Ethics and Integrity in the Workplace Thesis

Pages: 6 (1524 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Ethics

Ethics and Integrity in the Workplace

The focus of this paper is ethical integrity in the workplace. Workplace ethics and integrity encompasses more than one might think and in fact, ethics and integrity it will be noted in this study, are either intentionally woven into the fabric and composition of the organization or alternatively, not integral to the organization's makeup due to the lack of principles that make ethics and integrity non-optional factors within the organization's framework. This work addresses what factors are required in order to integrate principles of ethics and integrity within the basic structure of the organization in a manner that perpetuates these principles throughout the organization or in other words, this work seeks precisely from where organizational ethics and integrity derive.


Organizational ethics and integrity are generally set out in company rules and policies however, organizational ethics and integrity are also communicated in other forms while although not stated aloud or written on paper communicate clearly the organizational principles while simultaneously creating the organization's ethical environment.


The significance of this study is the additional knowledge that will be added to the already existing base of knowledge in this area of study.

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TOPIC: Thesis on Ethics and Integrity in the Workplace the Assignment

The work of Ferrell (nd) entitled: "A Framework for Understanding Organizational Ethics" states that this is one of the "most overlooked and misunderstood concepts in corporate America and schools of business." Additionally, Ferrell states that implementation of organizational ethics is even less understood and there too is the question of to whom belongs the responsibility of ensuring the conformance to and understanding of precisely what it is that comprises organizational 'ethics' and 'integrity'. Ferrell relates that managers view ethics in terms of the workplace as the 'rules' or 'standards' and 'principles' that serve to govern organization member's conduct in terms of what is 'right' and 'wrong' in specific situations. However, it I can be best understood as that which is the generally accepted norms of proper conduct or behavior in specific business contexts or within the context of the organization. (LeClair, Ferrell, and Fraedrich, 1998; as cited in Ferrell, nd)

Various stages of moral development exist and the work of Kohlberg (1969) identified these as the stages as follows:

1) Pre-conventional stage - a stage of moral development in which the individual is centrally-focused upon their own needs and desires;

2) Conventional stage - a stage of moral development when the individual is group-centric in their focus and the values of the group and conformance to group expectations takes center stage; and 3) Principled stage - a stage of moral development in which the concern of the individual is to uphold basic rights, values and rules of society. (Ferrell, nd; paraphrased)

Kohlberg held that an "overlap" exist among the three stages therefore, "cognitive moral development should probably be viewed as more of a continuum than a series of discrete stages." (Ferrell, nd)

Ferrell relates that Kohlberg held that "people may change their moral beliefs and behavior as they gain education and experience in resolving conflicts, which in turn accelerates their moral development. Organizational culture may be influenced by the individual and as well by groups within the organization and by supervisors and managers. It is important to understand that many times the Organizational culture results in individuals going against their own ethical principles because everyone else is going along as well. The result in an organizational culture, which serves in fostering "...conditions that limit or permit misconduct" and is termed as the 'ethical climate' of an organization. (Ferrell, nd)

The work of Saner and von Baeyer (2005) entitled: "Workplace and Policy Ethics: A Call to End the Solitudes" states:

Policy and workplace ethics can be distinguished by reference to their structures (who is involved), their processes (how they operate), their standards (the norms applied). Furthermore, they can be distinguished by their underlying justifications, the stage of their development, and the academic and professional environment they operate in." (Saner and von Baeyer, 2005; p.3)

Saner and von Baeyer relate that the 'structures' of ethics in the workplace is vested in the "departmental ethics officers responsible for ethics programs and working together with experts on training, confidential advice (ombudpersons), program management, assessment and such. Duties of the ethics officers might also be in the areas of "fraud awareness, legal compliance, disclosure of wrongdoing, and whistleblower protection..." (2005) in other words, these individuals are "ethics champions." (Saner and von Baeyer, 2005) the "structures' of policy ethics are stated to be "considerably less formal..." (Saner and von Baeyer, 2005) the 'processes' of ethics in the workplace are stated to include "ethics training for new and existing staff, broad-based dialogue on ethics, mechanisms for confidential disclosure, accountability regimes and sharing of best practices with other institutions..." (Saner and von Baeyer, 2005) These are " processes (leadership) and bottom-up processes (grassroots consultation)." (Saner and von Baeyer, 2005) the point in the work of Saner and von Baeyer is that ethics should be encouraged to reach a convergence within all aspects of policy and ethical organizational considerations because organizational ethics serves to strengthen policy integrity and policy ethics appears to strengthen workplace integrity.

Several solutions are posited by Saner and von Baeyer (2005) who state that the four following options were considered in the attempt to increase levels of convergence between policy and workplace ethics:

1) Central information exchange: Start the dialogue, share insights and align language use while keeping fully separate offices.

2. Central coordination: Share strategic thinking and operational plans, and coordinate activities while keeping separate office structures.

3. Partnering: Share resources and cooperate on implementation and assessment while keeping some separate office functions.

4. Merger: Integrate policy and workplace ethics with each other and into corporate culture.

Necessary components in successful ethics programs include the components which are described as follows:

1) Leadership: Ethics programs of all types benefit from a common leadership. Moreover, such leadership should come from the highest levels of the organization.

2) Education: Training for both new and existing employees should include the values underpinning workplace and policy ethics programs. Such training could include both discourse-based ethics as well as further ethical theory (used more in science-based policy development at present).

3) Feedback mechanisms: Key values and ethical norms used during the policy process should be communicated to employees involved in the implementation of decisions. This is a link to workplace ethics programs, and enhances the expansion of awareness, buy-in to the decision making process, and dialogue on values and case studies.

4) Audit: Ethics programs of all types should have audits in common. Such audits should involve two-way interactive activities, rather than one-way policing.

The work of Jones, Watson, Gardner and Gallois (2004) entitled: "Organizational Communication: Challenges for the New Century" relates that communication is "the central means by which individual activity is coordinated to devise, disseminate, and pursue organizational goals." However, Jones, Watson, Gardner and Gallois state that the work of Weick (1979) states an "...alternative viewpoint...communication is the core process of organizing." (Jones, Watson, Gardner and Gallois, 2004) it is pointed out that the work of Iedema and Wodak (1999) states that organizations do not exist independently of their members. Organizations typically involve highly differentiated social systems, with formal and informal boundaries and negotiated identities." (Jones, Watson, Gardner and Gallois, 2004) Jones, Watson, Gardner and Gallois (2004) note the work of Jonannesen (2001) who states the position that ethics is "inherent in the human communication process," (p. 202) in the process of making choices concerning the manner in which communication takes place in having an effect on others.


Stated as the thesis for this work is that organizational ethics and integrity are generally set out in company rules and policies however, organizational ethics and integrity are also communicated in other… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Ethics and Integrity in the Workplace.  (2008, September 22).  Retrieved October 26, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Ethics and Integrity in the Workplace."  22 September 2008.  Web.  26 October 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Ethics and Integrity in the Workplace."  September 22, 2008.  Accessed October 26, 2021.