates!


  • Salary Negotiable.
  • Attendance bonus scheme.
  • Company pension scheme.
  • Shared profit scheme.
  • Uniform and PPE provided.

Duties will include:

  • Deliveries in and around Chelmsford
  • Assisting with various warehouse duties
  • Proving a friendly service to customers and other staff whilst out on the road and within the branch as and when required.
  • Working with the team to ensure the branch runs smoothly and customers are delighted with the service.

In order to be considered for this role you must have worked in a similar role, have excellent IT skills and a good telephone manner.

This is a great opportunity to join an organisation that promotes from within, provides extra training and development and further company benefits.

Read more
Workshop Technician/Mechanic
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £17,500 - £27,000 per annum
Location: Hadleigh
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909014
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Workshop Technician/Mechanic on behalf of a leading independent parts specialists based on the outskirts of Sudbury, Suffolk.


  • £17,500 - £27,000 depending on experience.

Great working environment in a high-spec workshop with heating and insulated flooring, to ensure employees are comfortable all year round.

Duties include:

  • Repair and refurbish motors and gearboxes.
  • Stripping down engines.
  • Disassemble and fix parts.
  • Complete root-cause analysis.


  • 23 days annual leave, plus bank holidays.
  • Free parking.
  • Profit share scheme, available after probation.
  • Medical scheme, available after probation.
  • PPE provided including boots and company branded tshirts / fleeces.
  • Training courses.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join a great company offering lots of progression and excellent benefits.

Candidates must drive due to the location of the company, and will occasionally be required to drive company vehicles.



Read more
Business Development & Account Manager
Sector: Sales
Salary: To be discussed on application
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909013
About the role

Are you looking to work for an exciting new start-up business offering a great opportunity for you to grow?

Have you worked to targets, and enjoy selling?

Just Recruitment  is delighted to be recruiting for an Account Manager for our client based in Witham.

The role of the Account Manager is to build and develop relationships with new members, working with them throughout their one month free trial and ultimately upgrading them to a paying member.

There will be no cold calling in this role, all leads have come to express their interest!

If you love working in a team, talking to new people, have worked in sales before and have good verbal and written skills then this could be the role for you!

This is a full-time, permanent role working Monday – Friday.




Read more
Legal Secretary
Sector: Law and Security
Salary: £22,000 per annum
Location: Clacton on Sea
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909000
About the role

Just Recruitment is excited to be recruiting for one of the East of England’s longest established Legal Firms.

Operating for over 250 years, they are a full-service law firm, which has doubled in sized over the past four years, and they are looking to expand further by hiring a new Legal Secretary for their Clacton branch.

They are looking for someone with experience of;

  • Electronic diary management.
  • Telephone liaison.
  • Front of house/reception duties.
  • Digital transcription systems.
  • Using accounts software.
  • Various other clerical and administrative duties.

The ideal candidate will have experience working as a Legal Secretary, with a genuine passion for building a career within the law.

They must also have fast typing speeds and the ability to multi-task effectively.

In return you will receive;

  • A competitive salary.
  • 20 days holiday + bank holidays.
  • Contributory pension scheme.
  • As well as a whole host of other benefits.
Read more
Wedding and Special Events Sales Manager - Maternity Cover
Sector: Hospitality and Events Management
Salary: £20,000 - £24,000 per annum
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908437
About the role

Luxury, grandeur and spectacular!

Our client, one of the finest country house venues in the tantalising Essex Countryside have a fantastic opportunity for you.

They are seeking a full time Wedding and Sales Manager to join their team to support the corporate, wedding sales and planning team on a 12 Month Maternity Cover Contract.

You will be working alongside the Head of Wedding Planning and the CEO in a buzzing environment, that requires you to focus on every little detail to deliver beyond expectations.

You will be responsible for;

  • Hosting all wedding show rounds.
  • Preparing for open evenings and open days.
  • Following up with potential brides or clients to discuss set up and more detailed planning.
  • Working alongside the Operations Team.
  • Work in conjunction with all event staff and catering partners to ensure the function is delivered to the high standards expected.
  • Manage external suppliers.
  • To assist other department managers as and when required.

Please note - this venue will be holding a sensational Christmas Fayre in 2020, along side the normal duties you will also have a heavy hand within the planning and organisation of this spectacular event!

If you have previous experience of wedding sales and managing weddings then we want to hear from you!

Due to the location, you must hold a full UK license and have access to a car.



Read more
Signs & Cladding Fitter
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £10.00 - £12.00 per hour
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908998
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Signs & Cladding Fitter for their client based in Colchester, Essex.

The role will involve working at customers sites all over the UK and Ireland. Fitting and assembling signage and Led light boxes to walls and ceilings etc, as well as assisting in the factory when there are no Fitting jobs.


  • You must be fully conversant with all aspects of signage installation including LED illumination.
  • Able to use your own initiative on site and work as part of a team.
  • Good communication skills with work partner, clients and in site meetings.
  • Smart appearance (representing the company)
  • You must be willing to travel throughout the UK including Ireland and stay away on rare occasions.
  • Ability to work at heights.
  • CSCS, PASMA, IPAF certificates required.
  • Flexibility regarding early starts/late finishes.
  • Capable of reading CAD drawings & surveying.
  • Clean full driving licence.
  • Aware of H&S practices on building sites & as an individual.
  • be able to think logically and problem solve on site.
  • Attention to detail is crucial & ability to read schematic drawings is essential.


  • Amiable, flexible and approachable style.
  • Adaptable and open to trying new ideas and techniques and recognising that new ideas may not suit all applications.
  • Ability to listen and communicate new processes and procedures.
  • To bring a modern approach to traditional processes.
  • Meticulous attention to detail, alongside a high level of accuracy.
  • Self-Motivated with good time management skills, ability to prioritise multiple tasks.

You must have previous experience in the same or similar role to be considered for this role

Hourly rate £ 10.00 – 12.00 per hour depending on experience

All overtime over 40 hours at 1.5 x basic rate

Read more