Organizations in the modern world are so concerned with the constant need to improve performance that most of them have little time to work on the moral aspect of their decision making. However, each organization needs some form of standard behavior that all employees need to follow; without it the organization would run in to chaos and output will be hampered.
Ethical conduct therefore is the accepted behaviour within the organization or society at large. Each organization has different policies on ethics; however most of them are similar in nature. For example, coming to work on time is part of the ethical conduct of most organizations.
The ethical culture of an organization can make or break its very foundation. Ethics is from the Greek word “ethos” meaning character or custom. This means that organizations should formulate a code of conduct that will be used in the day to day service to the society.
Administrators view unethical behaviour as a tumor eating away on the fabric of society in many of the modern day organizations. It is observed that, the crisis of conduct is undermining the organizational competitive strength. A study carried out showed that employees accounted for a higher percentage of retail thefts than the customers (Silverstein, 1989).
It also showed that, one in every fifteen employees steals from their employers. This happens because most organizations have left the standards that define organizational behaviour lying n the grey area. How can then administrators promote ethical culture in the organization? First, they should promote ethical consciousness in their organizations. This should have a trickledown effect on the employees in the lowest post.
They should also formulate processes that will be used to back up and strengthen ethical behaviour. Philosophies of the administrators influence the working conditions of the various departments they hold. It is, therefore, important for them to have positive philosophies that will impact the organization and the employees in a positive and productive way.
Managers who behave unethically unlike their ethical philosophies, present a limit to the ethical reasoning of the firm (Nielsen, 1989). This means that, the presence of ethical policies in an organization have less impact on the employees if they are not reinforced by the conduct of the managing officers. The basic management principle states that if you wish to have some behavior or outcome, then you should reinforce it.
In most cases, the administrator will avoid taking responsibility of punishing unethical behaviour for fear of defamation of character by the employees. In addition to this, organizations should take upon themselves to provide ethical education to their employees, stressing on the positivity of having ethics in the work place. This can be achieved by allocating more resources to ethics training program.
In cases where there is an ethics dilemma, employees should use a check-list that resembles the following: identify and clarify the dilemma, get all the possible facts, list options, put options under test to find out if they are legal, right, and beneficial; make decision and double check it, and then take action.
The area of ethical problems has not been fully explored, which is why more research should be done on this. Furthermore organizations should formulate and ensure that their ethical code of conduct is positive and that it encourages or gives them a competitive advantage.
Nielsen, R. P. 1989. Changing unethical Organizational Behaviour. Academy of Management Executive 3(2), 123-130.
Silverstein, S. 1989. One in 15 Employees in Study Caught Stealing. Los Angeles Times, p. D1.