Workplace Values and Ethics

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Organisational behaviour is a field of study that investigates the impact of individuals, groups, and structures have on behavior within the organization. These impacts work towards the understanding, explaining and ultimately improving the organization’s effectiveness. In the modern workplace, there are many different trends that can affect the organization’s behaviors as a whole or at the employee level. One of the many trends that we will be looking at in this essay is the importance and influence of workplace values and ethics, and how values management can helps in an organization.

Workplace Values

McShane and Travaglione (2007) stated “values represent stable, long-lasting beliefs about what is important in a variety of situations.” They are a judgment of what is right or wrong, good or bad in different situations. Another definition stated by Clegg and Pitsis (2008) is “values are a person’s or social group’s consistent beliefs about something in which they have an emotional investment.” Both definitions have the same interpretations as values are guideline principles that affect a person’s behavior and decisions when different situations arise. These principles are influenced as a result of socialization and interaction with surrounding people and environment an individual is in. Therefore, organizational values refer to important principles that guide the behavior of the organization and are communicated and rewarded (Laurie & James 2007).

Importance of Values in Workplace

Workplace values are important as they create the company culture, define how we interact with other employees and the attitudes we adopt towards customers (Dawkins 2007, para. 1). There are a few reasons of why values have become a major trend that we must not overlook in an organization.

First reason is globalization. According to McShane and Travaglione, globalization has increased our awareness and sensitivity to differences in values across cultures and beliefs (2007). For example Japanese people tend to be more polite and indirect with their words where else Americans are more direct and straight forward and sometimes these might leave some bad impressions or misunderstandings in-between. As organizations rely on individuals to make decisions and take actions in the company, they face challenges in aligning people with diverse cultural values towards a set of goals.

Workplace values define how employees should behave and provide a standard approach for employees to adopt in their daily work life. As the modern workforces are more independent and educated, they resent the idea of ‘command-and-control’ supervisions. Values can help keep employee’s decisions and actions to be aligned with the corporate goals irrespective of their individual tasks and ranks (McShane & Travaglione 2007). Without values, decisions made may conflict with the corporate goals and in turn, employees may experience additional stress and feel dissatisfied at their workplace.

Another reason will be organization values are not only important to employees but also to customers (Dawkins 2007, para. 4). Customers tend to choose to use the services of one company over another because of the ethical practices. Where ethics refer to the study of moral principles or values that determine whether actions are right or wrong and outcomes are good or bad (McShane & Travaglione, 2007). The interviewee mentioned that “Corporate values are images for the outsiders to see. Customers would like to see the company values as a choice for them.” This statement supports Dawkins’ findings of corporate values are important to customers. Based on my observation why the interviewee’s opinion is similar with the findings is because she felt that corporate values have an impact over the organizations ethical approaches towards business. Such organizations often benefit more in the long term from customer loyalty and good reputation.

For an example,...
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