TOPIC OPTION 1 – ETHICS
Part A: Describe the characteristics and behaviours of someone you believe to be an ethical person. How could the types of decisions and actions this person engages in be encouraged in a workplace? Refer to theoretical models of ethics in your answer. (Approximately 1700 words).
Ethics refer to principles, moral, beliefs, duty, conduct and code. In any workplace, ethics is an essential feature of leadership. An ethical person should treat people and environment with respect and. an ethical behaviour will always contribute a team with success. In this paper we have discussed characteristics and behaviours of an ethical person. The paper also describes us about the different types of decisions and actions a person engages that are encouraged in a workplace. A development of teamwork requires relationships, respect and sharing. In different professional organizations they set different components in regards to honesty, transparency, accountability, objective, confidentiality, respect and law. He or she should also act in a socially responsible manner and possess social responsibilities.
Professional ethics and social responsibility of management
Professional ethics refer to a branch of philosophy in respect to human conduct, differentiating right from wrong and good from bad of such actions. Integrity is a main essence of professionals. One should demand courage and vision. He or she should treat others respect, dignity, fairness and courtesy. Unsavoury behaviour, such as display of violent temper, use of abusive language, assault etc are sign of unethical persons. Discrimination in the workplace against any staff or job applicant based on the person’s race, sex, religion and sometimes regional and national origin is also not a good practice followed by a person. The ethical person should treat all with equal respect and dignity and should be provided with equal opportunity to develop themselves and their careers.
The ethical conduct adds values to the leadership and the business organization. The leader should be able to distinguish between right and wrong. He or she should use appropriate interpersonal styles. The techniques he used should establish relationships and gain acceptance of ideas or plans. He should include people, help them, feel them valued and appreciate their work. He should be able to communicate with impact and compassion. He or she should be candid such that he can develop self and others through coaching. He or she should be curious. He should be able to create an atmosphere of trust and acceptances. He should be ready to seek diverse views, cultures and individual needs so that it can contribute to team success. He or she should share knowledge and coach how to use knowledge management tools.
Here are some of the other features which a good ethical person should always possess:
- Encourage workforce diversity view is a competitive advantage which can be expanded.
- Maintain an environment which is free from various discrimination, harassment & reprisal.
- Balance both work & private life.
- Invest in further growth and development of others.
- Make the environment safe for peoples.
- Support human rights
There are four views of ethics:
- Utilitarian view – Decisions which are based on outcomes or results.
- Rights view of ethics – Decisions that are concerned to shielding individual liberties and privileges and rights of confidentiality, freedom of principles, freedom of speech and life & safety.
- Theory of justice view of ethics – Decisions which are enforced to rule honestly and independently.
- Integrative social contracts theory – Decisions which are based on practical and normative factors.
Decisions and actions are taken by the ethical person after considering the following points:
- Define the problem
- Think before act
- Test the decision
- Think for all
- Have confidence
Any ethical leader will be ready to take accountability for the outcome of his decisions. He or she should always take responsibility for team and its results. At this point, Beu and Buckley (2001) states that accountability has an effect on ethical behaviour. Jones (1991) describes unethical behaviour as, “the behaviour that has a harmful effect upon others and is either illegal, or morally unacceptable to the larger community” (p. 367). Similarly, Beauchamp and Bowie (2004) point to, “the classical U.S. view that a corporation’s primary and perhaps sole purpose is to maximize profits for stockholders” (p. 45). Harvard professor Barbara Kellerman believes that limiting leadership solely to good leadership ignores the reality that a great many leaders engage in destructive behaviours. The leadership should recognize members of the team for their efforts and successes. In every organization, there should be trainings to the employees with the code of conduct and the behaviours which a particular organization follows so that the employees are well aware of it. They can include a clause where there appraisals will be affected if proper code of conduct is not followed.
These are the following questions set which a person always asks generally to decide on the ethical decision making:
- Is it against code of conduct?
- Does it feel right?
- Is it legal?
- Who else can be affected?
- Will you be embarrassed if the other people knows your course of action?
- Does an alternative action exists which does not pose any ethical conflict?
- How it will look in the newspapers?
- What will other people will think?
- Will you be able to sleep at night?
With the change in time, the idea and concept of business have been changed. Business is now looked upon as social institution and an integral and vital part of the social systems. According to P.F.Drucker – “The business enterprise must be so managed as to make the public good, the private good of the enterprise.” Also with the increase in the size of the business and separation of ownership from management the social responsibilities of management has increased to a large extent. As a business is an impersonal institution, automatically this responsibility falls on the management. It cannot be denied that a businessman with its own efforts cannot prosper. It has to depend on the society. The business cannot provide all the factors for the business excepting capital and organization. For the supply of other essential factors it has to depend on the society. From the society he may get the cooperation of the supplier, customer, worker and investors etc.
The social responsibility involves in conducting the business activities in accordance with principles and functions recognized by and acceptable to the society. On behalf of the business, the managers discharge various social responsibilities. Their social responsibility is concerned with the adoption of such a business policy, procedure and decisions so that the social objectives and values are maintained. The significance of social responsibility of management is to bring economic and social harmonization among the multiple objectives and limited resources. In consideration of changing socio-economic perspective, the social responsibility of management may be discussed with respect to employees, shareholders, creditors, investors, customers, government and the society at large.
There is also a theory for four-stage model to explain organisation’s social responsibility for which ethical manager are responsible for:
Stage 1 – Leaders who promote stakeholders, particularly shareholder’s, interests by maximizing profits and increasing costs. This is to preserve the interest of the owners. The responsibility to shareholders may be stated in the following directions, such as the maximum utilization of resources supplied by them, payment of fair and regular dividend, offering opportunity for applying voting rights in the election of directors.
Stage 2 – Leaders who accepts responsibilities for employees. Employees are the members of the enterprise. For its success they will try their best. The cordial relations between management and employees will ensure the increase in production of the enterprise. So, the management should discharge its responsibility to its employees in the following way – provision for right work for right man, selection of employees fairly, honestly and impartially, provision of security of job, provision for training and development, proper and fair payment of remuneration for their efforts, provision for good work environment, payment of remuneration for their efforts, provision for good work environment, payment of financial and psychological rewards to the employees etc. Along with the above arrangements, various information relating to the enterprise should be supplied to the employees at different times so that a sense of belongingness arises within themselves. They will feel that they are the important elements of the organization and get inspired to devote themselves to the achievement of the objectives.
Stage 3 – Leaders and managers who accepts additional responsibilities for creditors and debtors. The management has one of the primary responsibilities to deal with its customers. This is possible with the arrangements – fair and reasonable price charged, supply of goods and services with uniform quality and standard, no unsocial practices like hoarding, artificial scarcity and profiteering, etc. The management may discharge its responsibility to creditors and suppliers through the ways – (1) Inter-business co-operative relationship should b formed among the different undertakings, (2) the management must supply accurate and relevant information to the creditor and other suppliers, (3) In due time all the payments i.e., price for goods purchased from suppliers, interest on loans, etc should be made.
Stage 4 – Leaders and managers accepting responsibilities for the whole society. The management should comply with rules and regulations framed from time to time by the government and pay taxes. Also the management has its responsibility to keep watch as to the social environment not to be polluted on account of business activities. It should also take part in social welfare schemes and take part in different development programmes.
I think that all the above criteria add not only to the ethical leadership success, but also to the success of the team and the business organization as a whole too. The ethical leader or manager will also add value to the team, business and the organization as well. Setting a positive example by providing timely, meaningful verbal and written feedback always strengthens effectiveness. Making the time and opportunity for staff members to discuss their aspiration goals and how they might be achieved might add value. An ethical person’s behaviour would always be encouraged in a workplace provided he or she follows the code of conduct and the principles which the organization follows. I will also like to mention that any ethical leader will always follow Theory Y (all the employees are interested to work and deliver their best) and not Theory X (all the employees are lazy and they don’t want to work) for their employees. Even the personal traits are factors that influence ethical behaviours. Value, ego strength and locus of control are all conviction referring the ethical behaviour. In a workplace, rules and regulations and code of conduct set by the organization, job descriptions, performance appraisal and reward systems influence ethical behaviour. Organizational culture and structure can also influence the same. L.A.Appley while analyzing the concept of professional management, told about five conditions, viz.,
a. conscious about work, its basic procedure and other relevant matters
b. specification of special skill for its application
c. recognition of helping tool in case of such application
d. specification of personal qualification for managers and
e. special work process in its actualisation.
- C. Arnst and others, “When Green Begets Green,” Business Week, November 10, 1997, pp. 98–106.
- Joseph M Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh — http://www.pitt.edu/~ethics/Australia/case.html
- JTB_Journal of Technology and Business. October 2007
- Kanter, R. M. (1979, July–August). Power failure in management circuits. Harvard Business Review, 57, 65–75.
- Kellerman, B. (2004). Bad leadership: What it is, how it happens, why it matters. Boston: Harvard Business School Press; Kellerman, B. (2008). Bad leadership—and ways to avoid it. In J. V. Gallos (Ed.), Business leadership (pp. 423–432). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Kenneth Blanchard and Norman Peale; in their book The Power of Ethical Management
- L.A.Appley :Management in Action (1956), P.350
- McGregor and Maslow’s hierarchy
- P.F.Drucker – The Practice of Management (1954)
- Smith, P. K., Jostmann, N. B., Galinsky, A. D., & van Dijk, W. W. (2008). Lacking power impairs executive functions. Psychological Science
- The Accountable Corporation – Kirk O. Hanson, the executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
- Tourism ethics By David A. Fennell
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