Ethics and Good Decision Making in Real Estate

Sep 13, 2016
The challenges and rewards of preserving ethical standards in the workplace.

“Leadership has an ethical core, and ethics means not just making good decisions, but leading others in making good decisions.”
– Chris MacDonald, Founding Director of the Jim Pattison Ethical Leadership Education & Research Program

The Volkswagen scandal rocked the corporate world last year. A company that most thought as being among the most responsible corporate citizens appears to have intentionally cheated not only public environmental laws but consumers and the marketplace.

This situation, and others like it (Enron, Martha Stewart, Ford, etc.), tell us that ethics can be compromised anytime in the workplace. It shows that ethics is only often considered in terms of staying within enforced rules  or as long as you don’t get caught violating the rules, rather than doing the right thing.

Ethics plays an important role in developing trust, transparency, and greater confidence in how we conduct business. The Real Estate Institute of Canada’s Ethics in Business Practice course addresses ethical dilemmas commonly faced by today’s real estate industry professionals, and teaches strategies for resolving ethical dilemmas and adherence to the REIC Code of Standards along with other industry codes.

“Quite often we have the right to take certain actions, but we have to ask ourselves whether it’s the right thing to do,” says REIC faculty Gareth Jones.
The course challenges students to ask themselves the following questions when faced with a decision:
  1. Is my response, reaction and decision balanced and fair? Have I rationalized my decision, showing respect to all parties involved?

  2. Is my decision legal? Does it comply with all existing codes of ethics, laws, policies and professional standards?

  3. How will this decision make me feel about myself?
It’s a methodology of arriving at the right decision.  “We find that we can rationalize a lot of our decisions, but what we neglect to demonstrate is respect to all parties involved in the decision,”  adds Jones.

Ethics and values are a cornerstone of REIC credential programs. The Ethics in Business Practice course creates discussion and dialogue around doing the right thing. It highlights the slippery slope of fuzzy ethics.  The course deals extensively with ethical codes and management issues, and at the completion of the course, professionals will have acquired the tools and strategies necessary to maintain strict ethical standards in a business setting.

Students say they learn more about ethics and human behaviour beyond what they expected to.  And they especially enjoy the discussions and learning from other students’ perspectives.  Consider the following case study:  Is it ethical to conduct a drug test on every employee? Drug testing can be rationalized. “It doesn’t harm anyone.” “No one gets hurt” or, “Yes, we’re bending the rules, but everyone does it.” Drug testing can be seen as unethical:  “It’s not a regular practice and therefore shouldn’t be allowed”.  “What about privacy and confidentiality of the individual?” The net result of this and other case studies used for discussion purposes in this course is that students become aware of ethical rationalization.

Making ethical decisions in the real estate industry ensures you are acting in the best interest of all parties involved.  A reputation built on trust pays dividends in customer loyalty and business referrals.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to learn more about ethics in the workplace and learn more about ethical decision-making processes.
To find out more about the Ethics in Business Practice course, visit the REIC website or contact Gareth R. Jones, FRI, CRES.
Originally posted on REMI Network
REMI Network

Written by REMI Network