Businesses and individuals are often faced with issues that require ethical considerations in decision making process. This includes the morals and values that individuals in an organization need to consider in their day to day operations. A business environment where code of ethics are clearly outlined is likely to be more productive as all the employees and management are able to execute their duties according to their job descriptions and at the same time observe a positive and conducive working environment with minimal conflicts either internally or externally. The effort to observe and maintain ethical decision making is however difficult to achieve in most organizations. This is majorly due to the existence of differences in employees’ personalities and beliefs. This paper therefore seeks to outline some of the benefits of adopting ethical considerations in decision making process and identify some of the problems that hinder ethical decision making in businesses.
Individuals in both small and big businesses are faced with ethical dilemmas in making decisions in their day to day operations. As a way of nurturing ethical behavior in employees’ decision making, most organizations have adopted business ethics training programs as a way of equipping their employees with the necessary knowledge on the ethical considerations in their decisions. According to Ferrell (29), incorporating ethics in business decision making process is influenced by three key factors which include the intensity of the issue at hand, personal or individual factors and the organizational factors that promote ethical behavior such as corporate culture. Intensity of the issue refers to the relevance, perception and any possible harm of the ethical decision to the individual, group of employees and the organization (Trevino and Weaver, 152). For instance, an employer must consider improving the working conditions of the employees including the safety measures and payments for overtime jobs and other necessary compensation program as it is a both legal and ethical requirement in all the organizations. At the same time, an individual may decide that it is ethically and morally wrong to join a social group in which is mostly involved in gossiping about other employees. Such an ethical decision can be termed as a personal decision based on the perceived impacts of joining the wrong social groups.
In nurturing ethical decision making in businesses, it is essential for the organizations to nurture an ethical environment by coming up with guiding principles such as a code of ethics, corporate culture among other factors that all the employees must adhere to at all times (Vitell, 6). It is important for an organization to set the acceptable and unacceptable moral and social behavior in organizations so as to let the employees know what is required of them. Ethical decision making is also influenced by the type of leadership in an organization (Ferrell, 27). A form of leadership that allows effective communication and immediate feedback on the issues and opinions aired by the employees is likely to promote an environment where employees consider ethical requirements in making decisions. Also effective leadership that motivates employees in their respective duties is more likely to yield an ethical culture as compared to an organization with low employee motivation.
Business ethics is essential in making decisions that promote fairness and morality in a business. Ethical considerations are applied in making decisions pertaining employees’ behavior and working conditions, suppliers’ relations, corporate social responsibility and other day to day operations in businesses. Achieving effective ethical decisions is faced by various challenges and it is upon the organizations management to come up with effective ways of nurturing a working environment where corporate culture focuses more on applying ethical considerations in decision making processes.
Ferrell, Oliver. et al. Business Ethics, 9th ed. NY: Cengage Learning, 2005.
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Trevino, L. & Weaver, G. Managing Ethics in Business Organizations: Social Scientific Perspectives. CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.
Vitell, S et al. The Effects of Culture on Ethical Decision-Making: An Application of Hofstede's Typology. Journal of Business Ethics. Vol. 12: 753—760, 1993.