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Values are measures of integrity which ethical actions can be based on. Individuals and cultures consider values depending on whether they are virtues or vices. We can also define values as those things that are important and really matter to us, the ideas and believe which we hold on and consider as special. For illustration, caring for a sick person or the freedom that one has which can lead to free expression of opinion are values. Values such as honesty, accuracy, truth and integrity are promoted in all public corporations. There exists an unwritten rule that promote and demand that members, employees and consultants adhere to these values while performing their public duties (Lewis & Gilman, 2005). This is not enough; they should also avoid any impropriety in performing the same. They are based on the course of action that will lead to the desired outcome. Ethics on the hand are the rules of conduct that individuals or a particular group adhere to. It refers to the values that prompt human conduct.
In most public organizations, the issue of ethics is complicated because of the problem of trust. The public is extremely distrustful of these corporations. In most public organizations, there is political influence, which complicates things even more. The public judges these cooperation's depending on Ethics they portray in their dealings with the public. Thus, these relationships cause the public to view each corporation differently. Each public corporation has a particular public image. The existing environment in an organization like the way employees are treated and the relationship with the communities around them are some of the factors that contribute to their public image (Ethics.org, 2010).
The way the public views any public corporation is a result of the company's actions and its conduct. Therefore, ethical public relations are an important to any public cooperation since it is its ethical heart. It controls either good or bad news not only to the staff but also to the surrounding community. The professionals that work at the PR relations department work hand in hand with the committee that makes the company's mission and vision statement. This will enable them to cope with the crisis, which often surrounds public corporations. They are the people who are put on the spot during crisis. The public believe that you will know most things about a public corporation the minute you walk into it. One is able to tell the extend of corporate dishonesty that exist in the place. The corporation's values and ethics flows right from the top to the bottom of every department. It permeates the mindset of all employees and anyone interacting with the corporation can smell it. Not a single issue can be hidden, it can veiled for a given duration but finally it will gush out. This is true especially with the bad news.
Public corporations should adhere to the International code of conduct. The International code of conduct is a collection of more that 800 codes of ethics. Professional bodies developed and presented the codes. These included bodies such as professional societies, governments, public corporations and academic institutions. Many people believe that public relation is a strategy of public corporations to convince them that what is wrong is right. They view public relations staff as manipulators of the truth. This is the reason why honesty is important when dealing with any issue so that this perception is changed. The performance of a public corporation is another important issue that gives rise to the image of a corporation. Within public corporations, there are responsibilities, legal mandates and business priorities, which must be determined in order to have the right public image. These form a system of ethics, which is quite different from the normal ethical systems. Several theoretical and practical boundaries apply to decision makers, whether it's an individual, an agent or the public corporation as a whole. It is assumed that decision makers within a public corporation must uphold the success of the corporation. This is to ensure that investments of the shareholders in a public corporation are utilized effectively. They have an ethical mandate to fulfill this requirement. This is often referred to as their corporate responsibility. These people are vested with the responsibility of advancing honest decisions and actions on behalf of the corporation.
The ethics and values of the Florida agency were portrayed in the miscommunication that resulted to the death of a ten years old girl. The 10-year old twins had been reported to be missing and the Florida child welfare investigators searched for them in various homes and schools without success. The controversy has been raised because thy did not notify the police. By the time they reached out to the police, one of the twins, Nubia was already dead. Her decomposed body was found damped in a plastic bag in a truck along interstate 95. Her twin brother was in the front seat of the truck having suffered from critical burns from a toxic chemical (Wsvn, 2011). The death of Nubia sparked a public outcry against the department of children and families (DCF). The officials within the agency called for an outside body to investigate the case. The couple that had adopted the twins became the focus of abuse allegations. Their home was considered a crime scene and authorities blamed the couple for starving the daughter. The public instead thought that welfare officials were trying to deflect the initial claims. They were turning from the fact that they failed to notify the police in time.
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One of the investigators claimed that he even sat at the couple's home for hours just to speak to them. He admitted that if he would have contacted the police earlier, things might have been different. However, he said that he believes that he did his best. The new DCF secretary David Wilkins while commenting on the case said that the department would increase its transparency. Caseworkers will be required to carry devices that track their location. They will also be required to take photos of children whenever they make visits. The panel that was created to review the case was reached the following conclusions. They commented that lack of common sense and miscommunication of the child welfare officials played the biggest role in Nubia's death. They also recommended the reviewing of education and experience of child case managers.
Employees in most U.S. public companies believe that the values and ethics in the various corporations they work in are okay. A survey carried out in which 900 employees were interviewed showed that they admitted that ethical standards are maintained in their work place. However, a closer analysis of the public companies painted a different picture. The findings are not uniform across the range of public companies. Most employees gave failing results to their employers. They judged these corporations harshly giving disturbing comments. They said that employees who had given positive results were not honest. They claimed that employees are used to ethically questionable practices and giving dishonest answers is common. The results showed that in many public corporations, employees are rewarded regardless of ethical standards employed in performing their duties.
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This is more rampant in public corporations with less than 100 employees. Approximately 20% of employees confirmed that there was a conflict between their jobs and their personal values. Employee view of corporate ethics is established by several factors. These include employees' perception of the importance of ethics as created by the top management, organizational culture that reinforces ethics at workplace, prevailing programs set to reinforce the ethics and the punishment given to noncompliance. The National Business Ethics Survey (NBES) conducted a research, which showed that smaller public organizations have no established departments that advance corporate ethics. These are the very organizations that are marred by rampant issues of unethical practices. This shows that they have more work to do so that they can cultivate ethical practices within the work environment.
Various public services values have been created to act as the foundation for organizational philosophy. These values act as the basis for implementing procedures that promote ethical behavior. Public companies should win public trust by promoting the efficient use of public resources and promoting the interest of the communities they work within. Public officers should not take bribes because of ones public position. That means that no official will use his position for personal gain. Whenever there is a conflict between the two, public interest should be considered a priority. Use of false or inaccurate information in support of the corporation's position should be avoided at all costs. If an employees interests and that of the cooperation conflict, especially financial interests then the employee should excuse himself. Finally, public corporations should disclose instances of unethical practices to the relevant authorities.
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Government officials have always promised to expose corruption and to use full authority to punish wrong doers. They say this in defense of the rights of American employees and investors. However, culprits are never punished and most of them continue to work in the very offices that they have abused. This calls for the refinement of the methods we use in taming unethical practices in public corporations. The greatest challenge however lies in tackling the vice in smaller public corporations.