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... it immediately jumps out. If you put a frog in cool water and slowly heat up the water, you can eventually boil the frog. In other words one doesn't seem to notice the adverse changes in its environment, until it is too late. The last myth in Managing Ethics in the workplace has little practical relevance. To manage ethics in the workplace one must identify and prioritize values to guide behaviors of the organization and its employees.
Then policies and procedures must be established to ensure those behaviors are followed (Jennings, 2000, p. 35). This has been called value management. Value management is equally important in management disciplines such as diversity management and strategic planning. Individuals within an organization can hold and practice core values; however, that does not mean that the organization as a whole is ethical.
To build an ethical organization, its leadership must establish, publish, and model the companys core values. While each organization should establish its own ethical framework, one might suggest that two cornerstones must be in place in order to build an ethical organization: mutual trust and respect. In personal interviews conducted with 100 Human Resource practitioners across the United States in 1999 and 2000, these two characteristics surfaced time and again as critical components of ethical organizations. In an organization in which respect is a demonstrated value, employees and managers treat each other with dignity and make it known that they care about the work they perform. The organizations leadership fosters initiative and creativity.
Individual differences and perspectives are appreciated and promoted. All employees, regardless of their position, are recognized and rewarded for their contributions. In an organization where trust is prevalent, information is accurate, timely, and complete. Coworkers share their ideas and concerns.
People at all levels accept suggestions for ways to improve the work. Alternatives are discussed freely, and clear and concrete goals are developed and shared across the organization. There are clues within the organizational culture if trust and respect are not part of the cultural fabric. One indicator of a weak ethics system is Scapegoating. If scapegoating is a common phenomenon in an organization, this is a red flag that failure may not be tolerated and it is necessary to hide mistakes or errors in judgment. When customer complaints occur, perhaps employees blame everyone else, or every other department.
When goals are not achieved, there may always seem to be someone elses doorstep on which to lay the fault (Castro, 1996, p. 27). Another indicator of a weak ethics system is abdicating responsibility. When the time comes to make a decision and stand by that decision or action, how do people in the organization respond? If common excuses are, I am not aware of any problems, I asked Joe to handle that.
Then this is a good indicator of abdication behavior. Members of an ethical organization accept responsibility for themselves and their direct reports, if they have them. Period. A third indicator of a weak ethics system is over promising. One might hear that, this company is the best place to work in the county, or that the promotion path here is extremely fast.
In some organizations this might be true, but in other cases managers might use these kinds of statements frequently without knowing whether they are really true. If the norm is making brash, optimistic and possibly untrue statements to achieve a short-term result, this is an indicator of a weak ethics system. In todays rapidly changing marketplace, companies must be highly flexible to meet customer demands. The result is that employees must be prepared to shift gears and learn new skills or serve on various work teams to complete projects.
When an organization has employees that hoard information and jealously guard their turf for any reason, productivity may suffer and resentment can build. This kind of behavior indicates that people dont trust their knowledge or expertise in someone elses hands. Another indicator is if employees are allowed to barely get by and still be rewarded with a paycheck and even promotions. Is mediocrity accepted because it is too difficult to fire people who are not really competent?
If an organization takes the easy way out and tolerates employees who are negative and only partially productive, long-term success is jeopardized. Human Resource professionals are in a unique position to observe the organizations ethics and serve as a catalyst for change if the ethics system is weak. Human Resource professionals can, and should, serve as role models for the organizations core values. An example of an ethical decision, that is being praised, made at an organization is ironically one made by an Enron employee.
Sharon Watkins, who was an Enron financial vice president, sent a letter of warning to CEO Kenneth Lay, telling him the companys finances were in a mess. The question of should Watkins have gone further than the CEO has been asked several times. Bill Relate, founder of the Center for Values Based Leadership, states that, "If somebody doesn't get a fair response internally, they have the right to go anonymously to the SEC. " However Margaret Blair, of the Georgetown University Law Center, says, Watkins did the right thing, and action beyond that becomes tricky. (Reder, 1994, p. 79) In most cases, an employee is not legally obligated to go to the Securities and Exchange Commission or other law enforcement, when something wrong is discovered. However there might be a moral obligation, one that is not so easy to fulfill because the lives of whistle-blowers are disrupted and often times ruined. This is a real problem, which seems to be taught early on. Barbara Ley Toffler an adjunct professor at the Columbia Business School says, "It's a real sticky situation, most who don't get fired are at least excluded from sensitive meetings as blabbermouths.
From grade school on, Americans don't treat tattletales kindly. (Reder, 1994, p. 80) The following are examples of organizations that have recently made or been affected by some decision (s) that are considered unethical by todays standards; WorldCom, Im Clone, Martha Stewart Living, Tyco, Adelphia, Enron, Rite Aid, Global Crossing, Dynegy, Bridgestone/Firestone, and Arthur Anderson. Many of these organizations are accused of misstating earnings, which help keep stock prices high. One Tyco top executive has been accused of tax fraud and evasion. Im Clones top executive has been accused of insider trading along with Martha Stewart.
Adelphias top executives have been arrested on fraud charges. Arthur Anderson has been the Auditor for most of these companies, and had been found guilty on obstruction of justice charges. The list seems to go on and on. On July 30 th 2002 at 10: 15, President Bush signed into law H. R. 3763, the "Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. " The Act adopts tough new provisions to deter and punish corporate and accounting fraud and corruption, ensures justice for wrongdoers, and protects the interests of workers and shareholders. The bill improves the quality and transparency of financial reporting, independent audits, and accounting services for public companies.
It also created a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board to enforce professional standards, ethics, and competence for the accounting profession, strengthens the independence of firms that audit public companies, increases corporate responsibility and the usefulness of corporate financial disclosure, increases penalties for corporate wrongdoing, protects the objectivity and independence of securities analysts, and increases Securities and Exchange Commission resources. Under the new law, CEOs and chief financial officers must personally vouch for the truth and fairness of their company's disclosures. Corporate officials will play by the same rules as their employees. In the periods when workers are prevented from buying and selling company stock in their pensions or 401 (k) s, corporate officials will also be banned from any buying or selling. This will help stop insider trading.
The new law will help ensure that corporate misdeeds are found and punished, by authorizing new funding for investigators and technology at the SEC to uncover wrongdoing. It also gives the SEC the administrative authority to bar dishonest directors and officers from ever again serving in positions of corporate responsibility. This new law is the first step in the many to come to ensure that organizations and its employees adhere to ethics in its simplest form, the difference between right and wrong, and ensure one does the right thing. Bibliography: Business: its legal, ethical, and global environment by Marianne Moody Jennings. Cincinatti, OH: West Legal Studies in Business, 2000 Business & Professional Ethics Journal Troy, NY: Human Dimensions Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In Pursuit of Principle and Profit: business success through social responsibility by Alan Reder.
New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, c 1994 Business and Society: a reader in the history, sociology, and ethics of business edited by Barry Castro. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996 Business and Society: corporate strategy, public policy, ethics by William Crittenden Frederick. New York: McGraw-Hill, c 1992. The Business Bible: ten commandments for creating an ethical workplace by Wayne Dick.
New York: W. Morrow, c 1993 Business Ethics by Norman Bowie. 2 nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, c. 1990 Ethics Management: auditing and developing the ethical content of organizations by Me Kaptein. Boston: Kluwer Academic Pub. , c 1998
Free research essays on topics related to: ethics in the workplace, human resource professionals, trust and respect, martha stewart, securities and exchange commission
Research essay sample on Human Resource Professionals Securities And Exchange Commission