Workplace Values and Ethics
Organisational Behaviour is increasingly important due to globalisation, information technology, demands for stricter ethical standards and other trends that are changing the fundamental of the organisation. Five trends of organisation behaviour that are being identified are globalisation, the changing workforce, evolving employment relationship, virtual work, and workplace values and ethics. In this essay, we will be looking at workplace values and ethics.
According to McShane and Travaglione, ‘values represent stable, long-lasting beliefs about what is important in a variety of situation. Values guide our decision and actions. They are evaluative standards that help define what is right or wrong, or good or bad, in the world’ (2007, p.13) and ‘ethics refers to the study of moral principles or values that determine whether actions are right or wrong and outcomes are good or bad’ (2007, p.14). Businessdictionary defines ‘values as general, important and enduring beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or desirable and what is not. Values exert major influence on the behaviour of an individual and serve as broad guidelines in all situations’ and ethics as ‘investigation into the basic concepts and fundamental principles of human conduct. It includes study of universal values such as the essential equality of all men and women, human or natural rights, obedience to the law of land, concern for health and safety and, increasingly, also for the natural environment’ (2009).
Importance of Values in the Workplace
Environment in the workplace is becoming more challenging as there is revolution going on and people with diverse backgrounds and cultural values are expected to work together effectively and efficiently. One of the reasons is, as the characteristics of people have evolved we have learnt to reject ‘command-and-control’ supervision and values are a better approach to align employee’s decisions and actions with company goals (McShane and Travaglione 2007). ‘Values are the embodiment of what an organisation stands for, and should be the basis for the behaviour of their members’ (Wall 2001, What is organisational integrity section). Independent Commission Against Corruption (2001) also states that every organisation has its own culture that influence the way people behave during work.
However, if a firm has set unrealistic goal expected of the employee, unethical behaviour such as cheating, lying and other misdeed will arise (Boone and Kurtz 2002). Christie et al mentioned business managers’ lack of personal integrity is highly the cause for their unethical decisions. (2003, p. 18). For instance, certain insurance firm set unrealistic target for their agents and offer high financial incentive in return. Tan Kin Lian (2009) mentioned on his blog that many insurance companies trained their agents to sell life policies with annual recurring payment but only produced a low yield with an increasing premium rate. There is also an attraction of annual cash payment for policy holders who are unaware that the money is actually from their own premium and that they are receiving lesser than what they have paid.
So, a correct set of values is important when the company’s and employee’s values are congruence as it will be able to help the company progress. It is mentioned by Svensson and Wood (2007) that employees will feel engaged to the company when they feel positive about their organisation and to achieve the same goals including the manner these goals are achieved.
The second reason is globalisation has enable company to be more competitive as they are able to source for new market and resources, but also increasing competitive pressure and market volatility for employees. Having a multi-cultural organisation allowed people from different cultures and ethical values to work together. So it is...