Why are ethical issues a major concern in organizations?Ethics is defined as the discipline that deals with what is bad or good and with moral obligation and duty. Ethical issues are of a major concern because businesses and organizations can easily become unethical, as evident in the numerous unethical corporate practices witnessed today. Organizations operate in a natural and social environment and thus, every organization has a duty to be responsible to the social and natural environment it operates. Regardless of the pressures and demands, each organization by virtue of its existence is required to be ethical for a number of reasons (Kinicki & Kreitner 2009).One reason is that whatever an organization does has an impact on its stakeholder. The other reason is that, every stage of action has a path of unethical or ethical choices and it is up to an organization to choose the ethical paths. Originally, ethics emerged as a result of the fall of face-to-face, high trust, and small scale enterprise and surfacing of enormous multinational corporate structures which were capable of upsetting the lives of the people.Today, the ever-changing organization structures and globalization have made the issue of ethics be of a paramount concern world wide. Numerous challenges are quickly approaching organizations in the present century. These challenges influence ethical behavior of organizations. Some of these challenges include global competition, increased quality, managing diversity in the workplace, and new technologies. Ethics is also necessitated by poor management techniques, obsolete training and international competition. Nevertheless, issues of moral behavior are still in an awkward position, in many organizations because when laws are implemented, for instance, the foreign corruption practices act that prevents unethical behavior; there is still an increase in the number of individuals engaging in unethical practices.What individual influences impact ethical behavior?
In an organization, there are numerous individual influences that can impact ethical behavior, particularly the leadership of an organization. Ethics is primarily concerned with the effect of actions of an individual on other people. Leaders are required to set a moral example for members in an organization, and to identify the activities in an organization that will have a negative impact to societal values. Leaders demonstrate ethical behavior when they do what is considered as morally good, just, and right, and when they facilitate moral self-actualization and raise the moral awareness of followers. In addition, ethical leadership covers more that just promoting ethical behaviors, it is also concerned with the provision of an organizational culture and favorable conditions to promote ethical behavior of employees.Ethical leadership also has an impact on the organizational commitment. Effective leadership is characterized by empowering, which in turn will lead to organizational effectiveness and commitment. Other leadership dimensions such as initiating servant leadership, communication, consideration, structure, and participative leadership are all precursors of organizational commitment. Research has indicated that there is greater organizational commitment for employees who are encouraged to participate in making decisions by their leaders. Organizational commitment is also greater when employees are treated with fairness and consideration, and their leaders are supportive of them than those who are not Leaders who display ethical behavior are more likely to take into account the personal rights and needs of workers, and treat them in a fair manner (Spears, 2004).
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Trust in leaders also has an impact on the ethical behavior of employees. Trust in leaders has an impact on organizational performance and effectiveness. The trust placed on leaders by employees will impact their compliance with laws and rules in an organization, increase the employee indifference zones, and promote the implementation of change in an organization. The trust that is placed upon leaders has a direct impact on their contributions to an organization in relation to civic virtue behavior, intent to remain, and performance.How can organizations influence ethical behavior in employees?An organization can influence ethical behavior in employees through a number of ways. One way the organization can influence ethical behavior is by offering rewards to employees so as to promote ethical behavior. An organization can also offer its employees with training on ethical standards to solidify the relations between employees and management. A combination of ethical training programs and self-discipline is also crucial as it gives a basis for making complex decisions in an ethical relationship.An organization can also influence ethical behavior by emphasizing on the expected behavior. This will be achieved by closing any gap between actual actions and expected actions. If employees know the right thing to do, they will strive to do what is right. New employees should be taught on the present virtuous values that exist in an organization. Managers are required to explain the values of an organization during orientation of new employees. This is a powerful way of influencing and promoting ethical behavior because new employees can observe the actions of current employees in an organization.Follow-up and accountability are vital the implementation of ethical behavior. Procedures and systems can be used to remind employees of their commitment and also help in linking promises or words with deeds. In organizations where there is behavioral integrity, deeds and words count. When behavior is driven by ethical values, the alignment of deeds and words promotes the establishment of an ethical work culture.Ethical behavior can also be promoted by linking and allocating resources in an appropriate manner. The five chief resources time, information, assets, capital, and money should be distributed and allocated in a fair and equitable manner, in the eyes of employees. Managers will promote ethical behavior through fairness and justice to all employees (Marty & Heifetz 2002).