The term “moral duty” sounds a little old-fashioned. Now days we like to cover more exciting topics like, “ways to improve your leadership abilities”, “become your own boss”, or “achieve financial independence”. What part does moral duty play in all that? Is it still relevant to the way we conduct ourselves today?
Legal Duty vs Moral Duty
Everyone has a legal duty to follow the rules, regulations, and laws applicable to society and the workplace. Fines, penalties, termination from employment, and even jail time are hefty motivations to avoid breaking the law.
But what about moral duty? It doesn’t seem like there are any consequences for neglecting what some may see as your “moral duty” as long as you stay within the law. So what’s the point?
Benefits to behaving morally in the workplace include:
- Earned trust from employers, employees and clients.
- Positive recognition for your company.
- An exemplary professional reputation that can serve you in current and future positions.
Today, so many businesses are competing with each other for top-notch employees and clients. Job seekers are competing for jobs with scores of other professionals. You want to have the biggest advantage you can in this competition, and one way to set yourself apart is to live by a strong moral standard.
Companies that have a reputation of having a moral workplace are more likely to attract and retain loyal employees and clients. As a working professional, earning the trust of your employer will improve your chances for promotion and advancement. Also, building your reputation in your profession as someone who is trustworthy, moral, and talented will only increase your value to prospective employers.
Is it a duty or a just an option?
We’ve established some of the benefits of behaving morally at work, but does that mean it’s a duty, or is it just something that helps our reputation?
There are likely to be a lot of opinions on this subject, especially since our society is questioning what we should base our morality upon. But this idea of a moral duty mostly comes down to a sense of integrity. Integrity is what you do when no one is looking, and your moral duty is the compass that guides you to do what is right and wrong. A moral duty is the idea that you should do what is right, no matter the circumstances.
In today’s world, some might see this as a duty to advocate for those who are less fortunate than us. It might be reporting a coworker who is embezzling money from the company. Maybe it is just helping that old man who tripped in the parking lot to stand up again. Moral duty is just an obligation to do what is right, and I certainly hope that is not dead.