Term Paper: Organizational Ethics Values, Ethics and Norms

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Organizational Ethics

Values, ethics and norms are part of every society regardless of what culture, religion or geographical boundary it belongs to. These values define how society's draw their lines between what are right and what is wrong. These values and ethics may be written, verbal or implied. It is a general misconception that value and ethics mean the same. As a matter of fact, value and ethics are both two entirely different terms. However, they both are closely interwoven and interdependent on each other. As mentioned earlier values are norms that define something desirable or undesirable. On the other hand, ethics refer to adhering to actions that are in compliance to desirable social values. Values may be individual, social as well as organizational. In general individuals and organizations inherit and develop their value systems from the society they belong to. The societies develop this value system over a period of time based on their religion and culture. While some general values may be commonly shared across the globe such as keeping promises and speaking truth, however other values may differ from person to person and society to society. In the same manner value systems differ from organization to organization. As a general rule, individuals and organizations base their value systems on their missions and visions. This is one major reason why their might clash with that of the organization s/he works at or with value systems of other coworkers, which in turn may lead to conflicts. Of course in an organizational environment, the organization's own culture is much more dominant over the individual values. Individual values of a person however become immensely significant when it comes to managerial positions as the way a leader or manager will develop policies, deal with employees and other stake holders and take decisions will be greatly dependent on his personal beliefs and convictions.

My Personal Values

My mission, on a personal level, is to shape myself and my personality, to become a valuable asset to the organization and the society and to bring a positive change in the society and in the organization I am part of.

Of course, this mission statement is too generic to define my ethical beliefs and values, but as stated earlier, I have developed my values and ethical code of conduct based on my personal mission statement. I am a person who likes to be a part of a peaceful and prospering society and organization, where every person has an equal right to progress. I believe in a value system that encourages modesty, humbleness, honesty, rule of law and justice, tolerance and education. My personal code of ethics is discussed as follows:

Modesty

Modesty is a generic term and may have different meaning to different individuals and different societies. Since an organization is a place that has numerous stakeholders at a time, I cannot obviously impose my personal measures of modesty on every individual and expect them to show compliance to that measure regardless of whether they agree or disagree with it. Therefore, by being modest, in an organizational context I mean to show adherence towards organizational culture and ethics and not to indulge in an action that offends the interest of the organization or offends a co worker.

Humbleness

By humbleness I mean to show humility towards others and not to be rude or arrogant. Obviously, when in a managerial role, humbleness can only be practiced to a certain degree as the manager needs to communicate his directions and commandments to the subordinates. Therefore in an organizational context, I do not mean to compromise on assertiveness, however, some degree of humbleness must still be practiced. This will keep subordinates secured and motivated and will make them more comfortable to discuss issues openly.

Honesty

Honesty, for me is essential on individual, societal and organizational level. Honesty must not be restricted to speaking truth. One must also be honest in terms of his actions and should be honest towards ones duties and obligations. Adherence to honesty on societal and organizational level ensures prevention of vices such as corruption and bribery and ensures progression and growth.

Rule of Law and Justice

This is the most important element of my value system. A fair and transparent justice system is essential, according to me, to have a society free of vices and to ensure prosperity. Individuals will only show compliance to ethical standards when they will have a firm belief in the fact that there is a strong and comprehensive system of justice is in place to which they are accountable. On an organizational level, a strong justice system and rule of law would encourage sense of responsibility and accountability among the stakeholders, particularly the employees. It will also ease up the process of implementation of organizational strategy and will increase the chances of strategic success. While I am all for the notion that there must be punishment for crime and offence, I however do not advocate capital punishments.

Tolerance

For a society and an organization to prosper, it is essential that the members of a society and/or an organization must show tolerance towards each other. Non-merit biases must be avoided and people must have freedom of expression. Others must be tolerant towards points-of-view put forth by their counterpart. On an organizational level, this promotes democratic leadership. This again is motivating for employees as it gives them a sense of importance. As far as freedom of expression is concerned, it is however essential, that a fine line must be drawn between voicing one's opinions and offending others. While, every individual, to me, holds an equal right to have an opinion, it must only be voiced in a manner that does not offend sentiments of other people.

Education

The reason why I made education a part of my values is because I believe it is only good education that mentally grooms an individual and makes one capable enough to take decisions which might not necessarily be verbally or literally written but are in compliance with ethics. An individual may encounter several instances in life where one has to make choices between "right vs. right." Only strong mental grooming and education can make ones able to carry out a proper analysis of what decision would be in the larger interest of the society or of the organization and what must be forgone.

Ethical Standards of My Organization

As stated earlier, when part of an organization, a person must show compliance to one's organization's ethical code at all times. Since at the same time one is a member of the society, compliance to social ethics is also essential (Sims, 2003). Unfortunately, many a times, what might be ethical for an organization might not be in the best interest of the society at large. For example disposing untreated industrial waste is more cost efficient for an organization but for the society at large, it is much more hazardous. If the organization installs a sewage treatment plant it might increase its cost and in turn it may have to cut down on employees which might trigger unemployment. This is an example of how organizational and social ethics can clash against each other. In order to deal with the problem, it is essential that a balance between the interests of organization and the interest of the society is created. This is where the concept of corporate social responsibility comes in. This concept calls for the organization to take social costs and benefits into consideration when taking organizational decisions.

As far as my own organization is concerned, I am an employee at the U.S. Army. While U.S. army is in many ways different from conventional corporate organizations, it is still, at the end of the day, an organization that has goals, employees, customers and stake holders. The goal and product of the organization is to protect national security, the employees are its soldiers and other staff and the customers are the government and the civil society. When the nature of an organization is as sensitive as national security, then compliance to value systems and ethics becomes even more necessary as compared to any other organization. The ethical standards of the U.S. Army are discussed as follows:

Loyalty

In the context of U.S. army, this calls for an employee to show loyalty towards the country, the U.S. army and to the regiment s/he belongs to (Army Regulation 600-100, 2007).

Duty

This calls for an employee to be dutiful and show compliance towards obligations (Army Regulation 600-100, 2007).

Respect

This involves showing respect to others (Army Regulation 600-100, 2007).

Selfless Service

This involves giving preference to the larger interest of the society, country and the army over personal interests (Army Regulation 600-100, 2007).

Honor

This involves showing compliance to standards of U.S. Army at all times (Army Regulation 600-100, 2007).

Integrity

This involves adherence to honest and morally acceptable practices such that vices and deceptive actions are avoided (Army Regulation 600-100, 2007).

Personal Courage

This involves being ready to take up… [END OF PREVIEW]

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