How Personal Can Ethics Get? Case Study
Ethics is the human conduct in light of moral principle that governs human beings establishing between what is wrong or right, good or bad (McDaniel, 2004). It is the code of ethics defined to us by others or created individual that enables an individual to act in a certain way because these are guiding principles. In short, it is not about competing on who can act much better but choosing to do the right thing (Trevino and Nelson 2010).
The organization’s code of conduct is an active guide towards the employee integrity and, on admission; it is a clear sign of having accepted as an employee to follow the organization ethics (McDaniel, 2004). However, the organization recruits individual who have ready instilled believes and values. According to Brown (2005), every employee has a culture instigated in them and this makes the personal differences.
These differences however impact on organizational ethics, for example if a company’s head conduct is not acceptable and he/she happens to be African American, a team member from the white race may feel vulnerable to report the situation directly to the CEO for fear of being called a racist (McDaniel, 2004).
Employees in an organization all have different preferences, and this could impact the organization either positively or negatively (Hellriegel and Slocum, 2011).
For example, a young employee of a company who has just joined may be reluctant to report any form of misconduct from senior leaders in order to retain employment. An old employee in the organization, on the other hand, will not hesitate to report any misconduct for not wanting to be part of it, regardless of the repercussion.
McDaniel (2004) states that ethics has to do with having full knowledge of wrong and right and then choosing to do the right thing. An individual’s situation due to individual difference may deter an employee from choosing what is right, junior employees most of the time are not allowed to question their superior’s decision or acts.
The way an organization sets its policies and procedures do impact the employee’s behavior. Organizations that does not have well defined systems in the way it operates, could compromise ethical standards (Brown, 2005).
For instance, an employee working in a team may realize some form of unethical behavior, but because the protocol of command is not well defined, the employee may be unaware whom to report to. As a result, the employee decides to keep it to himself than report to the wrong person and end up in trouble.
Organizations today are rooting out bureaucracy and opening channels of communication, this is to allow employees to work as a team rather than employer to employee kind of arrangement (Hellriegel and Slocum, 2011). If an Organization gives a team leader complete control, this may later compromise ethics because the employees feel obligated to follow the leader’s instructions, regardless of the organization ethic code.
This means that an organization should review how it establishes ethics for its employees and the best approach to encourage employees to be ethical (McDaniel 2004). The first step is in recruitment strategy an organization, must identify employees who will choose to do the right thing when faced with uncertainties.
The organization should also create an informal norm towards the authority of leaders in the organization (Brown, 2005). This will influence the employee’s behavior when faced with a situation where they have to report the leader’s action.
The organization must also provide a list of leaders who are ethically responsible and who act as a good example to the team members. According to Trevino and Nelson (2010) if a leader observes the organizations ethics, the team members are suit to follow.
Valarie is for one despite being in charge of accounts is in Mr. Water’s team, of marketing and she is in a dilemma to tell the CEO everything she has discovered. This would mean she would disorient the whole team and the other team members may cast down upon her.
Valarie is not a rightful U.S citizen and only holds a temporary visa card that allows her to work in the U.S. this means if she were to tell on Mr. Waters, she would be risking the chance of losing the work authorization if she happens to leave her job. The law only gives residents like Valarie thirty days to look for another job, failure to that the temporary visa can be cancelled, meaning Valerie risks having to leave the U.S.
If Valarie decides to tell the CEO and quit her job, it may not be easy for her to find another one because most companies do not want to deal with employees with temporary visas. This is because a lot of paper work is involved and time and money is wasted in the process.
The other ethical dilemma involves the masters’ programme that she is enrolled in. Valerie was hoping the company would clear her masters’ fee if she gets straight A’ or B’s; if she tells on Mr. Waters this will not be happen. If she loses her job she may also not finish her master’s science program, this means she will quit school and go back to her country.
Another dilemma that Valarie faces is how to start explaining how she acquired the information, without having to look like she was nosing around. She also does not any other proof apart from the payments to Mr. Waters. This means if she is to tell on Mr. Waters she would have to ask the CEO to look further into Mr. Waters activities.
Valarie should consider the risks involved if she decides to tell the CEO about Water’s unethical conduct. This means she has to go through the company’s policy and also involve a professional to inform her of her rights as a concerned employee.
The next move would be to compile her evidence to prevent any doubts from the CEO. For example after handing the CEO the copies she found, she should also hand the list of the eight companies that Wissons was doing business with. Then show the CEO how the six were dropped and only the two that give Waters a kickback were selected to do business with Wisson.
Valarie could also try and find witness among the team, because it is quite evident that the team player are in charge of all the tasks and Waters hardly plays any role. Some team members may volunteer to give an account of Water’s transactions and what Wisson was losing by dealing with only two companies instead of the eight.
Valarie as a whole should be careful on choice of words and how she relays the message to the CEO. She should raise the issue more as a concerned employee, than an employee with a grudge or an employee seeking revenge.
Integrity should be practiced in an organization despite the consequences that may befall the employees. However, there should be an act of sincerity exhibited by a leader being fully informed of what is the current situation, so they can decide the next cause of action. Ethics is not about being nice, but involves an individual decision to do the right thing.
Brown, M.T. (2005). Corporate integrity: rethinking organizational ethics and leadership. New York: Cambridge university press.
Hellriegel, D and Slocum, J. W. (2011). Organizational behavior. St.Paul MN West: Wagner and Hollenbeck
McDaniel, C. (2004). Organizational ethics: research and ethical environments. New York: Ashgate publishing
Trevino, L. K and Nelson, K. A (2010).Managing business ethics: straight talk about how to do it right (5th Ed.). New York: John Wiley and sons Inc.
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