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The main aim of business is making a profit, but values and ethics are central for any organization, and both of them have extremely broad meaning, because of society opinion, events and conditions surrounding the business. Organizational values and ethics determine organizational culture and style, vision and mission, strategy and practices, which are experienced by suppliers, employees, and customers.
Values can be defined as the things that are relevant to or valued by some individual or organization. “Individualistic approach” is concerned with moral responsibility. “Communal approach” shows individuals as members of a community which is partially responsible for the behavior of its members (Driscoll & Hoffman). Therefore, organization’s ethics depends on the ethical values of its members; on the other hand, what an organization stands for should be the basis for the behavior of its members. A disagreement between individual and organizational values willcreate many problems.
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Group members must quickly learn to adhere to the values if they want to keep their position for a long time. Otherwise the organization will not only work less effectively, but also suffer from the cynicism of its members.
Companies must decide what they consider just, fair and right in compliance with ethics in business. Organizational ethics meets standards of conduct and moral judgement used by managers or organizations in carrying out their business. It regulates their competitive campaign.Written ethical codes identify what the organization considers to be right or wrong. It may be a list of laws, regulations and procedures that reminds managers of the obvious prohibitions. These are determined and expected by all stakeholders, as well as the public, government regulators, interest groups, consumers, and industry (Driscoll & Hoffman).
Norms are the unspoken rules which direct the behavior of the organization’s members. They often are more effective than a formal set of rules and laws. The reason why norms are necessary for a discussion of ethics and values is that norms may encourage certain behavior. When there is a disparity between the affirmed and working values, it may be hard to decide what is “right”.
If one wants to have a successful business, it must be a company with a set of values which has withstood the test of time. Considering the rash of corporate scandals these days, the saying “honesty is the best policy” is true today more than ever. Besides, we can distinguish eight elements that determinate the ethical look of an ideal organization: respect, honor, integrity, focus on customer, results orientation, risk-taking, passion, and persistence (Putnam).
Respect. Effective business can be build only with people who respect each other.
Honor. Good people are a basic part of excellent ethics. They help the organization to be successful; they are needed to honor their contributions publicly and privately (Matthews).
Integrity.Do not employ people who do not have integrity, because other workers, clients and vendors will not trust them (Putnam).
Focus on customer. Company’s decisions affect people, investors, partners, and, above all, customers. Serving all these people is a part of ethical responsibility.
Results orientation. Results of developing those products that customers want, with a price which is fair to all parties involved should be attained. In a good company with ethical values results are more than just numbers. They are the process evaluation for today and further perfection for the future.
Risk-taking. Grand companies attract those employees who are eager to take risks, and they encourage, support and pay these employees; but one must be aware of the nature of the people around them while taking risks.
Passion. With passion burning within them, people put additional effort into their work.
Persistence. People in reputable organizations have the willpower to persist. Their persistence is tied to their passion, risk-taking, honoring and respectable behavior, focusing on the customer’s needs and wants (Matthews).
Compliance with all these points is the representation of formal ethics in the organization. Nevertheless, the core values established in the organization should be positively responded by the employees at all levels.
Summary. Ethical responsibility is the duty of any organization to look for actions that defend and promote the wellbeing of society along with its own interests. It is clear that a business without ethical values is a risky venture as its reputation suffers. Simple values mean wise leadership and policies. Employee morale is also higher in a company that lives by ethical values and standards. There are eight general elements by which we can determine high-quality ethics in the organization; and all of them can be written in an individual ethical code.