Comparison Chart EthicsMorals What is it?The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular collection/class/ group, culture, etc. It defines how things are according to rules. Principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct. It defines how things should work according to an individuals' ideals and principles. Source:Social system (External)Individual (Internal) Why we do it?Because group/society says it is the right thing to do and individuals are expected to adhere to. Because we believe as individuals in something being right or wrong which matches with our characters and principals. What if we don't do it?We will face peer/social disapproval, or even be fired from our job in case of profession. Doing something against one's morals and principles can have different effects on different people, they may feel uncomfortable, unhappy, depressed, etc. Flexibility:Ethics are dependent on others for definition. They tend to be consistent within a certain context, but can vary between contexts or groups. (example, the ethics of medical profession are generally consistent and do not change from hospital to another, but are different from the ethics of legal profession). Usually consistent across all contexts/groups, but can change if an individual’s beliefs and values change over time.
Admission of Wrongdoing Sometimes it is difficult for people to admit that they have done something wrong. This is especially true for a Project Manager, who may be responsible for a large project and for overseeing a staff. However, ethically, if the Project Manager is at fault for the unsuccessful venture of project completion, then that Project Manager must be able to admit this wrong. Not admitting wrongdoing can greatly damage the team relationship and ruin the trust of team member in the Project Manager. Focus of Blame When a project fails, it is so much easier to point the fingers at this person or that person. However, ethically, no person should be singled out for project failure unless it is the Project Manager. In the end, he or she is the one assigned the ultimate task of ensuring the project is completed. However, there is no “I” in team. Although the Project Manager is in charge of ensuring the task gets completed, sometimes a task can fail despite the Project Manager’s best efforts. In these cases of project incompletion or failure, it should be said that the team failed. This is the most ethical outcome in this sense because it points the blame for failure on the team as a whole instead of just one or two persons. Examples of Ethical Behavior in Project Management
Hiring and firing (or staffing and un-staffing) Project Manager has ethical responsibility of hiring and firing staff from project team. Project Manager should always be targeting the benefit of the team and success of the project. There could situations where some team members might be added to or removed from project team due to personal reasons relating to the Project Manager or sometimes direct instructions from higher Management. Team stability is one dominant factor in motivating the team, improving inter- cooperation, reducing conflict, getting higher quality and minimizing unexpected delays in project schedule. Hence, the overall project success.
3. Why Ethics: How Do “Ethics” Impact Organizational Success? Relationship between Ethics and Organization Social Responsibility? Why are “Ethics” Ultimately Essential in our Lives?
Attract more professional job seekers to work for the business, reduce recruitment costs and enable the company to get the most talented employees. Attract customers to the firm's products, thereby boosting sales and profits. Investment: A company that would like to encourage extra business investment is a company that has a strong sense of business ethics. Part of business ethics is responsibility to the investor and for that reason companies with strong reputations in the field of ethical business behavior are also companies that tend to attract more investment from people that are new into the market. Investment is most definitely important to success. Hence, a company business ethics attracts investors and keep the company's share price high, thereby protecting the business from takeover.
Encourage existing employees to stay with the business, achieve their satisfaction, reduce labor turnover and therefore increase productivity. Partnerships: In the business world, joint ventures happen all the time because they are ultimately of great importance to all partners. A business can be made or broken on just one joint venture and part of the reason that joint ventures are successful is that they combine the forces of two powerful companies on one or more fields. If an organization is seeking a good opportunity of a joint ventures, with good and powerful partners, then it must have a good reputation both in terms of a track record and overall business. The best way to get a good reputation (public image) is to have a strong tradition of ethical business behavior. Support healthy competition and stop business malpractices thus maintaining entire profession reputation and development.
Make it easy for employees to seek guidance when they need help making a decision. Employees may not always be sure what the ethical solution is. Therefore, it's the company's responsibility to provide the resources that they need to make the right decision. Someone should be available at all times with whom employees can discuss these issues. This is usually the HR Director, HR Manager or HR Department in general. Create an atmosphere in which employees can trust their supervisors and managers and know they can report violators of the ethics policy. Supervisors and managers should keep employees who report violators anonymous and not make them face penalty. However, employees shouldn't feel like it's their responsibility to report violations. Set an example. Supervisors and managers cannot expect employees to respect them if they don't follow the rules that they set. Model decision- making that embraces the ethical values that the company embraces. Employees will respect their supervisors and managers more and will likely follow their example.
Ethical Decision Making Model (How to make an Ethical Decision ?)
What are the Obstacles Against Ethics Enforcement in Workplace (Ethics Pitfall)?
1. Conflict between organization “ethics” and the individual “morals”: A clash between ethics and morals can occur at the workplace where company ethics can play against personal morality. Corporate greed that blurs its own ethical lines coupled with unreasonable demands can lead to having to choose between a stressful, demanding and consuming work ethics, and family obligations seen as moral obligations to spouse and children. Conversely, people lose jobs every day because of poor personal morals, employee theft being a common reason for dismissal. 2. Relationship between “ethics” and employee position Rationalizing ourselves out of good moral decision-making: It’s easy to convince ourselves when we are powerful that we can do what we’d like. Lack of supervision over Top and Senior positions in a work place: Giving the feeling to Top and Senior positions of being “untouchable”. Obedience to Authority: We tend to obey those in authority, including when authorities direct us to perform actions we believe are unethical especially when being in entry-level or a junior employee.
Perception that we have little influence over events when we are not powerful or in key positions: The more control we believe we have over an event, the more we tend to perceive ourselves as responsible for the events we bring about or allow to happen. 3. Technical Experience or Know-How: Usually there is a trend to “exempt” the expertise in an organization from the ethics of the workplace applied to other employees. Technical experts are always given the feeling that they are “untouchable and protected” as they represent a valuable asset for their organizations that could not be sacrificed. Without them, the business might fail. The worst impact is witnessed on the juniors and subordinates as they will always be willing to “obey” their technical supervisors or leaders for the sake of learning and gathering information. For theses juniors and subordinates, their technical supervisors & leaders satisfaction always comes first.
4. Obstacles to Good Ethical Decision-Making Poor moral awareness: Poor moral awareness can either result in a failure to perceive the problem as being an ethical problem at all (in which cases one does not go through the steps of good ethical decision making). Failure to gather relevant facts: Good ethical decisions require that we know important facts relevant to the decision, such as those facts that help us determine the likely impact of the action on stakeholders. Insufficient attention/time given to ethical decision-making process: Some people think that they do not have to follow an ethical decision model as they are capable of making the “best” decisions. Slippery Slope: People are willing to do unethical things because they have already done smaller, less extreme acts that make the bigger choice appear less (or not at all) unethical.
False necessity trap: If you have to do it, it’s ethical to do. Legality: If it’s legal, then it’s ethical and allowable. Conflict between personal morals and job ethics: It’s just part of the job. Ends-justify-the-means: It’s all for a good cause. Or, it's necessary so it's ethical. Conflicts of interest, favoritism, and violations of established rules and procedures can then be absorbed. Fighting fire with fire: misconducts are justified if they are practiced by those with whom you are dealing. No direct or immediate harm is perceived : This is used to excuse misconduct when violating ethical principles so long as no one is hurt. Everyone’s doing it. I am not the only one.
Benefiting others of organization: It’s OK as I don’t benefit personally. This justifies improper conduct for others or for institutional purposes or someone else’s sake. I deserve it. This is common rationalization usually throughout all employees levels: Powerful employees think that they deserve benefits due to their previous services without which their organization would collapse. On the other hand, employees who feel overworked and/or underpaid rationalize that minor "perks" (acceptance of favors, abuse of sick leave, overtime, personal use of office supplies) are nothing more than fair compensation for services rendered. Lack of experience: All of the above can be improved with practice and gain of experience.
Lessons learned from this case study are the direct violations by the Management for following rules: Failure to create well-defined relationships between different organizational departments. Failure to manage conflicts between organizational staff: Ruining the Maintenance Manager’s reputation within the organization. Failure to be fair in giving opportunities to all parties to introduce their justifications and acting without favourism. Failure in validating and investigating claims from all sides of conflict (understanding the truth). Failure in transparency and honesty in transferring accurate information to Top Management. Failure in maintaining the stability of the maintenance team, their motivations and reducing their high turnover. Case Study: Lessons Learned:
Failure to uphold to organizational Code of Ethics in general and in treating others, regardless of position or title, with professional respect and courtesy in particular: Failure to keep respect of subordinates for their managers. Conveying a message –in particular to junior employees and new joiners- that commitment to ethics is sometimes dependant on the employee’s position. Using power to influence employees to do what their Management wanted (unethical) not what they should do.
Ethics create a sense of right and wrong in organizations and societies and often when the law fails, it is the ethics that may stop organizations from harming the society or environment and prevent individuals from harming their communities. Ethics always wins. Power and technical knowledge do not warrant long term success neither in organizations nor in societies. The cost of being unethical is always much higher than the cost of being ethical especially on the long term. No ethics means no real success neither in business (profession) nor in life (society).