January 29, 2013
Assignment 1: Unethical Behavior in the Workplace
The dictionary defines ethical as “conforming to accepted standards: consistent with agreed principles of correct moral conduct”. Because “correct moral conduct” is subjective it may be difficult at times for an employee to determine if their behavior is considered unethical. Is there unethical behavior in the workplace today? All we have to do is read a paper or watch the news to answer that question. The Enron scandal, Bernard Madoff, and Arthur Anderson, are just a few examples in the recent past of major unethical behavior in the workplace. According to Kaptein, M. (2011). there is a model for the ethical culture of organizations that involve eight dimensions, which helps explain unethical behavior in the workplace. Six of which are related to observed unethical behavior: ethical role modeling of management, ethical role modeling of supervisors, capability to behave ethically, commitment to behave ethically, openness to discuss ethical issues, and reinforcement of ethical behavior. This model speaks to the old adage, “actions speak louder than words”, you can’t tell a person not to do something or that it is bad for them, if they are watching you perpetuate the exact behavior that you’re advising them against. In the current economy of job shortages, many employees feel pressure to look the other way when there is an ethical dilemma.
More than half of American workers feel pressure to consider acting unethically or illegally on the job, and many of them have actually done so. The four major sources of workplace pressure are: balancing work and family, poor internal communications, work hours and work load, and poor leadership. (Ethics under pressure. (1997). So, how do employees decide what is ethical or not? Most employers have company policies in place to help...