- Describe how a company’s ethical standards are aligned with its decision-making approach (es) and how would you be certain that ethical decisions were being made.
Company’s ethical standards evaluate whether practices applied by employees and managers can be considered as morally acceptable (Ferrell, 2008). Very often, the meaning of business ethics is understood as the application of discipline, principles and standards that guide the behavior and decision-making within a company. In this context, when companies focus on achieving core values such as respect, trust and open communication, they create ethical business operations that might help increasing their performance.
Understanding the importance of having ethical standards and following through ethical decisions is one of the key results towards making better choices. It helps employees and managers to make decisions when solutions are otherwise unclear. This could include decision making across a range of activities from avoiding illegal actions towards encouraging social good.
Implementing ethical decisions involves few simple steps. First, the manager evaluates the specific problem and makes sure if there is an ethical issue involved.
Second, he gathers the necessary facts and analyzes different options of dealing with the issue. The manager has to use adequate information and verify any assumptions or other uncertain information. This includes the confirmation of using reliable and credible resources. Then, the manager tests his decision and implements it. In order to make optimal ethical decisions, a manager has to be flexible, listens to employee’s feedback and review his decisions. If the ethical decisions do not reach the expected results or are causing any undesirable outcomes, they should be re-assessed.
In many cases, the company’s representative that sets up the ethical behavior standards in the workplace is the manager. The first main responsibility of the manager towards this direction is to establish the corporate culture of the company and enforce rules, guidelines and policies that are equal across all levels of the company.
Ethical management requires a clear ethical framework which could be used by the manager in making decisions and taking action. It should be clear what the employees are allowed to do and what they are not.
The second responsibility of a manager is to motivate its employees to follow the ethical framework assigned. There are many ways of encouraging employees to work within the assigned ethical standards, such as: ask about employees’ feedback and opinion; ensure protection and anonymity when reporting unethical behavior; make clear the punishment in case of not following the rules, but also the benefits of working in accordance to the ethical standards;
The third responsibility of a manager is to coordinate the duties amongst the employees and offer them coaching. One of the best ways is giving them example by showing personal commitment and motivation to follow the ethical standards of the company they are working for. Scheduling workshops and meetings that discuss emerging ethical issues is also an option.
Kidder, E. (2012). Ethical decision making and behavior. In: Johnson, C Meeting the Ethical Challenges of Leadership. 4th ed. George Fox University: SAGE Publications, Inc . p1-36.
Anaejionu, R. (2012). How to motivate ethical behavior in the workplace?. Available: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/motivate-ethical-behavior-workplace-11489.html. Last accessed 4th Nov 2013.
Waddock, Sandra (2007). "Ethical Role of the Manager. In: Oaks, Ed. Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society. Sage Reference online. Web. 30 Jan, 2012. P786-91.