How Personal Can Ethics Get?
Dr. David Holness
Leadership and Organizational Behavior
April 20, 2011
The golden rule of customer service is to treat everyone the way you wish to be treated. That is not always prudent because the way one person may want to be treated may not be the same for someone else. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when people are part of the equation. Multiculturalism adds new challenges to businesses especially those doing business globally. Personal differences and preferences can impact organizational ethics because people look at and judge different situations based on their own experience, background, and how adhering to a particular practice will affect them personally. For instance a business that vows to stay open until the last customer is served will have a direct impact on employee that must stay after hours to serve that customer. That employee may stay but the customer experience may be less than stellar. The management and leadership of an organization is a driving force behind organizational ethics. If those that are in positions of leadership turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to behavior that is in clear violation of the companies code of ethics and the common sense of right and wrong the employees will follow suit. Johannes Brinkman and Ronald Sims who are professors at the Norwegian School of Management wrote a paper entitled Enron Ethics (Or Culture Matters More than Codes). They stated that (Brinkmann & Sims, 2003)Enron appeared to represent the best that 21st-century organization had to offer, economically and ethically. Enron was indeed a company that many CEOs wanted their companies to mirror. A copy of Enron's 65 page code of ethics was made public and can be accesses on several web sites one being Work Matters. Enron’s published code of ethics is considered (Sutton, 2000) the smoking gun that attested to the fact that the late Ken Lay and his co-conspirators...