- Making People Behave More Ethically, An MBA's View
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Start on. Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. Published in: Business. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Workplace Morality : Behavioral Ethics in Organizations. Description Why do honest and decent employees sometimes overstep the mark? What makes managers with integrity go off the rails? What causes well-meaning organizations to deceive their clients, employees and shareholders? Social psychology offers surprising answers to these intriguing and timely questions. Ultimately, groupings were formed around related practices and were then named as the final main themes e.
The final 13 themes were then sorted by central concept, which formed two main categories labeled Content and Context. Content describes the type of material and delivery form utilized, and Context describes the application of content and to communicate, assess and measure ethics in the organization.
As an action research project, where participants take an active role in the development of the inquiry and its findings, the preliminary script and best practice list were examined by several participants, along with two ethics scholars and an organizational development practitioner. The script and best practice list were pretested with two members of the sample population and three students. This effort simplified the script and added clarity to the questions and items, resulting in a final list containing 40 Content and 25 Context best practice items.
The thematic grouping of Actions of the Board was not a best practice culled from the literature, but it was deemed worthwhile based upon participant request i. Therefore, in the spirit of action research, these items were included in the general inquiry. Ten corporations were invited to participate in the study based on their membership in a regional ethics organization in the Western United States.
Breaking issues in business and organizational ethics are discussed, and members benefit from sharing experiences with leading companies and hearing from scholars who share the latest research. Members sustain involvement because they find that their engagement has helped them implement innovative ideas and to expand their social networks, which enables them to better address complex ethical issues that emerge within their global business operations.
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The group is based in the Silicon Valley area of California, a region known for its innovative products and services in the field of technology. Partnership members are responsible for the ethics education and training within their organizations and expressed an interest in learning more about current best practices in ethics programming. Eight of the 10 organizations currently enrolled in the partnership were engaged one was not available for an interview and one was dropped because it was a different industry type from all the others.
The companies ranged in size from to , employees, all engaged in international markets that focus on service and manufacturing in technology. The author also lead researcher conducted all of the interviews. The participants were guided through the script and then discussed the 69 specific practices identified in Phases One and Two of the study 65 best practices and 4 requested items. Participants were asked to indicate the presence of each item yes, no or limited, coded as 1, 0 and 0.
Quantitative analysis was used to prepare descriptive statistics and qualitative methods were used to analyze the transcripts to construct interview summaries. The second step was to identify patterns in the overall dataset. Because no values were assigned to the best practice items by the researcher, no judgments were made as to the effectiveness of any program. Rather, the list served as an inventory to facilitate a comparison between recognized best practices and the various programs under study.
This helped highlight areas of strength and challenges for potential future program development. This information provided explanatory details about the nature of each organization and its training program. The interview summaries provided an overview of each organization's program, including its intent and purpose. In describing the core message of their program, participants revealed that communicating specifics related to rules, policies, standards of conduct and government regulations shape the central purpose of the ethics training. Consistent throughout the organizations studied was a primary motive to prevent unethical action by elevating awareness of what principled action is expected for employees.
A shared concern for establishing awareness of the organization's values could be viewed as a representation of virtue ethics within the programs, but only one organization actually articulated the importance of using training and other means to help employees develop and exercise their ethical strength. When this philosophy emerged, it was only in the context of specialized training sessions or retreats for senior level managers or executives.
The interview summaries also provided general information about the structure, culture and ethical climate of each organization. For example, three organizations position their ethics group within their Legal Department. Here we see that a focus on regulation and compliance is especially pronounced, affirming a deontological approach. The other organizations positioned their programs either as an independent functional unit three or located it within their Human Resource Department two.
For example, in these organizations, there was a more explicit concern for helping employees learn the rules and values as well as how to apply them. The mean scores for presence actual use and value level of importance were calculated for each best practice item, providing insights by category, theme and item across the sample. As might be expected, the strength of presence is often associated with higher values.
But this is not always the case. In describing the findings, the highs and lows in terms of presence and value will be highlighted, along with several examples where inconsistencies emerge. This includes times when a practice is low in presence but highly valued. Such an examination will provide areas for additional exploration, which will be addressed in the Discussion section.
If an item was not present in the organization, the participant did not place a value on its use, but rather stated whether or not they desired the adoption of the particular best practice. The final column reflects the number of companies that indicated a desire to adopt some or all of the best practices if they were not currently in use. Of the seven themes in the Content category, Core Issues is clearly dominant, with five of the six best practice items very high in presence. The other items that comprise this theme have to do with specific areas covered in the training, such as compliance, rules, regulations, values, confidential reporting channels and other salient ethics issues.
Moving in the order of greatest strength of overall presence in the Content category, we next see that the theme of Specific and Explicit Behaviors follows. Target Audience , Focus on Learning Styles and Situations and Scenarios are themes that tend to have several best practice items with strong presence, but show much less inclusion overall.
It is clear that new employees are a primary focus presence 0. Yet seven additional items within this theme vary from 0. As a theme, targeting the audience is a best practice that describes how training must be directed to specific roles, shaping the content based upon level e. We see that this does not typically occur, except in the training directed toward new employees. Why this discrepancy may have occurred is addressed in the Discussion section.
But again, we see in this theme that there are more items that are valued but not included as much as the organizations would like. For the theme of Situations and Scenarios , only one of the three items had both a strong presence and value 0. The other two items focus on having employees become actively engaged in the process, soliciting them for their personal cases ethical challenges or areas of concern.
The inclusion of these two best practice items was limited 0. Only two organizations wanted this type of employee participation included. For the sixth theme in the Content category, Ongoing Reflection, Practice, and Dialogue , only one of the five items showed a strong presence, while others dip to as low as 0. The item with the next highest strength of presence 0. These observations are affirmed by the additional findings associated with the final theme, described next.
Making People Behave More Ethically, An MBA's View
In the final Content theme of Delivery Form , we see that the organizations typically use online training to provide compliance, values and ethics content 0. Also valued highly 5. Taken together, the best practice items for this theme were valued highly 5. Overall, the findings for the Content category suggest that organizations are doing a good job at including content to address rules, regulations and compliance requirements, while simultaneously bringing forward a focus on values. Opportunities for improvement appear to reside most abundantly within the themes that Target Audience , provide Ongoing Reflection, Practice and Dialogue , and extend the Delivery Form.
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Looking now to the Context category, these themes represent the framework and setting for the ethics training program within the organization. The first theme, Raising Questions and Promoting Awareness , shows a strong presence. Three of the nine items reflect a mean presence of 0. These best practices include sharing information in multiple languages, tracking ethics concerns reported and maintaining an online employee website with ethics information.
Not typically present 0. This reflects a limitation in organizational efforts to share ethics information to vendors, suppliers and business partners.
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In addition, employers infrequently ask employees to recommit to the company code after their initial signing when first employed. The remaining themes in the Context category show substantially less presence, as compared with those in Content, yet their value scores remain comparable. These themes, Program Effectiveness , Ethical Risk Assessment , Link Ethics with Performance and Ongoing Communications , have no representation in three of the organizations studied no presence of any of the best practice items.
But despite their limited presence, there is a strong desire for their adoption. For example, in the theme of Program Effectiveness , only half 0. Again, it is valued 6. For the theme of Link Ethics with Performance , we see a similar pattern: low presence for the three items 0. The last theme of Ongoing Communications follows suit. All four best practice items show little presence 0. Actions of the Board was not a best practice theme based upon those identified in Phase One of the study.
It was added based upon participant request and provides additional insight. Consistent with other findings related to performance, the item that explicitly links ethics and performance for the Board of Directors BoDs lacks presence 0. Overall, the 13 themes that address the content and context of ethics training reflect areas where improvements are needed.
To understand where opportunities reside, we can look at when best practices are not being used and their adoption is desired. Moreover, the inconsistencies and patterns that emerged among several themes point to the need for closer examination. Reviewing the overall findings in concert with the qualitative interview data will provide greater insight toward the development of recommendations.
One of the best Workplace Morality Behavioral Ethics in Organizations - video dailymotion
The findings suggest that specific strengths as well as challenges exist in both content and context areas for ethics education and training. Overall, the eight organizations studied show more representation of the best practices for the Content category, as compared with the Context category. The representation of best practices is not as favorable for the Context category, where only one organization uses 56 percent of the best practice items, followed by another at 48 percent, and the remaining six organizations range in utilization between 28 and 39 percent.
To better understand these outcomes, the findings are examined, noting where improvements are needed. This will help build a general picture of the overall program efforts, which contributes to informed next steps. The general focus is to make people aware of the organization's rules and its code of conduct, and to make it clear that each employee is held responsible for applying these regulations and standards in the workplace.
In addition, organizations are not as inclusive as they could be, limiting employee involvement in the ethics program's development, content and form. For example, employees are rarely solicited for their personal cases or concerns, and will likely not be in an interactive dialog during the training itself. A closer examination reveals that four of the seven Content themes currently being implemented in most organizations bring forward key issues related to salient ethical problems.