Ethical Communication

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Ethical Communication

Communication Management 355, Section W01
Professor Madge Johnson
April 17, 2013

Ethical Communication
By definition ethical communication is “communication that is honest, fair and considerate of others’ rights.” Communication plays a key role in organizations, without communication, it’s impossible for an organization function let alone prospers. With the advent of new technologies, evenhanded communication is much more commonplace. For the purposes of this paper, I will examine ethical communication from a managerial standout beginning with how much is enough?

From November 2003 until May 2009, I worked for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) on a federal government contract administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) known as the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP). It was literally a dream come true for me. I knew going into the experience that the contract came up for recompete or renewal every five years and therefore, if I FEMA decided to take the contract from CSC and award it to another company, I’d be out of a job. CSC had been the only contractor since the program’s inception in 1983. While I was employed at CSC, the company retained the contract during the 2005 recompete period. However, CSC lost the contract bid in 2008 and in the year and a half that followed, even though managers knew just about everything as to whether or not CSC employees would be laid off or retain our jobs, the employees (myself included) were constantly kept in the dark. The CSC managers were aware of things that for whatever reason, non-managerial employees at the company were not made aware of. The question of whether or not what transpired at CSC with regard to ethical communication lends itself to interpretation but I can tell you, in my opinion, there was no communication at all let alone ethical communication. In all my eighteen years of working, I have yet to view any organization’s official standing on ethical communication. Nothing anywhere has ever been documented, at least not to my knowledge, about what managers can tell employees, how much can be told to employees and when to tell employees. Per the definition given at the beginning of this writing, ethical communication embodies honesty, fairness and consideration of others’ rights. To only be told that the contract was not awarded to CSC and that the company would challenge the decision, really was not enough information for employees to base vital decisions upon. There were people at CSC who’d worked for the company on the NFIP contract for twenty years or more, they had mortgages, children in college that they had to pay for, younger children to raise, all of this and more was dependent upon them being steadily employed. I ask you, when your employer knows that you more than likely will only have a job with them for a year and basically gives you false hope by telling you something contrary, is that not unethical communication?

I know for a fact that there were instances where executives and managers at CSC blatantly lied to us about the nature of our jobs. Employees were told that jobs would not go away, which affected our decisions about our home and family lives. People in the know at CSC were so far from ethically communicative that it made for a sometimes openly hostile and extremely stressful office environment. I personally knew that there was communication being kept from me that greatly impacted my life but I was never told the full story. One last thing about my CSC experience, between the time that it was announced CSC was not awarded the contract and the first wave of layoffs happened, many managers left CSC, they essentially “jumped ship” and left most of us behind. CSC’s Program Manager, Claims Director (my boss), two Claims Managers and one Claims Supervisor all left the company and started working for FEMA before we started to get pink slips. All of this begs the...
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