Can Ethical Behavior Really Exist in Business Essay

Pages: 8 (2045 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Business - Ethics

¶ … Personal Can Ethics Get?-Corporate and Communal Ethics in the Present Climate.

The words corporate and ethics seem to be contradictions in terms, especially in today's recessionary climate where competition is fierce and moral and legal considerations at best take a back seat to profits and self-enrichment. Jon Entine defines the meaning of ethical behavior: "Business ethics is based on broad principles of integrity and fairness and focuses on internal stakeholder issues...(Entine)." In other words, an organization is only as good as its leadership and its rank and file members. Their actions impact events up close and personally, hence the title of this essay. Increasingly, in our current business climate, we find that the dog eat dog mentality is incredibly destructive on all levels of corporate organizations, financial, personal, managerial and in a number of various other areas. It is the contention of this author that the whistleblower is the guarantor of ethics and morality in the corporate world. Their ability to function must be protected and facilitated to the fullest. Also, the power of the departmental audit must be used more often. Transparency breeds honesty and would have prevented a lot of problems.

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Again, while the case study is very tight and specific, the author is asking questions that dwell on philosophical and religious issues. Along with the case study, we will "guide" Valerie on the way to resolving her dilemma pragmatically, using a middle of the road approach. Par excellence, the moral yardstick is a Jewish one. Jewish Law, a foundation of Western law and civilization gives very specific and pragmatic rules for whistle blowing and auditing.

Essay on Can Ethical Behavior Really Exist in Business Assignment

In this discussion, the author will fully discuss how personal differences and preferences can impact organizational ethics. Secondly, the author will discuss fully how organizational policies and procedures can impact ethics. Thirdly, they will discuss fully the ethical dilemmas that Valerie is facing. Finally, they will recommend fully what Valerie should do followed by a detailed explanation.

1) Discuss fully how personal differences and preferences can impact organizational ethics.

To begin with, personal differences and personal preferences can have a very deep impact upon organizational ethics and their ability to survive and thrive in the corporate environment. Bottom line, corporate America is a top-down command culture where obedience is rewarded and dissent is punished. While it is important to stay close to the case study details, it is also necessary to bring in some outside documentation.

As Debra Thorsen points out in her article, she has a definition of corporate culture based upon her twenty years of working with business organizations and applying social science methodology as well as strategic business consultant experience. The corporate culture of a company pervades powerfully and invisibly, forming the patterns of thinking, behavior and the identity of those within the corporate organization. Very little of the culture is original or individual. Culture is created then collectively. Once this culture is set in stone, it is very difficult to change. Frequently, subcultures sprout up around departments and may conflict in this fashion. The official corporate culture promotes ethics, but may conflict with the financial needs, causing ethical and legal double binds that can involve employees in compromising situations (Thorsen 2010).

The differences between the manager and his subordinates are stunning. As Jonassen, et al. observes, "Waters preferred to look for only one goal, to enrich himself (Jonassen, et al. 2008)." This author might add the caveate "at the others expense." The manager represents a classic case of the self-maintaining, narcissistic psychotic who engages in selfish, destructive behavior and can get away with it through a superficially charming demeanor.

2) Discuss fully how organizational policies and procedures can impact ethics.

The organizational policies and procedures officially promote ethical behavior, but in effect, the manager's approach puts the lie to this argument. Organizational policies and procedures allow for and promote compartmentalization and secrecy due to the small team nature of the work. This is very much like military intelligence and black operations. Secrecy builds corruption and hides the criminal. This type of organizational procedure facilitated the wholesale violation of all of the organizations official policies, including the worst financial abuses, such as using company funds for personal ventures like hiring a horse stable and extravagant product launches. Also, this close-knit, "good old boy" compartmentalized culture, such as the manager taking excessive time off and not showing up for meetings after the attendees had already planned their schedules compounded this. The secrecy also played into the manager's hands when he intentionally spread false information to his subordinates to stir up controversy and to divide his employees. They had no way to independently confirm what was going on.

Where there is secrecy, there is furtive activity, and the manager could never have gotten away with what he did if policies were transparent. When times are tough, small teams led by managers with too much power ruins the corporate goals of keeping the company out of trouble with the law and with maintaining a clean, level and fair playing field. The company could be up for civil or even criminal charges due to this.

It is hard to believe that this company intended for this to happen. No one wants to lose money. This manager's malfeasance was causing just this issue and if the company was pursuing audits of departments more aggressively, this would not have happened.

While no one intended for these events to happen, yet they happened due to the combined efforts of a group of people. As Thorsen observes "Corporate culture is created naturally and automatically…This group…could be project team, or company. Culture is automatically created out of the combined thoughts, energies, and attitudes of the people in the group (ibid 2010).

3) Discuss fully the ethical dilemmas that Valerie is facing.

Valerie faces a number of moral dilemmas. On the evening after the incident at work where Valerie discovers her manager's criminal behavior, she confides in her boyfriend in a moment of cathartic release. His advice to her was to hold off from blowing the whistle so that she did not jeopardize job, citizenship or schooling opportunities in the United States. Here Valerie demonstrated the Self-Serving principle of the hedonist, by waiting until she got her schooling completed or located another job. In addition, her behavior also exhibited the Utilitarian Principle. To Valerie, what she was doing was not just to save her job and schooling, but the other department members' rights as well so they did not suffer from reporting the manager's improper actions.

While it may appear self-serving, Jewish law dictates that Valerie not hurt herself, as is spelled out in question 4.

4) Recommend fully what Valerie should do. Provide a detailed explanation.

Considering Valerie's position, the author would have handled the situation differently. Unlike Ms. Young, they would not have kept the information to themselves. However, the author feels that the person discovering the wrongdoing has a right to protect them selves as well. This is why they would report the information anonymously to the upper management. With this strategy, the principle could protect them selves and do the right thing at the same time.

Rabbi Asher Meir of the Business ethics Center of Jerusalem is of the opinion that morality demands revealing the wrongdoing but that this does not have to come at ones personal expense. According to Rabbi Meir, "Any time we witness wrongdoing, we have a responsibility to intervene. Rabbi Meir goes on to quote the Shulkhan Aruch which says: "it is customary to take a lenient approach to transgressors, when there is a fear they may harm our person or possessions (Meir, 2010)." Jewish law is very specific and specifies doing the right thing, but that it does not mandate that the whistle blower hurt themselves financially. Social responsibility is very important within Judaism, even more so than profit.

According to Amir Taheri, the guiding principle of secular business ethics is "doing well by doing good." The Torah obviously looks positively upon the enlightened businessman who recognizes the logic of fairness and that it pays back in improved community relations, employee good will and so forth. This is as opposed to the "primitive" profit seeker who will not stop at anything for the extra dollar (Meir, 2010).

Certainly, Valerie has a lot to lose and any whistleblower policy has to take into account that those providing the information are not immortal. They have to eat and make a living. In Valerie's case, she could lose here citizenship, work and school status all in one shot if her immediate manager finds out. It is not moral to expect such a vulnerable person to be a saint and to expose themselves unnecessarily. Otherwise, unethical managers will act with impunity if they know that their subordinates have no way to "jump the chain of command" so to speak and to blow the whistle without retaliation. Why do it? It is not just the right thing to do, but in the long… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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