The objective of this essay is to address the question if the actions of people in the workplace are a consequence of individual or organisational characteristics, and what would promote ethical behaviour at work. Often in a competitive environment at the workplace, it is sometimes tough for employees to maintain an advantageous manner towards other people. Hence, they may end up doing unethical and unacceptable things which they themselves are not aware of, assuming that what they did was ethical. Such situation like this is probably due to the divergence of characteristics which an individual and the organisation encompass that do not communicate the wellbeing for everyone at the workplace. This brings in a concern on whether organisational characteristics are concealed, leading individual characteristics to override and take advantage when undertaking actions at the workplace.
To express regards to the above concern, I will first address the definition of ethics. Ethics, in the context of workplace, is defined as the study of what is right and wrong human behaviour in a business (William 2010, p. 9). This gives rise to a concern of whether individuals carry out activities according to the best interests of their own personal characteristics or of organisational characteristics, assuming that they think is right to carry out.
Moreover, for people to achieve the ideal actions and manners under ethical dilemmas is not so straightforward. This would require plenty of effort towards ethical leadership which serves as a model and direction for ethical behaviour in the workplace, on the basis of characteristics encompassed by the individual and organisation.
To begin with, ethical leadership will first be addressed, following by issues pertaining to individual and organisational characteristics. These would give us an understanding of how they can affect the direction and modelling of ethical leadership. And lastly, this essay will be wrapped up with a debate on which one of the characteristics is most crucial affecting the actions of people in the workplace, as well as what are some of the ways that we can do to promote ethical behaviour at work.
The term ethical leadership is defined as the demonstration of normatively appropriate behaviour through personal actions and interpersonal relationships, and the promotion of such behaviour to followers through two-way communication, reinforcement, and decision making (Brown et al., 2005). Ethical leaders after all are human beings themselves too. Hence, we can say that ethical leadership is very likely to be related to individual characteristics which an ethical leader is thought to be honest and trustworthy (Brown & Treviño, 2006). For example, they are ones who would do the right thing in a rationale way, care for the wellbeing of others with an approachable mindset, and go beyond to demonstrate ethics in one’s personal life. Followers would perceive these ethical leaders as having honesty, credibility and integrity on the characteristics of a moral person (Treviño et al., 2000).
Apart from comprehending ethical leaders as strongly related to individual characteristics, we can also view them from the characteristics relating to organisational context. These characteristics are categorised under the umbrella of a moral manager dimension (Treviño et al., 2000). An ethical leader who is perceived to be a moral manager would go beyond who he or she actually is as a moral person. For example, moral managers would create a strong ethical workplace by communicating ethics messages and be an ethical role model to capture the attention of employees. They would also put rewards and disciplinary systems into practice so that ethical actions will be rewarded and unethical actions will be disciplined. These...