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If ethics are an individual's belief about what is right or wrong or good or bad, then how can managers encourage organisational members to act ethically?

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Introduction

If ethics are an individual's belief about what is right or wrong or good or bad, then how can managers encourage organisational members to act ethically? In today's modern world, there are many organisations with different levels of management. Whichever level of management it is, the managers will have to make decisions be it small or big. From time to time, these decisions are influenced by ethics. Ethics are rules and principles that define right and wrong conduct (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg and Coulter, 2003). In the world today, ethics are considered to play an important role. Imagine a world without ethics, where no one was interested in the environment or making things better for all. As people go on through life, many of us are likely to have formed our ideas of decency and fairness based on our experiences of life. Ever so often, our views have been influenced by people we have met. In the workplace, there is a collection of these many different experiences and therefore of differing ethics. Many people join a company without investigating the ethics of their employing organisation and often find themselves at variance and out of balance. Because of this it is important for a company to form a structure for ethics with a policy, a code of practice, or a cultural understanding of the rules. It appears to present authors that having senior managers who value ethical behaviour as much as profit will achieve the greatest impact on a company's ethical standards. ...read more.

Middle

To run an organization ethically requires the commitments from top managers as they are the ones who set the cultural tone. In order to lead by example, the CEO or chairman of the board has to champion the creation of an ethics program. Managers should identify senior executives from their legal, finance, officers noted several key roles of champions in helping to develop their programs. These included promoting and/or mandating the ethics program, dedicating staff and resources for ethics initiatives and ensuring the autonomy and credibility of the ethics office (Joseph, 2001). The active participation of their leaders is a key advantage in the continuing development of their ethics programs. The term "active participation" was used to identify visible behaviors that went beyond the creation of an ethics program. These included talking with employees and other stakeholders (formally and informally) about the importance of ethics in the organization's success, showing a public willingness to address difficult and/or ambiguous ethical issues, modeling ethical behaviors, promising a long-term commitment to ethical learning within the organization and serving on ethics oversight committees (Joseph, 2001). A leader's involvement reminds employees and stakeholders of a program's importance and helps to create a sense of program ownership among the leaders themselves. Those whose leaders were not active participants in ethics programs cited the leader's other commitments or lack of desire to play a more active role (Joseph, 2001). The idea that the ethical tone is set at the top of an organization is pervasive in the business ethics literature and in anecdotal accounts. ...read more.

Conclusion

To successfully implement an effective ethical program, independent social audits has to be done on a regular basis and also randomly with no prior announcement. To maintain integrity, the auditors should be responsible to the company's board of directors and present their findings directly to the board as this will reduces the opportunity for retaliation from those being audited and gives the auditors clout (Robbins et al., 2003). The reasons for embarking on an ethical audit is because ethics is part of business strategy and management as stated by Ken Andrews (1987) of Harvard, the founder of the subject of corporate strategy, placed business ethics at the forefront (Vinten, 1998). With social audits, employees will try to remain ethical as their job is on the line where unacceptable unethical behavior will cause them to lose the job. In conclusion, effective ethics and compliance programs are more than the sum of their parts. To deliver on program promises and meet the expectations of leaders and employees, organizations need to integrate these parts into everyday business activities. This means that programs must be consistent internally and within a broader organizational context. The good new is that ethics programs have been successful enough to earn this opportunity. The challenge is to figure out how to proceed. As a result, managers will need to recognize the implications of changing ethics priorities and definitions of success. They should expect to challenge their assumptions, balance competing priorities and even revise timetested program structures and practices. They won't be able to do it alone. For continued success managers will surely need the support and guidance of leaders and employees in other functional areas. ...read more.

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