Culture and workplace ethics Essay
Culture and workplace ethics
Culture in the workplace has very little to do with the well known culture of literature, music and art. In the workplace, culture actually refers to the shared work environment, belief systems, behavior expectations and expected efforts, all of which usually characterize a certain organization or business enterprise. The work setting culture mainly includes things like, socialization expectations, dress code, how different groups within the organization perceive issues relating to attendance, problem solving and quality of work output.
Finding the appropriate culture to fit an organization is a vital element in ensuring that a particular field or job is successful. Corporate culture has a lot of influence on ethics of an organization. It is through it that right or wrong decisions are made. They determine whether to adopt strategies that will benefit majority of the people in the workplace positively or adopting ones with an impact of affecting most workers in a negative manner (Russell, Para 3). Effect of culture on workplace ethics
The organization’s culture is quite important perhaps more than most people appreciate. It holds various categories of people within an organization together and thus it has a lot of impact on what people within the organization perceive to be right or wrong. Even though certain conducts like corruption might be considered to be vice and thus culturally immoral in some organizations, there are other workplaces where the behavior is considered to be appropriate. Culture is usually deep rooted in an organization since although it is manmade; it takes several decades to grow.
New employees in each and every work place are first introduced to the operating culture in the workplace and thus it is usually in each and every person working in the workplace. Ethics comes after culture and it therefore has to sing to the tune of culture (Lagan, & Moran, pp 46). The depth of culture within an organization is usually realized when someone attempts to alter an organization’s culture in a manner that is not consistent with the shared believes and norms of the organization. Such a person usually meets a lot resistance regardless of whether the intended cultural change is ethical or not.
Culture within an organization is usually not stagnant but it is rather dynamical so as to take into account the changing business and workplace environment. Due to the fact that the workplace ethics are tied to culture, they also have to keep on changing so as to be consistent with the workplace culture (Russell, Para 4). Workplace ethics is highly influenced by the leadership of the entire organization. These are the people who are charged with the mandate of running the business and making decisions for the entire organization. The organizational culture determines the type of people to take managerial decisions.
Therefore, if the culture of an organization is to be led by men and women of high integrity, then the workplace in such an organization is likely to be ethical. This is due to the fact that when an organization is led by such people, they will always make decisions with each and everyone within and without the organization in their mind. Their decisions will in most cases affect majority of the people in a positive manner. In this case, culture is very important on business ethics since it determines in an indirect manner the type of decisions to be made by the managers leading the organization (Hopkins, pp 78).
On the other hand, if the organizational culture of a particular enterprise is one that allows men and women of less integrity to lead it, people who enter these offices via unethical channels where merit is not a priority, then such managers will in most cases be unethical. They will in almost all cases make unethical decisions which are likely to only benefit very few individuals within the organization while exposing the majority, mainly the junior members of staff to unfair treatment. Workplaces operating from such environments are mostly unethical and clearly this is as a result of the organizational culture.
Most of the decisions adopted in such organizations are usually only aimed at maximizing the profits of the organization without putting into consideration other parties who are likely to suffer as a result of such decisions. These types of managements are mainly self centered and are only worried about their business organizations with little or no concern at all for other people. They are not worried of whether their actions are ethical or not, as long as business is running and making profits nothing else worry them.
This attitude is usually enhanced by the organizational culture which in turn affects the workplace ethics significantly (Russell, Para 7). The corporate culture of an enterprise determines the criteria of promotion. If the culture of an organization enhances promotion based on merit, then the workplace will be more ethical as compared to instances where promotion is not based on merit. Since employees seek for promotion every now and then, they have to look for the criterion that is used for promotion so that they can be well equipped to qualify for promotion.
Such a culture of promotion will take decades to develop and will thus be very much deep rooted to eliminate within the workplace (Lagan, & Moran, pp 69). The culture of an organization determines the values that are to be held in high regard within the organization. If a culture holds unethical behaviors in high esteem, then such conducts will be dominant in the organization. Rewards will be awarded to those people who excel in such conducts. In this case, the organizational culture is mainly concerned with appreciating the efforts of its employees who have excelled in certain field regardless of whether their actions were ethical or not.
Such a culture therefore, promotes unethical behaviors among its employees (Brooks, & Dunn, pp 120). In other organizations, the culture is very clear and is tailored towards promoting ethical behaviors among its employees. In fact, the employees who excel in ethical conducts in various fields in the course of their work are identified in a fair manner and rewarded so as to encourage them to continue in the same spirit and be even more ethical in future.
The other employees are also challenged to act ethically and at the same time they are made to desire to act ethically so as to be rewarded like their counterparts who were more ethical than then in a certain period. This form of culture thus acts as a tool for enhancing ethical behaviors within an organization to develop (Bassman, pp 55s). Culture within an organization determines how the organization as whole perceives the outsiders, more so its competitors. There are cultures which are tailored towards viewing the competitors as enemies and thus it promotes actions which will deal with such enterprises as enemies.
Such a culture will promote unethical behaviors to its competitors and enmity arises between the two organizations. Culture is responsible for various unethical actions that might be penetrated to the other organization since it has made everyone within the workplace of the organization to develop a negative attitude towards its competitors (Russell, Para 9). At the same time, culture can act as a catalyst for enhancing ethical behaviors among the various employees of the organization especially in their actions towards the competitors.
Culture will in this case promote good relations among the two organizations and it will make the employees to perceive the other organization as a competitor and not an enemy. This form of culture will promote actions that will enhance positive competition between the two sides and thus ethical behaviors will be enhanced greatly (Lagan, & Moran, pp 89). While there are employment regulations and laws governing the manner in which employees are to be treated, the ethics of an organization are more tailored by the organizational culture and not such laws and regulations.
The ethics therefore goes beyond the regulations and the laws connecting the business practices of an organization to the workers’ personal beliefs. Culture in this case plays a leading role in ensuring that the actions adopted by the organization are in line with it. In this case, the organizational culture ensures that various employees in the workplace within the enterprise work together for a common objective as well as having the intention of doing the right thing in a world that is quite diverse and complex (Bassman, pp 126).
The culture in operation within an enterprise determines how an organization treats its outsiders and whether or not it does anything that is likely to affect them negatively. For culture to be able to promote ethical actions among its employees towards the outsiders, then it must be one that encourages decisions that will affect these people in a positive manner. Among the current issues that has brought a lot of criticism in the entire world is that of pollution. An organization is considered to be ethical if it emits fewer pollutants to the environment.
This means that it is concerned about the environment and the consequences of disposing untreated chemicals to the environment. On the other hand, there are organizations that are completely unethical. They pollute the environment without really caring how many people will be affected by the same. This affects the workplace environment indirectly since the employees will face hostility from members of public and will in several occasions be referred to as unethical people who do not care about tomorrow.
This might make the organization to loose several employees to other companies which are more ethical as employees will like to be associated with organizations with good reputation (Brooks, & Dunn, pp 258). Conclusion Culture is a very important element in every organization. It is responsible in shaping the ethical behavior of the employees and also the workplace ethics. This is due to the fact that ethics within an organization is driven by the culture that is in operation within an organization. Culture is therefore a very important force in driving ethical practices of an enterprise.
This is mainly because the organizational culture takes time to grow and mature and that it is taught to all new employees which make it to be deeply rooted within all employees. Culture has the ability of making an organization to act either ethically or unethically. Work cited: Bassman, Emily S. ; Abuse in the workplace: management remedies and bottom line impact; ISBN 089930673X, Quorum, 1992. Brooks, Leonard J. & Dunn, Paul; Business & Professional Ethics for Directors, Executives & Accountants; ISBN 0324594550, Cengage Learning, 2009.
Hopkins, Willie Edward. Ethical dimensions of diversity; ISBN 080397289X, SAGE, 1997. Lagan, Attracta & Moran, Brian; Three Dimensional Ethics: Implementing Workplace Values; ISBN 097574223X, eContent Management, 2005. Russell, Mike; Workplace Ethics & Business for Social Responsibility: Initiatives for corporate culture’s committed to ethical business practices, concern for the environment and global humanitarian causes (2008): Retrieved on 5th August 2009 from http://sandiego. jobing. com/blog_post. asp? post=8929.