The Ethical Dilemma
Posted on July 7, 2011 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
July 7, 2011 – by Gail
Enter the business world today and you will no doubt be faced with ethical dilemmas. Scandals such as Enron have brought to light how leaders once considered great make decisions that are full of scandal. While it is not always clear why people make unethical decisions specifically in the workplace, there are ways that these behaviors can be avoided.
Proctor and Gamble, for example, is one of the most ethical organizations in the country. With the ethical rating comes a high rate of success. What sets P & G apart is the strong ethical culture that leaders of the company have established and fostered. Employees in the organization are held accountable for decisions and encouraged to volunteer his or her time and talents by volunteering in the community. No matter what organization you may be in, any organization can create an ethical culture with persistence and time.
The first step in creating an ethical culture is to adopt a code of ethics. Leaders of the organization should develop a code of ethics that clearly states what the organization stands for and what is expected of employees. The code of ethics does not have to be lengthy, just clear and concise.
Secondly, employees will need to undergo ethics training. For employees to understand and accept a shift in an organization’s ethical culture, employees need to be trained in what an ethical organization means and what behaviors are acceptable. Presenting employees with situations that they may come across and discussing the best decision can be extremely helpful in developing a strong ethical culture.
An important step in an ethical culture has to do with hiring the right employees. Potential employees’ past behavior should be examined to determine future behavior. An organization can determine whether or not ethic testing will be part of the selection process as well. When ethical employees are consistently hired, the hope is that they will influence one another positively.
Lastly, when employees go astray as they surely will, the organization must correct the behavior as soon as possible. Employees will take the code of ethics more seriously if they know that it is enforced and consequences can occur should it be broken. Every organization has the ability to be as ethical as they wish to be. The behavior starts at the top and trickles down to all employees. When leaders demonstrate a high level of ethical behavior, employees will follow as well.
How would you rate your own organization on ethical behavior?
Reference: Sauser, W. (2005). Business ethics: Back to basics. Society for Advancement of Management, 2.