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The Organizational Ethics of Lockheed Martin Essay

Lockheed Martin’s Vision statement reads as follows; (Who We Are) “be the global leader in supporting our customers to strengthen global security, deliver citizen services and advance scientific discovery. Let’s break this statement down into separate components. First, “supporting our customers to strengthen global security”, is a phrase that is limited to a customer base but also inclusive to the entire globe. The ethical question with this part of their mission statement is; at what point does an organization like Lockheed impose their own ethical limits over their customer’s? This is a prime example of external factors influencing the company’s ethical standards. Lockheed can find themselves at the mercy of their customer’s request and desires. This can lead to taking on a project that they may not be ethically inline with. They are in essence giving their customer complete control over what they believe is ethical in global security.

This can obviously turn into a bias view of what’s good for the world, when left up to a specific group of customers. The next part of the statement then puts the ethical decisions back into the hands of Lockheed, “deliver citizen services.” With this sentiment Lockheed gets to choose the services within a society that it feels will serve that citizens the best. Finally and maybe the most ethically sensitive area of Lockheed’s mission, is “advance scientific discovery”. Science, especially in the area of discovery, can lead to many ethical questions depending on the nature of the research. The biggest questions arise when animal or human testing is involved.

To specifically address their ethical philosophy Lockheed released this statement; ( ) “We are committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct in all that we do. We believe that honesty and integrity engender trust, which is the cornerstone of our business. We abide by the laws of the United States and other countries in which we do business, we strive to be good citizens and we take responsibility for our actions.” The reality is Lockheed is in the business of making some of the worlds most advanced and destructive military weapon systems. Even though their products are used in combat to kill the enemy, there are still laws and rules governing the how destructive and lethal these weapons can be. Lockheed does make sure to operate within the guidelines set forth by Geneva Convention Treaties and Rules of Armed Conflict. These guidelines are examples of legal factors that give Lockheed guidance of where the ethical ‘lines’ should be drawn.

Lockheed addresses the fact that they not only have their own ethical standards to adhere to but that they are also a direct reflection of their suppliers. (Who We Are ), “We want our suppliers to understand, foster, and mirror the ethical conduct we expect from our employees in all business challenges and transactions.” This places them in the unique situation, not only to monitor their practices but also those of the organizations providing the materials they need to do business. Lockheed Martin expects their contractors to behave in a manner consistent with the principles of their code of ethics. One key element in regards to their suppliers is that Lockheed requires their suppliers to have a set and standardized Code of Ethics Programs within each organization. Lockheed also holds their employees to the same standards as their suppliers.

In Lockheed’s 2012 Employee Perspectives Survey, employees stated that they were more apt to report unethical behavior activity, while the percent of misconduct reported was at an all time low. Leo S. Mackay Jr., vice president of Ethics and Sustainability says, (FIve Lessons) “Even if you didn’t know anything about our Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, if you followed the value statements – Do what’s right, Respect others, and Perform with excellence – you could come pretty close to how we would want you to act in any situation that involved an ethical judgment.” One thing that makes Lockheed’s ethic program work is the ethics officers, at the business level, are embedded directly with the employees.

These ethics officers attend business and planning meetings. This ensures that the officers understand the businesses they support, and by participating in the field they are able to bridge the gap between business and ethics. When employees have to deal with ethical issues, they have specific avenues to reach out to including; talking to their ethics officer, calling the Corporate Ethics HelpLine, or sending an email directly to the Lockheed Ethics Department. It is important to note that the aforementioned ethics officers are elected officials from within the company. Lockheed Martin must report certain types of misconduct to the government. This further signifies the importance the responsibility of all employees to report any ethical issues. Every Lockheed employee, even executives, must participate in ethics training once a year.

Who We Are – Ethics. (n.d.). Ethics · Lockheed Martin. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/who-we-are/ethics.html Five Lessons for a Successful STEM Career. (n.d.). Polishing Our Ethics Performance · Lockheed Martin. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/who-we-are/ethics/culture-ethics.html

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