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Hoffman and Moore (2004) recommend training and communication as part of the implementation plan to improve ethical behavior. As part of the resolution process when facing ethical dilemmas, retraining on ethical standards and practices, legal ramifications, regulatory compliance/guidelines and code of conduct are imperative. Therefore, even if other values are not considered, at least the most important ones will be considered during the problem-solving process.
I strongly believe in the ethical leadership skills of my immediate supervisor. As we all know, great leadership does not occur in a vacuum. Very often, it is by observing admirable leaders that people learn to become good leaders in their own right. Therefore I have a spent some observing the most inspirational leader in my selected organization: my boss. He knows when to delegate and when to take control; he knows how to motivate employees through a balance of reward and reprimand; and most importantly, he is willing to listen as readily as he is willing to talk. He is by no means perfect, as no human being is. However he commands more respect from my colleagues and I than anyone I know.
My boss is more than just a manager whose main concern is "efficiency" -- he is a true leader because he is all about "effectiveness." He is extremely charismatic as well which would explain why he garners such high production from his employees. According to Robbins & Judge (2007) "There is an increasing body of research that shows impressive correlations between charismatic leadership and high performance and satisfaction among followers" (p. 434). My boss is living proof of this.
I am also very much in agreement with my organization's code of ethics and social responsibility policies. I believe that it is a combination of both its ethical and socially responsible activities that makes my company a positive force in society. Moreover, people respect organizations that are willing to give back. Studies indicate that consumers believe it is important for businesses to seek out ways to become good corporate citizens, and that companies have a more positive image if they are doing something to make the world a better place. They are more likely to give there business to companies they respect. For example "A 2001 Hill & Knowlton/Harris Interactive poll showed that 79% of Americans take corporate citizenship into account when deciding whether to buy a particular company's product; 36% of Americans consider corporate citizenship an important factor when making purchasing decisions" (BSR, 2003).
This process works in reverse as well; that is, companies that have a negative reputation in regard to CSR are likely to lose customers and as a result, suffer financially. In fact "A 2002 Cone Corporate Citizenship Study found that of U.S. consumers who learn about a firm's negative corporate citizenship practices, 91% would consider switching to another company, 85% would pass the information to family and friends, 83% would refuse to invest in that company, 80% would refuse to work at that company and 76% would boycott that company's products" (BSR, 2003).
The weaknesses that I see are in the lack of ethics training and the vagueness of our mission statement. I definitely see the value in ethics training and I think the company should definitely consider implementing these types of programs. In regard to the mission statement (quoted above) I think the ideas are admirable, but they seem somewhat generic. I would like to rewrite the mission statement to be more specific to our actually organization.
Strategy for Change
Lurie (2004) has suggested that in order to be successful, managers must first manage the emotional culture of the organization. The author suggests that the first focus in planning is to create a culture of integrity in which moral principles are reflected in ethical behavior. I do not believe that these goals can be fully achieved without ethics training. The training does not have to take place in a formal setting. Velasquez (2006) has reported on certain organizations that have taken work teams on three -- and four-day retreats, which are focused on creating a common philosophy for the working of that team. I believe that this would be a positive strategy for my organization.
As we have learned in this class, a large part of the decision-making process involves ethical decision-making. With attempting to make ethical decisions, one cannot rely solely on instinct. Both experience and ongoing training are required. As people become more experienced at ethical decision they come to realize that being a critical thinker, that is, critically reflecting on their own performance as well as that of others, will enhance their skills, their decision-making abilities and their capacity to assess the situation at hand. Accordingly, they will no longer be forced to simply make assumptions about which strategies will be ethically sound and which will not. This is certainly not to say that they will become perfect ethical decision-makers, because as we all know, there is no such thing as perfect. However the individual's ability to use his or her experiences and insights to enhance their decision making strategies is definitely likely to improve by engaging in continuous learning and self-reflection.
Baker, T.L., & Hunt, T.G. (2003). An exploratory investigation into the effects of team composition on moral orientation. Journal of Managerial Issues, 15 (4), 106-119.
BSR - Business for Social Responsibility (2003) Overview of corporate responsibility, Retrieved from http://www.dcp.ufl.edu/ckibert/Poland/MiscMaterials/CSR-Overview-bsr.htm
Forte, a. (2005). Locus of control and the moral reasoning of managers. Journal of Business Ethics, 58, (3)65-77.
Frank, R.H. (1996) What price the moral high ground? Southern Economic Journal, 63 (1),1-3
Lurie, Y. (2004). Humanizing business through emotions: On the role of emotions in ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 49, 1-11.
Hoffman M. And Moore J. (2004) Business ethics: Readings and cases in corporate morality, New York: McGraw Hill.
Marks, S.R., & MacDermid, S.M. (1996). Multiple roles and the self:…[continue]
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