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How Personal Can Ethics Get?

Essay by   •  January 27, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,662 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,624 Views

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How Personal Can Ethics Get?

I. Discuss how personal differences and preference can impact organizational ethics.

Ethics is a set of personal values that guides what an individual reviews as the right thing to do. Therefore, it is fair to say that ethics are subjective. It is an ever evolving rule of behavior that is depended upon circumstances and life experiences. Ethics is relative to an individual's perception of reality and is based upon a specific point of view. This point of view is derived from a set of values that start in childhood and develops through the stages of life which are governed by morals (Daly & Mattila, 2007).

Morals are defined as a person's standards of behavior or a belief concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do. Lawrence Kohlberg's Six Stages of Moral Development, states "people develop morally, much as they do physically, from early childhood to adulthood" (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011, p. 34). It is during these moral stages of development that an individual formulates an ethical code of conduct and makes ethical decisions. Much like Erick Erikson's Psychosocial Stages of Development, Kohlberg's moral developmental theory suggest that an individual that fails to effectively mature to the next stage of development will have problems with ethical reasoning (Heffner, 2001). This is why it is important, not only to grasp the concept of moral development, but it is equally imperative to comprehend and understand personal differences.

Individual differences consist of a person's physical, personality, attitudinal, and emotional attributes. These attributes help to form and shape a person's personality. Personality is the basis of all behavior; which always involves a connection between an individual and circumstances. Therefore, personality plays a huge role when it comes to individual differences and preference, and its impact on organizational ethics. The personal differences can be founded on two underlying sources, heredity and environment.

While Hellriegel & Slocum present a balance approach, holding that personality emerges both from genetic and experience; many others believe personality is totally inherited (p.71). This is evidence by clich├ęs such as "like pastor, like people" or "like mother, like daughter". However whether inherited or through personal experience, personality does have an essential role in considering behavior and improving performance. Therefore, the implications individual differences and preference has on an organization ethics is vast. This is partly because it is simply impossible to control a person's behavior. However, on the other hand, it is possible to embrace these differences and learn how to use them for the benefit of all concern.

II. Discuss how organizational policies and procedures can impact organizational ethics.

Organizational policies and procedures play a vital role in the ethical process and are crucial to the failure or success of an organization. However, even more crucial is the commitment of that leadership of the organization to emulate the policies and procedures. This is evident in Anne Mulcahy's (CEO of PepsiCo) ethical leadership letter. Mulcahy annual ethics letter, sent to all employees of PepsiCo, speaks volume to her ethics competency. Not only does Mulcahy's letter display her commitment to ethical practices, but it states clearly and concisely, her position on ethical behavior and unquestionable integrity (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011).

Why is Mulchay's commitment to ethical standards so important? It is important because, on the norm, employees' behavior usually emulate what is and is not acceptable within the organization. In other words, employees usually display strong ethical behavior when they see leaders engage in strong ethical behavior. Now this does not mean all employees will comply - follow the example of the leader. Remember, one cannot dismiss the concept of individual differences; which plays a great part in individual behavior. Therefore, it is vital for leaders to understand these differences, as well as embrace them. This is where the diversity competency of leaders works hand-in-hand with their ethics competency.

Leaders who have mastered the diversity competency convey a sense of value and purpose to employees when they foster an environment of inclusion. This type of leadership communicates that the organization supports diversity; hence creating an environment where employees feel respected regardless of their differences. When the work environment fosters an atmosphere of inclusion, employees are encouraged to engage in cooperative efforts. Thus employees accept responsibility to follow policies and procedures and to act ethically according to the code of conduct.

III. Discuss the ethical dilemmas that Valerie is facing.

Whenever there is a clear conflict between at least two goods (values) requiring you to chose one over the other, an ethical dilemma manifest. The choice is not always as easy as choosing right or wrong, because in order to have an ethical dilemma there must be a situation where neither conflicting values can be



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