Chapter1 and Chapter 4
Chapter1: Unethical Behaviors in Organizations and Human Nature
Businessorganizations are dependent on human endeavors. However, humannature is dual. An individual will be honest or lie depending withwhat benefit is derived from being honest or dishonest. Due to thecomplex human endeavors within an organization, ethics should be animportant aspect of every organization activities. Ethics within anorganization are set of principles which determine whether the actionis acceptable or not acceptable. There are numerous unethical actsthat occurs daily or occasionally depending on the work environment. Ethical or unethical actions are as a result of ethical dilemmasfaced by employees and stakeholders (such as suppliers, customers,shareholders and state officers) in the day to day activities. Todetermine the unethical acts within a workplace, an ethical analysisof all the decision made by every worker is necessary. There aremany reasons why people behave unethically. The psychology of ethicalbehaviors has been studies extensively by major theorist such as JeanPiaget and Lawrence Kohlberg where they established the differentstages of moral development. People behave unethically consciously ordue to lack of knowledge. Although altruistic behaviors are alsopart of human nature, humans will always seek pleasure and avoidsuffering and pain. Human also have conscience, a sense of right andwrong and their actions are influenced by reason (Collins, 2012).
Ethicalanalysis involves looking at what motivated the action, the actionand the consequences of the action. An idea ethical action is anaction which has a positive motive and the consequences of theactions are also good. On the other hand, unethical actions are as aresult of negative motives and are associated with bad consequences.For example, the motives of gender based discrimination andharassment is negative and result into suffering of the personsaffected. It is therefore an unethical act within a businessorganization. Informing the subordinate staff about the business planof the organization in advance could be ethical or unethical. If thesubordinate is required to know the business plan in advance in orderto improve his performance and the sharing of the information ispermitted, it is an ethical action (Collins, 2012). On the otherhand, if the business plan is confidential to avoid a likelihood ofmisusing the information, the action may be unethical. It is howeverimportant to note that some actions in the workplaces may have goodintentions but result into bad consequences. For example, helping acolleague may deter him from meeting the deadline, a good motiveresulting into negative consequence. Also, refusing to assist acolleague may give him an opportunity to get a better person toassist him complete the task before the deadline. Ethicalconsideration affects all aspects of the organization from the basicemployee relations activities to key business decisions such asmerger. Some of the most common unethical behaviors includemisrepresentation and fraudulent results and reports, stealing fromcolleagues, safety violation, intimidation, discrimination andabusive language and dishonesty in sick off (Collins, 2012).
Thereare numerous costs associated with unethical actions within abusiness organization. For example, the most important ethicalbehaviors involve discrimination in human resources relations. As aresult, the EEOC maintains a database of all reported cases ofracial, gender and age discrimination and harassment in workplaces.Unethical actions results into reduced productivity, internalconflicts and increased risk of doing business which risks theexistence of the business organization. Other costs of unethicalbusiness environment includes effects of the human resourcesmanagement such as reduced employees performance, increased employeeturnover, expensive and unsuccessful recruitment and increasedabsenteeism. Unethical acts within a business organization, either bythe top management or junior employees have taken huge businessorganizations such as Enron into ethical crisis affecting theiroperations. Ethics within an organization also has an important onthe competitive advantage of the organization. Competition andbusiness ethics are interrelated. While some business organizationwill be forced into unethical acts by competition, others will losetheir competitive advantage due to unethical acts. In the labormarket, professionals would rather work for organizations that upholdbasic business ethics. Consumers will also associate themselves withethical companies (Collins, 2012).
Chapter4: Codes of Ethics and Codes of Conduct
Inmany literatures, codes of conduct and code of ethics have been usedinterchangeably. This is a mistake because the two phrases describedistinctive documents within an organizational setting. A code ofconduct is an exclusive description of the behaviors that areaccepted while a code of ethics is an ethical aspiration of anorganization. Code of ethics can be compared to the Ten Commandmentsin the Christian faith which outlines the basic principles thatguides individuals’ behavior within an organization. When facedwith an ethical dilemma, the principles contained in the code ofethics acts as a guide in decision making. On the other hand, code ofconduct provides details to the code of ethics. For example, thecodes of conduct will details the specific laws that an individualneed to obey in his work place. A code of ethic may only indicatethat ‘all employees should obey company laws’ (Collins, 2012).
Bothcode of ethics and code of conduct play an important role in theorganization. The extent of importance of the codes varies from oneorganization to another, mainly depending on the size. For example,in small organizations, formal codes of ethics and codes of conductare not necessary. The direct interactions between employees reduceincidences of unethical behaviors. However, in a large organization,the ethical risks increase thus the need for code of ethics and codeof conduct. The codes create a good impression of the organizationby demonstrating the ethical concerns of the management. The codesalso express a set of values that dictates appropriate behaviors andprovide moral guidance to the employees. In addition to ensuringthat the organization meets the legal requirements or trends withinthe industry, the codes influence the behaviors of the workerspositively. Since the expectations of the workers towards otherstakeholders are relatively the same in all organizations, a code ofethics toolkit is useful in creating a code within an organization.The major constitutes of the code of conduct includes conflict ofinterest, corporate opportunities, confidentiality, proper use ofassets, legal compliance fair dealings and reporting of unethicalbehaviors. The main constitutes of code of ethics includes“trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring andcitizenship” (Collins, 2012).
Codeof conduct relevancy is a common phenomenon in the implementation ofcodes of conduct. In many organizations, the use of code of conducton a specific issue is very essential. The most important areasinclude emails use and gratuities. Business gratuity can bedescribes as a “present, gift, hospitality or favor for which fairmarket value is not paid by the recipient” (Collins, 2012, p 122).A bribe is very distinct from a business gratuity. Codes of conductsin relation to gratuities are very essential in dealing withsuppliers and customers. Although they are not bribes, businessgratuity can result into problems in an organization. The use ofelectronic mails is also an important issue addressed by code ofconduct. Majority of organizations have strict policies that guidethe use of emails especially during working hours. For example, thepolicy may state that emails for non-work relatedpurposes are notallowed during working hours (Collins, 2012).
Collins,D. (2012). BusinessEthics.Hoboken, NJ: Wiley