Everyone has their own personal code of ethics, develop through education and experience. With the basic identified in kindergarten or even earlier. Each of us have developed personal ethical codes with inputs and guidance from numerous people including family members, friends, church leaders, mentors, teachers, community leaders and role models.
My underlying ethical system primarily is a duty-base ethical system, in which I acted in a certain manner, a manner that is a clear right or wrong. As a child, my parents and family were the ones who lay the ground rules for my ethical decisions. Knowing what is right from what is wrong, to say please and thank you when asking for and receiving something, to say good morning, good afternoon and good night, and to always speak the truth, pray before bed time, and again in the morning when I wake up. School teachers taught me how to enforce strict discipline, self-control and obedient behavior while in class. Religion, also play a major role on my personal ethics, it helps me to established a set of principles and morals, to always show respect for others, to do unto others as you would like others to do unto you.
There are other unique individuals that have influenced my personal ethics, such as Mahatma Ghandi, have earned my respect as a prominent leader; who once said, “Even if you are a minority of one, the truth will always be the truth.” Also Lady Theresa, another prominent figure who also said “when I am hungry, I look for someone to feed, and when I am thirsty I look for someone to give a drink of waters.” These are people with morals, value, and principles, which set good examples for others to follow.
Looking to others as well as the rules and regulations when making an ethical determination, is a very important process of ethical decision-making. Speaking openly and honestly, that my information are indeed factual, show support for my company and others, even when there are differences of opinion; to adapt to any changes, even if the initial process was done by me. Take pride in my work, whatever duties assigned to me. Try to amend any problems caused by misunderstanding of information. Address injustice, provide assistance, and so on.
Entitlement-based: By showing positive emotions, such as joy and happiness towards others, will consequently make them more optimistic and more likely to live out their moral choices to help others.
Moral values often conflict with other values. For example, a co-worker of mine made several mistakes while processing tax forms for the IRS. These process must be done with specific governmental guidelines (company strives on quality), she brought some forms over to my desk for verification, I came across several mistakes, using a systematic approach, I went back to her, very politely I said, “you have to be a little more careful,” there were few mistakes in you batch, knowing very well that people don’t like to told that they’ve made a mistake. She asked, what were the mistakes? I said there were four internationals included in your domestic batch, she said there were no international codes, I said agreed, but the address clearly states Canada, she rose from her seat asking for a second opinion (more like yelling), is Canada international, she asked? Everyone answered yes in uniformly.
Feeling rather embarrass, she walked back to my desk and started yelling at me, saying how she don’t like my attitude and told my manager how I tried to embarrass her. My manager in turn told me to be careful how I speak to my fellow employees. My ethical standard of fairness was challenged because my boss did not review the situation in a fair manner. My manager did not address the situation between us or address the entire department of the situation; instead she listens to one side of the story. Quality is an integral part of the company’s operation, and as a senior employee and part of the verifying team it is my duty, my responsibility to inform employees of any errors. My boss did not make a conscious effort to control the negative feeling and put everyone in a positive frame of mind. There were two other instances involving the same employee that continued to challenges my ethical standard that led me to make a final decision and asked for a transfer to another department.
Ethical codes vary among individuals and also corporations. History is filled with examples of the impact on society of varied ethical codes, from the organization or corporate perspectives, one can hardly picked up the newspaper anymore without reading about corporate scandal. As Allen Greenspan noted testifying before Congress in 2002, “trust and reputation can vanish overnight,” and we have seen repeated examples of such occurrences, demonstrating why good ethics is good business (Wisely,1974). There are many factors of moral reasoning and behavior that are relevant in any organizational settings. History demonstrates that trust, integrity, honesty and credibility remain very important to any organization.
Organization should have a clear set of organizational goals and policies, particularly when it comes to moral and ethics, employees need to know that the organization holds itself and them to a higher standard. By being clear about what is acceptable and what is not in the work place (Wisely, 1974). This plays into setting the policies that will govern how the organization is run. Guidelines of the company must be followed. In terms of competition, whether it is with another company or between two employees, ethics and moral should always be stressed. For example, if two employees are pitted against each other in competition for a raise, the potential for immoral and unethical behavior is there. The eagerness to get ahead in any way possible can be strong. It is therefore necessary for the organization owners to stress that the integrity of this organization cannot be compromised in any way shape or form.
To incorporate ethics, an organization must obey the law and the spirit of the law where ever they conduct business, values must be real, and must reflect actual behavior, especially among the organization’s leaders. To emphasize principles more that rules. (This is the best way to be more demanding of the organization, (Schulman, 2006), to encourage all employees to be challenging and demanding in the ethical domain of everyone in the organization, including the bosses.
Perception is reality. Ethical and social responsibilities are part of the same thing. Our ethical values are part of our image in the business world. At one time it did not matter much if we polluted the environment, paid below the minimum wage or used plastic bags wastefully if we could get away with it (Schulman, 2006). Rightly, as an organization in a community, which for some large organizations includes major parts of the world, investors may decide to invest, or not according to our reputation for ethical behavior in our society.
Miriam Schulman, March 22, 2006. Incorporating Ethics into the Organization Strategic Plan. Retrieve from. http://www.scu.edu
William H. Wisely (1974). The American Civil Engineer. Retrieved from. http://www.acsc.org
Trevino, L.K., and Nelson, K. A. (2011), Managing Business Ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right (5th Ed). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.