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Managing Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

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Challenge Paper #2

Managing Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility


“Mainstream economics rests on the assumption that human beings are driven by self-interest and opportunism and are likely to shirk responsibility.”(Managing Business Ethics, chapter5, Cited by Linda and Katherine) And according to a popular press:

Psychologists believe that the content of our implicit biases are learned from the society in which we live. From a very early age, we are exposed to the certain ideas over and over from the people we interact with and from the media. Over time these ideas became so ingrained in us that we are activated automatically without us realizing it.

It’s common to say that human beings have implicit and explicit characteristics. In another word, we have conscious and unconscious attitudes and beliefs. Like my IAT results show that:

I have moderate automatic preference for White People over Black People; I have a slight automatic preference for European American compared to African American; I have little to no automatic preference between abled compared to disabled people; I slightly identify more with Good than Bad; and I prefer distinguishing happy facial expression.

Actually, before doing the implicit-association test, I thought I wouldn’t have that much preference; at least I didn’t have preference on race. However, during the test, I found I do have propensity on choosing the bad or good words and head portrait for Black and White. It helps me to recognize myself more deeply, and maybe I can take some measures to adjust my attitudes based on the results. In my opinion, it may cost a long time to change one’s implicit attitudes, which are influenced by social culture, family culture and personal experience in a long term.

How might this information affect me as a leader or manager? First, considering my leadership style, I have a tendency to be compromising leadership style in dealing with conflicts that I get a moderate amount of both assertiveness and cooperativeness, depending on what I have learnt in BA550. In teamwork, I’d like to communicate with my teammates, care about them in order to maintain a harmonious atmosphere. However, according to my IAT results, I have moderate automatic preference for White People over Black People, so if in teamwork, I would focus more on White People than Black People if I have both White and Black coworkers, which may lead to a uncomfortable feeling inside them. Worse, in a long term, my Black mate may leave my group.

Second, in some degree, my implicit preference for White People over Black People is discrimination. And discrimination will lead to unequal treatment, which “can be a subtle or not-so-subtle factor not only in working relationships but also in hiring, promotions, and layoff decision.” Besides, “employees care at least as much about the fairness of decision-making procedures and about the interpersonal treatment they receive when results are communicated.”(Linda and Katherine) It will create relationship conflicts and task conflicts in teamwork, which play important roles in leadership effectiveness.

Third, executive leaders create culture. Leaders can create, maintain or change formal and informal cultural systems by what they say, do, or support. And Linda and Katherine said “ Most employees are at the conventional level of cognitive moral development, meaning that they are looking outside themselves for guidance about how to think and act.” So, leaders can create organizational culture and also can destroy the culture. From Kelleher’s influence on his employees, we can see how heavy the influence of a leader inside organization.

What should organizations do to combat inequality? What is equality? It means fairness, reciprocity and impartiality. What makes equality? Definitely it’s people. So first step organizations can do is in recruiting and hiring new employees. Selection systems are vital to hiring people who fit the culture of the firm. Each organization may pay attention on different values. For example, Southwest Airlines focus on cheerfulness, optimism and team spirit; Business college of OSU values integrity, respect and responsibility. How can organizations choose recruits? William Byham offered a series of questions in his article” Can You Interview for Integrity?” Recruiters can also ask similar questions when selecting employees.



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