Ethics in the Workplace

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Ethics in the Workplace

Chapter 1

These are revolutionary times; all over the globe men are revolting, against old systems of exploitation and oppression. The shirtless and barefoot people of the world are rising up as never before. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great life…we must move past indecision to action… If down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight. ‘MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

April 4, 1967’ (Phillips, 1998, p.1)

People are often led to causes and often become committed to great ideas through persons who personify those ideas. They have to find the embodiment of the idea in flesh and blood in order to commit themselves to it.

February 13, 1961’ (Phillips, 1998, p.1)

Sectors of the trade industry and business leaders have stressed the importance of looking at the moral conviction of leaders and managers that make up the field of business (Badaracco & Webb, 1995; Alatas, 1999; Nuusbum, 2002). Nuusbum (2002) wrote, “There are business scandals that are so vast and so penetrating that they profoundly shock our most deeply held beliefs about the honesty and integrity of our corporate culture. Enron Corporation is one of them. The lesson from the Enron debacle should be to restore basic integrity to the bottom line, ethics to business professionals…” (p. 31-32). In most cases, the moral behavior of a corporation depends to a large extent on the moral conviction of its owners and managers (Valero, 1993). The exigent need to look at the moral behavior of business leadership has likewise been affirmed by the current Philippine President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Yuson, 2001) in a message to the corporate citizenry which states, Indeed in all sectors of trade and industry, it has been impressed upon us that profit alone does not make a good company. Recent events in our country have highlighted the need for business entities to become good corporate citizens and serve as exemplars in resolving conflicts between values. Beyond the vision and mission statements, or the credo that sometimes serves to polish the company’s image, there is fresh vigilance over social and environmental responsibilities. (p.4)

Like pleas for ethical conduct, demands have been made for more socially responsible behavior. At the minimum, a socially responsible organization integrates the welfare of society into the business decision-making process (Davis, 1975; Hunt & Chonko, 1985). Related to this, the role of men in changing morality must not be underestimated. The change in the historical and sociological context, which discourages corruption, can only be translated into a living force only if there are effective and influencing individuals to act as catalyzing agents. In the absence of such a group, corruption will continue to thrive. How to ensure a society’s steady supply of these individuals and to facilitate their rise to vital positions is always a central problem (Alatas, 1999). In 1977, in its General Assembly, the Philippines’ Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference for Human Development called for the formulation of a Code of Ethics for Philippine business that would guide the committed businessman in the management of his business and against which he could question and measure his policies, decisions and operations within his firm and the larger society. A Code Committee was organized. The Committee was entrusted with the task of researching on the latest thinking on social responsibilities of business, existing codes of ethics in other countries and business philosophies expressed by the enlightened sectors of Philippine business...
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