Question 1: Ethical Management:
Issue of ethics is something that has been spoken of and debated possibly since the advent of mankind and philosophy itself. The developments in the modern management world especially over the last decade have sparked off numerous discussions and debates on Ethical Management and legality. What is legal need not necessarily be ethical always.
The economic crisis of 2008-2009 which deeply impacted the American economy and had in a way impacted global economy and several economies still continue to reel under its effect almost half a decade later is a classic example of what could happen if ethics were to be compromised. What could have started as a simple trepidation for self-advancement or in other terms pure, unadulterated greed for money led to a series of debacles of institutions that no one ever dreamed could fail or falter or demean the trust that has been placed in them by thousands or even millions of people globally.
A simple guidance of what is doing right things is doing things when no one is watching or believes so. It is no great matter to be doing things under guidance or strict supervision.
Ethics demand performance of duties at all times with care and diligence towards all the stake holders and not just maximising profits for shareholders. There have been different models including the Ethical Virtues Model. Ethical Virtues Model was formulated by Muel Kaptien, Professor of Business Ethics and Integrity Management at RSM Erasmus University and also a practicing partner of KPMG. This is an eight dimensional corporate virtues model – Clarity, congruency of management, congruency of supervisors, feasibility, supportability, transparency, discussability and sanctionability.
The most recent scandal that has broken out in the recent history is the J P Morgan who was once considered a role model among the Wall Street luminaries. There were five important scandals of J P Morgan are the Energy Scandal, The London Whale, Enabling Madoff, Libor Scandal and the Credit Card Scandals.
Question 2: Discrimination Laws
Discrimination is a social practice creating its own set of apartheid in most of the societies today. This continues into organizations too in some way where apartheid is practiced. Discrimination is a practice deeply rooted in the social structure and in the minds of people.
Discrimination in society could have its origin in religious practices, sectorial beliefs, gender, thoughts among other things. There have been these practices that discriminate in a variety of ways. Over the last quarter century a new kind of discrimination in the work place that has emerged is on the basis of knowledge - knowledge of things critical to working of the organization.
Gender discrimination has reached different proportions and other kind of discriminatory practices have been implemented in more subtle ways to be compliant with social practices or changing legal requirements. With the advent of globalization discrimination and discriminatory practices seem to be taking a back seat due to the intensity of competition for everything. However there are still pockets where this continues unabated.
The developed society has been leading the effort to root out discrimination by a series of actions and setting in place strict laws that need abiding. Discriminatory practices still continue despite the best of efforts to provide an even platform. Some communities even today refuse blood transfusion even for a bypass surgery because of religious beliefs. And the most astounding case in the recent memory is that of Savita Hallapanavar in Ireland who lost her life because she was refused an abortion by the treating doctors again because the religion dictated so. These are discriminatory practices that have impacted people and lives have been lost.
All this happens despite the fact that the western society – despite being advanced – in its thoughts, practices and legal systems because of deep rooted beliefs.
The most visible piece of legislation in the developed world is the Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC) and the Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC). Before these the legal frame work was more of a patchwork mostly equality declaratory in nature. With this piece of legislation there is a consolidated law across the EU that prohibits discriminatory actions in society and workplace.
Question 3: Positive Change Resistance:
There is an adage that goes only one who loves a change is a baby with a wet diaper! As human beings we love the familiar. Familiar in all senses of the word and especially we love familiarity both at work and personal life levels. It is estimated that more than half of the organization change initiatives fail because of resistance – resistance in many forms and levels.
Resistance can actually be used to the advantage of the organizations if there is a shift in the philosophy and approach of the managers towards resistance. The effort towards resistance should not be the one that should the one that be an effort to overcome it. The effort must be the one to engage it and engage it effectively and use it for the purpose of the organization.
The second idea towards resistance is the one to use it as a form of feedback. Resistance must be perceived as feedback and be used in a very pointed manner to provide potentially invaluable information in the change process. Using resistance as feedback managers can invariably change certain aspects of change so as to increase the likelihood of the success of change process itself!
In a paper written by Jeffery D Ford and Laurie D Ford titled Stop Blaming Resistance and Start Using it they say resistance is useful and must be used positively in the following five ways: a. Focussing on the purpose of change; b. Aiding improvement in the change plan; c. Using resistance as a vehicle to involve people; d. highlight and conclude issues that could be impediments from the past and; e. Clarification of objectives and strategies. Resistance is to be seen as valuable resource to accomplish change successfully. This can be successfully achieved if there is a clear shift in the approach to change by the managers involved in the change process.
Question 4: Management Performance, Improvement and Development:
Management performance and improvement is a matter of serious concern and grips managements of all organizations – small, medium or large. Performance management and improvement and process improvement is an area of serious concern not for just the HR practitioners but also for all the managers in an organization.
A number of systems of management performance and improvement have been in vogue starting from the 1-minute approach in the yester years to the Balanced Scorecard and the HR Scorecard in the recent years. Performance management philosophy has gone way beyond just improving financial performance and today it encompasses numerous dimensions including the environmental awareness and sensitivity factors too.
Today shareholders and stakeholders look beyond mere financial performance and are asking corporations to be socially responsible and responsive too. Environmental awareness has reached all-time high pitch and it has become an essential part of management performance.
A specific case of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (http://www.bms.com) 8 pronged approach to performance management and improvement encompassing Corporate Governance, Leadership, Management Systems, Environment, Health and Safety policy, Systems for managing risks, Managing Systems Certifications, Managing Systems Components and, Overarching policies.
There are very clear performance parameters and directives in all the 8 dimensions. Each and every employee is to be aware and align with these directives and strive for constant improvement in all these dimensions.
Organizations go way beyond mere financial performance, which was the management philosophy early last century. Today organizational performance are far more responsible towards all the stakeholders and are expected to protect and promote their interests. There are instances when organizations have directly or indirectly even gone beyond the realm of their businesses and have cooperated with the society around them to bring around a change. For instance Google is known to promote cycling as an initiative to protect the environment and at the same time promote the health of its employees.
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