Are companies allowed to ignore a law or business rule that their owner is biased against, true or false? Simply put, ethics means learning what is right or wrong and then doing the right thing, but “the right thing” is not as simple as most business ethics literature conveys. Most ethical dilemmas in the workplace aren`t simply a matter of “should Bob steal Jack?” or “Should Jack lie to his boss?” Business ethics also helps maintain a company`s reputation with investors who seek transparency in a company`s transactions. In other words, they want to know exactly what their money is being used for. Note that if your organization is large enough, for example includes several large programs or departments, you may want to develop a general code of business ethics and then develop a separate code to lead each of your programs or departments. There are many benefits to formally managing ethics as a program, rather than as a one-time effort when deemed necessary. Ethics Programs: · Establish organizational roles to manage ethics · Plan for ongoing evaluation of ethical requirements · Determination of operational values and required behaviours · Align organizational behavior with business values Organizations should develop and document a process to address ethical dilemmas as they arise. Ideally, ethical dilemmas should be resolved by a group within the organization, such as an ethics committee composed of senior executives/managers and/or board members. Also consider having staff on the committee. The following three methods can be used to resolve ethical dilemmas. The methods include an ethical checklist, a ten-step method, and a list of key questions. (Note that the Golden Rule is probably the most common way to resolve ethical dilemmas.
The rule exists in various forms in many world religions.) “All organizations have ethics programs, but most don`t know they have them,” wrote business ethics professor Stephen Brenner in the Journal of Business Ethics (1992, V11, pp. 391-399). “A business ethics program consists of values, policies and activities that affect the appropriateness of organizational behaviour.” 2. There are many examples of how organizations manage value through policies and procedures. For example, we know best the value of social responsibility. To develop behaviors that align with this value, organizations often implement policies such as recycling waste, donating to local charities, or paying employees to attend community events. In another example, a high value on customer responsiveness could be implemented by introducing policies to call back calls or repair faulty devices within a certain period of time. Consider the role of job descriptions and performance evaluations. For example, a high-tech company will place a high value on technical knowledge, creativity, and systems thinking. They use job descriptions and performance reviews to encourage behaviors that align with these values, such as rewarding graduate degrees, patents, and analytical and design skills. Perhaps too often, business ethics is presented as a matter of conflict resolution, where one option seems to be the clear choice. For example, case studies are often presented in which an employee must or must not lie, steal, cheat, abuse another, break the terms of the contract, etc.
However, the ethical dilemmas faced by managers are often more real and very complex without clear guidelines, whether in law or often in religion. There are different types of business ethics adopted by companies depending on the type or location of the business. Here are some standard ethical practices adopted by various companies: 4. Make ethical decisions as a group and make decisions public if necessary. This usually leads to better quality decisions taking into account different interests and perspectives, and increases the credibility of the decision-making process and outcomes by reducing suspicions of unfair bias. Let`s look at two tools that can be used when you need to make quick decisions. “Codes of conduct specify workplace actions, and codes of ethics are general guidelines for decisions about those actions,” said Craig Nordlund, deputy general counsel and secretary at Hewlett Packard. It suggests that codes of conduct include examples of appropriate behavior to be meaningful.
The Conference Board noted that codes of conduct are becoming increasingly sophisticated and target lower levels in companies. Departments often have their own codes. However, be careful. An organization could be sued for breach of contract if its practices do not comply with its policies. For this reason, legal services should review codes of conduct and other ethical guidelines. For this reason, it is important for companies to review their policies at least once a year to ensure they comply with laws and regulations. 1. Employee Rights – Review important issues and issues to identify behaviours to avoid in the workplace 2. Policies (staff) – Review more specific information about behaviors to avoid 3. The best way to deal with ethical dilemmas is to prevent them from happening in the first place. That is why practices such as the development of codes of ethics and codes of conduct are so important. Their development makes employees aware of ethical considerations and minimizes the likelihood of unethical behavior occurring.
Companies have a responsibility towards the environment in which they are located. Therefore, companies must work to ensure environmental protection and give back to the community through empowerment or investment. Centre for Applied Ethics in www.ethics.ubc.ca/ The following guidelines ensure that the ethics management program is delivered in a meaningful manner: 1. Recognize that ethics management is a process. Ethics is a matter of values and behaviours associated with them. Values are recognized through the ongoing reflection process. As a result, ethics programs appear to be more process-oriented than most management practices. Managers tend to be skeptical of process-oriented activities and prefer processes that focus on results with metrics. However, experienced managers recognize that the results of standard management practices (planning, organizing, motivating, controlling) are only tangible representations of highly process-oriented practices. For example, the strategic planning process is much more important than the plan created by the process. The same goes for ethics management.
Ethics programs produce results such as codes, policies and procedures, budget items, meeting minutes, authorization forms, newsletters, etc. However, the most important aspect of an ethics management program is the process of reflection and dialogue that produces these results. If you`re considering embedding strong ethical principles throughout your organization or changing your company culture, you can follow the advice of Bob Kniffin, vice president of external affairs at Johnson and Johnson (J&J) Company. J&J`s handling of an ethical problem (the “Tylenol scare” crisis) in the 1980s is probably one of the most inspiring and revealing examples of how to successfully deal with an important ethical problem in business. Kniffin was one of the key players who helped J&J manage the crisis so effectively. Kniffin said it wasn`t J&J`s credo (a form of code of ethics) that helped J&J handle the crisis so well. Rather, they were the ongoing “Challenge Sessions” that the company held regularly to clarify everyone`s perspective and commitment to J&J`s credo. Authenticity Consulting`s peer coaching groups are a powerful yet simple way to organize, facilitate, and evaluate challenge sessions.
More information on peer coaching groups can be found on our publications page (www.authenticityconsulting.com/act-lrn/AC_pubs.htm) and consult the “Program Planning Toolkit”. 10. Last but not least, formal attention to ethics in the workplace is right. Business ethics ensures a certain fundamental trust between consumers and the different forms of market players with companies. For example, a portfolio manager must consider the portfolios of family members and retail investors. These types of practices ensure that the public is treated fairly. However, the field of business ethics has traditionally been the domain of philosophers, academics and social critics. As a result, much of the current literature on business ethics is not focused on the practical needs of leaders and managers – the people primarily responsible for managing ethics in the workplace. The most common forms of business ethics literature today typically include: a) philosophical, which requires comprehensive guidance and analysis; (b) time-consuming, time-consuming and integration anthologies; (c) case studies that require many cases and a great deal of time and analysis to synthesize; and (d) focus on social responsibility, which includes many examples of good and bad corporate actions.