Human Values and Ethics in the Workplace

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Human Values and Ethics in the Workplace
Improving Leadership and Performance in the Water Education, Supply and Sanitation Sectors

RESOURCE PAPER

Teaching Managers Human Values

“Human Values and Ethics in the Workplace” is a capacity-building initiative developed in a collaborative effort between the Global Dharma Center (GDC) and UN-HABITAT, within the framework of the Human Values Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education (HVWSHE) Initiative of the Water for African/Asian Cities Programmes. The purpose of the capacity-building is to improve leadership and performance in every aspect of the water education and water supply and sanitation sectors, and to help bring about a new ethic in water use and management.

© 2005 UN-HABITAT and Global Dharma Center For more information: www.globaldharma.org/hvew.htm

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Teaching Managers Human Values
by B. Gustavsson, School of Business, Stockholm University, Sweden; A.N. Tripathi, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, India; G.P. Rao, Department of Management Studies, Madurai Kamaraj University, India. Abstract The authors are convinced of the necessity in a human dimension in managerial decisionmaking. The problem is to define values in a human context. We have suggested a framework for understanding the origins and scope of human values. We trace values to theistic, humanistic and empirical origins, and connect these to individual, sociological and ecological levels of application. We have illustrated our framework with a case study of a systematic approach to teach human values to managers in India. While this approach is mainly using a theistic approach, we recommend that other approaches to values can be included in courses teaching human values to managers. Human values are necessary in today's management. Business is no longer confined to a national state but is really borderless. Hence business from the international viewpoint, cannot be regulated by governments unless international agreements can be reached. In this "lawless land" the responsibility of the executive is greater than ever. Which values does s/he promote in her/his actions and decisions? Which responsibility does s/he take? Only towards the bottom line or also towards the growth of mankind? On a national level we find similar concerns with ethics and values in management. Being a generator and facilitator of human material wealth, does her/his responsibility towards human values end there? We do believe that the manager of today has a wider responsibility than that. We believe that it is in the interest of the managers themselves to have a heightened awareness of the values of humankind and also to promote them. I. Human values: what are they? Like most basic areas of human knowledge and experience, the concept of human values defies definitions. Yet it can be instinctively felt, cognitively grasped, discussed as a shareable experience, and thus made a valid area of enquiry. This enquiry is a major under-current of the wisdom literature of all the ancient civilisations and of the later day philosophers, scholars and great leaders of social and political movements. The profusion of ideas, divergent approaches and intermixing of several strands of thought make the effort of conceptualising human values a daunting task for modern scholarship. However, for a clearer understanding of the scope, significance and interrelationship of these ideas it is necessary to have a conceptual framework for classifying them. In the following paragraphs we make a humble attempt at this difficult academic endeavour. Classical literature does not make a distinction between values and human values. Perhaps there was no need for it then. Philosophical ideas on value enquiry were directed towards finding the nature, meaning and purpose of human existence. In the present century search for a theory of values has become a separate branch of modern philosophy and has been called axiology. Although the...
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