Does management, in your view, help shape the values and ethics of an organization?

Does management, in your view, help shape the values and ethics of an organization?

Management plays a very important role in shaping value and ethics. Organizations usually have code to Ethics. And it is on management to lead by example and make employees follow the values and ethics.

An organizations code of ethics usually contain follows –

  •    Code of conduct – for employee to employee or employee to customer
  •     Respect for personal believes of coworkers or customer
  •     Transparency and accountability
  •     Following best practice
  •     Conduct for leadership – no fear or intimidation tactics

These are fairly bare minimum points, but for example, the management wants to implement just these. I work for a consulting firm and in a team environment, we have to work with people from all around the world, people from different backgrounds and believes. The management treats everyone equally, regardless of the employee’s personal believes or backgrounds. And it is important that coworkers interact with each other within professional boundaries and same applies while interacting with the client. Management needs to make sure this is being followed otherwise behavioral misconduct can cause the organization some reputational damage.

Transparency and accountability is another area which is very important for teams. The team members should know their goal, and manager usually defines each member’s accountability. Everyone in a team should know who is doing what and who is accountable for what. If accountability is not clear then the employees might not be able to complete their goal.

Following best practices help reduce cost overrun, maintain the standard and compete in the marketplace. The managers need to introduce verification and audit process to make sure that the best practices are followed and to identify areas of improvement.

The leadership should not intimidate workforce, it usually won’t be fruitful. The employees can leave the organization, or they won’t be innovative, creative or as productive as they could be. Managers need to inspire and motivate using right tools such as incentives.

Is employee behavior, ethical or not, a by-product of the organization’s ethical climate?

            We read about Sears, what their management did and how it changed the employee’s behavior. Since management did not put any check on employees and incentivized bad behavior the company lost $60 million (Paine, 1994). We have another comparatively recent example of a well-known US Bank. Wells Fargo management incentivized bad salesmanship, and their employees ended up cheating customers. When a whistleblower tried to report these incidents to management, the management fired the whistleblower (Egan,2018). The management wanted to generate more revenue and offered employees incentives for selling products to customers. The management did not verify if the employees are taking any shortcuts. And that costed Wells Fargo its profit, huge dent to it’ reputation and it had to pay the whistleblower $5.4 million (Egan,2018).

            After the scandal, Wells Fargo has changed its values and spending millions on ads to repair its image in public. It has actually encouraged employees to come forward and call the “ethics hotline” to report any suspicious activities by other employees (Egan,2018). And they are getting calls from whistleblowers reporting misconducts such as altering documents and so on. So we can see, how management influences employees. Management’s attitude can set the ethical climate in an organization.

 What ideally is the manager’s role in helping to create and maintain organizational integrity?

            I will quickly share an experience I had with my immediate management team lately. In a project, to maximize the project the project management team decided to construct a team with many interns. And the interns were actually getting on the job training, so the poor kids did not have any idea of what they were supposed to do before they were deployed in a project with tight deadlines. The sales team gets their bonuses based on profits from projects. So getting the work done by interns was a great way to save money and maximize project. But in reality due to the inexperience of those interns, the quality suffered and we missed deadline multiple times. The client finally sued us and did not pay any money for obvious reasons.

            This middle-level managers I just mentioned are great examples of how the management team should not be. Our first priority should have been a happy customer that means great quality product and meeting the deadline, instead of that they made the incentive and cost-saving their primary focus. They did not have a sense of priority, integrity, leadership or sense of anticipation. And due to their incompetence whole team was demoralized and we simply gave up at a point.

            The managers should stand by organizational values and they should never focus on personal gains. Mentoring the team, being good leaders, leading by examples and anticipating problems would be a great asset in a manager. He should be fair and just too to employees. The employees might need a day off or after working for day night they might expect good performance review and the manager should be fair and just. Being a good mentor he can guide the employees, and advice on what they should improve or what they are doing good.

References – 

Egan, M (June, 2018). Wells Fargo’s ethics hotline calls are on the rise. Retrieved from: https://www.msn.com/en-us/finance/news/wells-fargos-ethics-hotline-calls-are-on-the-rise/ar-AAySU9p

Paine, L (April, 1994). Managing for Organizational Integrity. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/1994/03/managing-for-organizational-integrity 

Retrieved on 6/23/2018. Retrieved From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC-8qCzenpg

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