Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) was originally funded by Angelina Jolie and several other celebrities with the objective of helping children under the age of eighteen who were either abandoned by one or more parents and eligible for asylum claims the opportunity to obtain green cards legally within the United States, (KIND). What KIND specializes in is finding attorneys to provide pro bono counsel to these children and their families in order to obtain green cards legally, (KIND). The way that these attorneys are able to help these kids is through using a part of the immigration code called “special juvenile status,” (KIND). It is through this law that these children can apply for the green card on the condition that they attend school until high school, (KIND). It is though this that these children are given a fair opportunity to make a permanent and safe life in the United States.
Even though KIND has changed many lives, it is still subject to the same organizational ethical issues that are prevalent within the United States. One of the key implications of the organization’s culture is on the ethical and non-ethical policies that appear in the organization as a result. The first aspect of the company culture that affects the flow of progress is the effect that the company culture has on its employees, (Page, D.). This is a major hindrance for organizations because many lose sight of the importance that their company culture has on their employees.
The reality with corporate culture is that it starts from the top. Senior management many times loses a great deal of contact with their employees by separating themselves and setting impossible standards, (Overcoming Disconnect Between Middle and Upper Management). At times, this tends to create a corporate culture that is shark-like in nature because the employees are forced to not be ethical in order to get ahead. This is an enormous problem in corporate culture in America because it makes the workplace stressful and unhealthy for those who work there.
Pertaining to the culture at KIND, KIND was unique in that they had such low budgets that many of their lawyers who placed the clients with pro bono counsel were forced to receive free office space from law firms who wanted a tax ride off, (KIND). What ends up happening in KIND is that there is an issue with compromising client confidentiality, (KIND). KIND hires legal interns that are not licensed to practice law as of yet in order to save money, (KIND). These interns serve as translators and have access to privileged files of the clients, (KIND). Where there is a potential ethical conflict of interest is that the organizing attorney does not encourage the interns to find out information that actually allows the clients to be assisted by KIND due to the restricted budget of the organization. As a result of this, the interns are not encouraged everything that they learned in the standard intake interview, (KIND). This creates an ethical issue because not only are the interns exposed to confidential client information but they are also encouraged to not report that information. This inhibits the client’s access to the legal counsel that they in fact need.
One of KIND’s major hindrances is the disconnect from the middle management to the upper management. This is an enormous issue for KIND in that their offices are all over the country and their headquarters personnel rarely visit the one attorney they hired at their satellite offices around the country. This creates a major gap in the ethics that are promoted in their corporate culture, which is an enormous disadvantage to their business. This corporate disconnect is detrimental to KIND even though they are a non-profit business.
In order to combat KIND issues, it is best to look to internal and external controls in order to improve the ethical culture of the organization, (Michael, M.). An example of an internal control that could be hypothetically used within the organization would be the requirement of more personnel to check the intake reports in order to ascertain whether KIND’s legal services could in fact help those in need of pro bono counsel that meet KIND’s stringent requirements, (Ferrell, C.). An example of a possible external control that could be used to implement into KIND’s business model would be to allow the pro bono lawyers that are considering taking the cases of these children to review the client’s files themselves and then make a determination as to whether the client is eligible for representation, (Business Ethics). This would be a wonderful way to ensure that not only is KIND more centrally connected but also that the children are getting pro bono legal counsel who really need help.
What is important to remember about dealing with ethics in the nonprofit industry, is that at times, ethics do not exist in nonprofit organizations. This is a concept that is lost sight of at times because many people assume that just because an organization does a great deal of good in the world that they automatically practice business ethics, (Business Ethics). However, this could not be further from the truth because at the end of the day, these nonprofits are also businesses that need to make enough to stay open even though they are a not for profit corporation. This is an enormous issue that KIND faces is their budgetary constraints. What KIND truly needs to focus on is their quality of the service that they are providing and that quality directly pertains to the amount of kids that they are able to help obtain legal residence within the United States. It is programs such as KIND that are going to make a big difference in the next generation of the Untied States because they are starting a trend of ethical and legal immigration. Thus, it is absolutely imperative that KIND implement the same ethics within their organization so that they can continue to make a positive difference in many people’s lives for years to come.
Business Ethics: The Power of Doing the Right Thing. Byus.edu. Retrieved from: http://jsmith.cis.byuh.edu/books/powerful-selling/s07-business-ethics-the-power-of-d.html/.
Ferrell, C. Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases. Business Ethics. Cenegae Learning, 2011.
KIND (Kids in Need of Defense). Retrieved from: https://supportkind.org/.
Michael, M. Business Ethics: The Law of Rules. Harvard School of Business. Retrieved from: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/m-rcbg/CSRI/publications/workingpaper_19_michael.pdf/.
Overcoming the Disconnect Between Middle and Upper Management. Managing Americans. Retrieved from: http://www.managingamericans.com/Middle-Manager/Success/Overcoming-Disconnect-Between-Middle-Upper-Management-478.htm/.
Page, D. Organizational Culture’s Influence in Ethical Policies. Chron. Retrieved from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/organizational-cultures-influence-ethical-policies-37308.html/.