Organization behavior and corporate ethics play an important role in building and upholding an organization image. Business ethics are imperative in governing the way individuals within an organization relate to each other and to the clients of the organization (Carroll et al., 2014). In an organization setting, business ethics is a set of principles that govern the organization in its day to day activities, policy making and decision making for the organization. Managers, employees, and all stakeholders use ethical reasoning in conducting business activities in their day to day operations. By and large, ethical reasoning co-exist to supplement inadequacy of laws, ineffective market mechanisms for regulation, and the intuitive nature of understanding complex moral problems instituted within organizations and the society.
There exist a number of models of ethical decision-making and actions that underline moral way of thinking and behavior that are particularly pertinent in organization setting (Frederickson et al., 2013). Parameters of Ethical decisions making on an individual basis include; Moral sensitivity, moral judgment, moral focus and motivation, moral character and finally is the ability to integrate managerial competence and moral competence within the organization (Robbins et al., 2013).
By and large, individual experience and personal actions impact differently on how an individual make an ethical decision making in the organization. For instance, many students focusing on completing their education see no problem in cheating. Such students, when employed, will see no problem to cheat also in the workplace. Such employees may deceive themselves into believing that they are acting morally when they are moral insensitive, a process often referred to as ethical fading (Ferell and Fraedrich, 2014). Some of the values that determine individual personality are acquired in childhood manifests themselves on person decision-making and shape and influence the nature of our behavior.
Ethics is imperative in individuals and organization decision-making process. Ethical decision making and philosophy in an organization can affect the productivity, reputation and organization sustainability. Ethics and values employed by leaders within an organization may affect the morale and loyalty of the workers to the organization (Corey et al., 2014). Such ethical decision making ideologies establishes discipline procedures and the acceptable moral behavior of all the employees within the organization. Having high ethical standards within an organization encourages other employees to meet the same level of ethical standards and decision making within the ethical framework. Without the emphasis on ethical decision making, the organization may not be able to reinforce responsibility for their external and internal environment, therefore, leading to an outcry of legal issues or public opinion towards the organization.
Unethical behavior within the workplace can be referred to any actions done by an employee that is not in line with the code of conduct established and put in place by the organization (Robbins et al., 2013). It is unethical to behave in a manner not set in the code of conducts set by the organization when relating to other employees, clients, and other stakeholders when dealing with day to day activities. Misusing company resources or using them for your own benefit and not the benefit of the organization is also unethical. On the same not, in some situation is unethical to break laws and moral code of conduct instituted by the organization.
Employees may use company resources such as computers to engage in activities that are by far unethical. For instance, employees who are not permitted to use the organization internet resources for personal reasons acts unethically if they shop online or visit social sites while at work. Misuse of time, sexual harassment and bullying of co-workers and performing illegal acts are unethical( Frederickson et al., 2013).
The parameters of ethical decision making in the workplace slightly vary from those of individual decision making. Organization decision making is guided by the following six elements that are relevant within organization context. Firstly is the moral imagination, followed by moral identification and ordering. Then, moral evaluation fourthly is tolerating moral disagreement and ambiguity and finally is integrating managerial competence with moral competence. Ethical decision making in an organization context affects a wide variety of people, ranging from co-workers, managers, clients and as well as the company stakeholders.
In an ideal work environment, I believe that ethics should operate in such a way that workers appreciate that each individual intrinsic values vary. In such an organization mutual understanding and upholding each other moral values and organization values are paramount in organization image and organizational sustainability. Managers should be aware that employees bring their own mindsets of values and ethics. Thus managers must be aware of and open to varied values as they work within the organization framework and standard to combat conflicts in the organization.
Ideally ethical decision making is governed by ideological construct developed and governed by underlying ethical myths that affect contemporary ethical decision making. One of such myths holds that ethic is personal and individuals make ethical decision making based on ones religious beliefs and that the judgment that one holds to be right or wrong is based on ones personality. For instance, stealing tendency by a worker depends on individual values and beliefs acquired personally or through religious and moral teaching.
In a free economy, the ethical myth that ethics and business don’t mix applies in today’s business environment. For instance, in the medical field, a patient is not treated until he pays the medical bill as set out by the healthcare practitioners and hospitals. However, the myth that business ethics is relative is not ideally true since organization must uphold his ethics in treating all clients, co-workers and stakeholders all alike. It is also true that good business translates to good business ethics because organization behavior towards customers and the environment dictates its public opinions. If the customers uphold a company as a good company, because of the way they are treated and how the organization interacts with the environment increases customer base. Hence, business activities will thrive.
However, based on most organization ethical belief, information is not only organization based but also moral and should be protected and shared with authorized users only. For instance, critical information underlying business success such as business formula should not be shared publicly as competitors may use it to destroy the organization.
Ethical behavior has both positive and negative behavior within an organization. Corporate reputation is enhanced by high ethical standards. Such reputation are paramount when it comes to organization performance in the financial market and when undertaking business activities. A solid corporate reputation for integrity and ethics within the community may improve the organization business. Good ethical behavior among employees in an organization plays an important role in ensuring that employees work with integrity and honest. Such employees adhere to organization policies and rules whilst striving to attain organization objectives. Organization should integrate ethical decision making by anticipating any possible dilemmas, leading others in making ethical decisions and finally making sure that any decision becomes part of organization procedures and systems. Unethical behaviors’ may prove disastrous to organization business activities. For instance, Wal-Mart was slow in responding to raising concerns from environmentalists, labor groups, employees and others about poor environmental practices, wage violation, sexual discrimination amongst other issues. The outcome was a drop in company’s sales, its shares in the market also dropped drastically.
In conclusion, the study and application of business ethics by individuals and organizational setting have enormous benefits. Ensuring that ethical standards are attained in running an organization helps in upholding an organization reputation and image. Non ethical behavior impacts negatively on the workplace. A good example is the Walmart case where by, non conforming to ethical practices almost destroyed the company reputation and was exhibited in a significant drop in the company’s profits and the value of shares. However, by developing strategies and through ethical decision making Walmart is currently among the best performing organization with branches all over the world.
Realistically, formulating business ethics is fairly easy. However, the challenge arises when implementing and putting these codes of conduct in practice. With no effective development and implementation strategy, an organization may fail to integrate and reap the benefits of proper ethical behavior within an organization. However, ethical beliefs and values developed within an organization are paramount in the success of a business. Non-ethical activities are bound to destroy organization reputation and may make an organization fail to achieve organization goals and business sustainability. Organization should, therefore, formulate ethical policies and ensure that are fully implemented and integrated within the organization.
Ferrell, O. C., & Fraedrich, J. (2014). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Cengage learning.
Robbins, S., Judge, T. A., Millett, B., & Boyle, M. (2013). Organisational behaviour. Pearson Higher Education AU.
Corey, G., Corey, M., Corey, C., & Callanan, P. (2014). Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions with 2014 ACA Codes. Cengage Learning.
Carroll, A., & Buchholtz, A. (2014). Business and society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Cengage Learning.
Frederickson, H. G., & Ghere, R. K. (Eds.). (2013). Ethics in public management. ME Sharpe.