Code of ethics and ethical behavior within an organization

20/01/2013 12:13

Code of ethics and ethical behavior within an organization

Behaviors are the result of several levels of a cognitive process that normally leads to a decision making. The code of ethics, same as the law covers one of the levels of ethical conduct someone should apply in the organization. In our public life, we know that the law prevent us from being a nuisance for our neighbor, we should not violate other’s right to freedom, we should not cause arms to others. When we break the public law, we know undoubtedly that a punishment will follow. It is the same thing in the organization. The code of ethics creates an ethical and acceptable, sometimes legal frame that should help employees, in determining if their behaviors are in phase to the organizational standards or not. But, the code of ethics in itself cannot guarantee the strict respect by individual of the guidelines. That is, they need to be thought, reinforced, and implemented in relation with new realities and needs. The same way, the law do not guarantee the strict respect of public regulations, the code of ethics do not guarantee the strict respect of the organizational rules.

First, the week lecture states that “because many decisions, or at least recommendations, are made by groups rather than by individuals within the organization, the effect of groups on the company culture cannot be underestimated” (Grand Canyon University). It is right. The company culture impacts the application or the non respect of the code of ethics. If we had to review the code of ethics of many businesses that were implied in public scandal such as Enron, we will realize that they all had good code of conducts. However, when the organizational culture is toxic, the rules are neglected or not followed. Second, the employees are bringing to the company their personal values, cultures, and decision making process. 

That being said, each employee decision is a sum of his/her background even before considering the organization code of ethics. I would conclude with this statement of specialists from the center on Education and Training for Employment that suggest “ethical business practices include assuring that the highest legal and moral standards are observed in your relationships with the people in your business community”. Our job is to reshape the employees understanding of rules and to apply them. If a code of ethics is applied only sometimes when it seems good to an individual, and might be broken when employees do not feel to apply the rules, the code is like a phantom. Have you or a friend ever had a traffic ticket? Then you know that the rules are not always followed. Many external or internal factors linked to the decision making process influence the respect or no of the rules. There is always need to reinforce the rules, to identify neglect or unethical behaviors, and to reinforce the good behaviors. 

References:

Grand Canyon University. (2011). Course lecture. Retrieved on November 12, 2012 from  https://lc.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/user/users.html?token=xW1Nt33ROWrGmlxNHQRZ8RXHzk9yswEL7boZgTGKBZhr7mLLBiB02YZUn1D3e2Jq&operation=home&classId=905935#/learningPlatform/loudBooks/loudbooks.html?viewPage=current&operation=innerPage&currentTopicname=Creating%20an%20Ethical%20Organizational%20Culture&topicMaterialId=6cb33781-97c1-48bd-95ed-6438c449dedd&contentId=485d087e-1400-4997-b219-00eae5220dae&

Ohio State University. (n.d.). Ethical behavior is good business. Retrieved on November 12, 2012 from http://www.entre-ed.org/_teach/ethics.htm

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