Improving Business Ethics and Morals in an Organization – A Responsibility of an Effective Leader

Ethics and morals respectively have its own meaning although, superficially, they are related and referred to the good or the bad.  Ethics “is simply describing how people behave” (Perle, 2004).  However, the ethics at workplace are usually referred to trust, loyalty, and respect.  Any organization, small or large, has developed their rules, regulations, policies, and procedures to protect the integrity of the business process and the moral and ethical values of the employees.  The relationship between the policy and the procedure somehow forms an ethical norm.  “Ethics as practice implies an openness to accept and discuss ethical dilemmas that are eschewed by adiaphorization”(Clegg, Kornberger, & Rhodes, 2006, p. 117).   Therefore, the step towards more ethically informed management of an organization is to promote the acceptance and discussion of ethical dilemmas.

To promote all these ethical and moral discussions into practice, leaders of an organization need to show the transparency in every business transactions and a proper communication from the top down.  Information that is effectively shared closes the gap between department’s activities and enables employees to be in harmony with business strategic directions.  Unethical dilemma used to occur within employees’ hiring processes, promotion, salaries, bonuses, and contract and procurement process.  It is responsibility of a leader to promote a transparency in these processes.  Contract and procurement should be simple, clear, and complied with the regulations.  The hiring process should follow the standards in which job descriptions are developed for the position, not for an individual.

Business ethics and moral in an organization should be initiated by leaders and managers and then maintained by all employees.  Velamuri and Dew (2009) considered business ethics consists of two goals, “one directed at modifying the norms and conventions under which business is transacted, the other at modifying the behavior of organizations through a modification in the behavior of individuals” (p. 116).   Employees must treat each other in a manner that preserves integrity and displays a steadfast adherence to a high ethical standard in which good character and moral principles are exhibited.   Head of Human Resources department should be a person who can keep the integrity of the process and should not be influenced by any in practicing his/her duty.

All of these suggestions are responsibility of an organization leaders whoever can prove the effective leadership.

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References

Clegg, S., Kornberger, M, & Rhodes, C. (2007). Business ethics as practice. Bristish Journal of Management, 18, 107-122.

Perle, S. (March 11, 2004). Morality and Ethics: An introduction. Dynamic Chiropractic, 22 (6).

Velamuri, S. R., & Dew, V. (2009). Evolutionary process, moral luck, and the ethical responsibilities of the manager. Journal of Business Ethics, 91, 113-126.

About Phat Pham

I don't have money to share, but I do have a desire to transform our society, starting from the workplace and the local community I serve.
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4 Responses to Improving Business Ethics and Morals in an Organization – A Responsibility of an Effective Leader

  1. JoAnn says:

    Very good!

  2. The Bee says:

    Dr. Pham,

    Amen, amen! I love articles talking about ethical and moral standards. This is the core of everything in human society. All religious leaders such as Buddha, Jesus, and Confucius had tried to teach mankind these values for thousands of years and our modern society still seem to be struggling with it. These values seem to be forced to commit suicide or they faded out gradually in modern business world, where top managements often over used their power to legally manipulate the system to satisfy their greed. Remember an act may be considered totally un-ethical but it is perfectly legal. Unfortunately, this immoral technique has been used quite often in organization to punish employees who might have stand for the right thing at a wrong place and wrong time. It is true that ethical and moral standards are needed to regulate one’s behavior, but who would have the power and be there at the right time to enforce or guide them?
    I love reading golden rules and I have also learned that moral standards are classified into two categories: positive formulation and negative formulation. The two golden rules below are very similar but they do not necessary say the same things:

    Positive formulation: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Negative formulation: Avoid doing to others what you would not want done to yourself.
    Can anyone decipher the major distinction between them?

    Thanks for your article and I truly love this topic.

    Regards,

    • Phat Pham says:

      Thank you for reading my blog.

      You are asking an appropriate question about the enforcement. In a family, parents teach and enforce their children to be ethical and moral, in a social community, religous leaders enforce it, and in an organization, the corporate leaders and managers will need to do so.

      To me, enforcing ethical and moral value in an organization somehow is not enough, but leaders will have to show examples.

      Thanks.

  3. Sophia Showes says:

    Awesome writing style!

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