Specifically, how would you advise the ethics steering committee?
Major Issues faced by the Ethical Steering Committee
The major issues faced by the ethics steering committee were as follows:
Fear of RetributionFear of retribution existed among employees, which inhibited employees from sharing their ethical concerns with the management .
Measuring Effectiveness of Ethics Programs
It was challenging to measure the effectiveness of ethics programs for organizations .
Recommendations for Ethical Steering Committee
I would advise the ethical steering committee to adopt the following initiatives in collaboration with the organizations:
Advise Internal Analysis of Organizations
According to the bad apple theory, people are good or bad; and the organizations are helpless in changing this . Disregarding bad apples (unethical behavior) is not the solution to ethical problems within an organization. Therefore, the organizations should be advised to conduct internal analysis to understand the factors that lead to accumulation of bad apples or the spoiling of the good apples in the organizations.
Suggestion on Organizational Culture
The management of the organizations in the defense industry should be advised to work on the development of a positive and a healthy organizational culture that is driven by ethical values, practices and transparency in its operational processes. Such an ethical environment would motivate the employees to follow ethical practices initiated on their own rather than the organization to direct them to do so.
Figure 1. Ethical Decision Making Process
Promotion of Managerial Approach to Business Ethics
Most managers expect their team members to work in the most efficient manner and produce quality products . The managers need to develop an understanding of the reasons behind certain types of behavior by people so as to enable them to influence the behavior of their team members . Managers who have an in depth understanding of their own behavior and those of their sub-ordinates shall be efficiently able to lead their departments in the ethical direction .
Constitution of Code of Ethics
Ethical behavior in business is the behavior which is consistent with the principles, norms and standards of business practices which has been agreed upon by society . The organizations should be advised to constitute a code of law which shall guide employees on how to follow ethical practices in organizations in addition to the code of ethics proposed by the committee.
Training & Development-Ethics Education
Various training and development programs in the area of business ethics should be conducted in organizations to train employees on how to act ethically and deal with the ethical dilemmas which they may face in their routine jobs.
Corporate Social Responsibility Concept
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) includes the integration of self-regulation as a part of its business model . Organizations should be encouraged to adopt CSR policy functions such as self-regulatory mechanism of the business to monitor its conformance to the ethical practices and laws.
Relevance of Code of Ethics
The code of ethics proposed for the organizations should be relevant to the present business and legal environment. Various practices that were once considered ethical may not be considered ethical in the current scenario. Therefore, there is a constant need to revise the code of ethics from time to time and ensure it is relevant.
Employees should be encouraged to allow voluntary disclosure to accept and deal with the unethical practices in the organizations.
Shift in approach of auditors
The auditors should focus on the audit of the systems and in depth analysis governing the ethical practices in organizations rather than only limiting their task to finding mistakes and errors.
Measurement of Ethical Program Effectiveness
Research tools should be employed to measure the effectiveness of the ethical programs in organizations through the analysis of data such as number of complaints, fraud statistics and the possible impact of ethical programs on the performance of organizations.
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Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2010). Managing Business Ethics. USA: John Wiley & Sons.