Business scandals are ingrained in the public’s consciousness. Many people expect the worst from those in positions of leadership. The truth is, however, that leadership at every level needs to be ethical and socially responsible. Let’s examine the ethics and social responsibility for middle managers.
What is Ethical Workplace Behavior?
Integrity is defined as an essential managerial trait. Ethics goes along with integrity. Most companies have codes of conduct that govern ethics in the workplace. Many of the rules are based on laws governing business ethics. These codes of conduct are usually available in a handbook, and each company will reflect different issues. There are, however, typical ethical standards in a workplace. It is important that managers lead by example to encourage ethical behavior in the workplace. An ethical workplace will lead to honesty, commitment, and loyalty.
Ethical Standards at Most Companies
- Adhere to OSHA regulations.
- Pay employees fairly.
- Provide equal opportunity.
- No tolerance for harassment of any kind.
- Arrive at work on time and work as scheduled.
- Converse respectfully.
- No tolerance for threats or violent behavior.
What is Unethical Workplace Behavior?
Unethical workplace behavior is the exact opposite of ethical workplace behavior. Sometimes the unethical behavior is glaring, such as stealing or making threats. It is possible, however, for people to cross the line accidentally. For example, a joke or a compliment might offend a co-worker or employee. In order to be safe, employees should refrain from saying or doing anything at work if they feel that there is any way it could be misunderstood.
- Breaking rules or policies
- Inappropriate jokes or comments
- Lack of compensation for work
- Threats or acts of violence
Unethical behavior can lead to lawsuits against the company and individuals involved. Even if things do not go that far, it could cause resentment and poor performance.
How to Make Ethical Decisions
Managers need to make ethical decision, but it is not always easy. The answer is not always clear in every situation. Fortunately, there are a few steps that will help managers understand the ethics behind their decision-making process.
Framework for Ethical Decisions:
- Identify the ethics of a decision.
- Acquire all of the facts about the situation.
- Evaluate different options.
- Monitor the situation after the decision is made.
- Use the decision to guide new actions.
What is Social Responsibility?
Workplace ethics govern how a company treats employees. Social responsibility is the way that the company treats those outside of the workplace. Other businesses the company works with, customers, the community, and the environment all fall under the heading of social responsibility.
Social responsibility is important because many people choose to support a business based on its social responsibility. Companies are striving to be more socially responsible, and it is becoming a part of many vision and mission statements.
Social Responsibility Covers:
- The environment: Going green and saving energy is socially responsible.
- The community: Find ways to give back.
- Customers: Determine how to treat customers well and reward their patronage.
- Business alliances: Make sure that the companies you work with treat their employees well and share your values.