Ethics in the Workplace
The American Heritage Dictionary defines ethics as “A set of principles of right conduct” and “theory or system of moral values.” (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2005) In general society, ethics is viewed as set of guidelines that govern personal behavior. It is often influenced by parents, friends, teachers and society as a whole. Ethics are the unwritten rules that govern our society; it allows us to interact with one another in a manner that is generally acceptable.
One of the most important elements making up the culture of a company is ethics. Its importance is highlighted by references a company makes to it in its Mission Statement and the amount of effort a company employs to make sure its employees are trained and aware. “A code of ethics provides a visible, public statement of an organization's values, responsibilities and obligations. It becomes the public's image of the company, and it speaks volumes about what the company stands for.” (Knilans, 2005)
However, even though many companies understand the importance of ethics in the workplace, many still do not have any written policies that highlight the company’s position. One reason is because they fear that in such a litigious society, documenting their position will make them more liable for the actions of their employees. Another reason is that companies delay the creation of a Corporate Code of Ethics to focus on more profit producing activities or fail to appropriately assign the task to an individual with the authority to establish and implement changes to the overall workplace. Unfortunately, the creation of a Code of Ethics is the result of lawsuit. (Knilans, 2005)
In the following paragraphs, we will provide examples where a Learning Team C member has experience a positive and negative experience of ethics in the workplace. We will illustrate how each situation was handled by the management and the subsequent resolution. Last, we will describe how each...