Cooperate Indiscretion

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Morality Pages: 2 (596 words) Published: March 20, 2013
Corporate indiscretion, wrongdoing, and corruption are perpetually the subject of media attention as well-known companies such as Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, and most recently the News of the World, have been found guilty of unlawful behavior; and the U.S. economic crisis has in part been blamed on unethical actions from Wall Street. These corporate scandals and current financial woes have brought renewed interest to business ethics—namely, understanding the factors that promote ethical behavior in organizations. Although conventional wisdom suggests that unethical behavior is the result of a few “bad apples,” there is mounting evidence that in addition to the personal values of employees, the organizational environment plays a critical role in encouraging ethical conduct. If the organizational environment is important in promoting ethical conduct, how can such a context be created? We argue that there are three key pieces of the ethical environment that work together to promote ethical behavior: (1) ethical leadership, (2) ethical practices, and the (3) ethical climate. Ethical leaders set the tone for how employees should behave in organizations. Ethical leaders are both moral persons who have desirable characteristics and moral managers who influence employees conduct directly: * Moral Persons: listen to employees, conduct their personal lives in an ethical manner, have the best interests of employees in mind, make fair decisions, can be trusted. * Moral Managers: Discipline employees who violate ethical standards, discuss business ethics or values with employees, set an example of how to do things the right way in terms of ethics, define success not just by results but also the way they are obtained, ask “What is the right thing to do?” when making decisions. Ethical practices are actions or activities related to ethics that are repeated and recognizable in organizations—they are what organizations actually do rather than just what is touted. Research...
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