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Chapter 26 Ethics and Safety. Major Topics Ethical behavior in organizations Handling of ethical dilemmas Questions to ask when making decisions Ethics.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 26 Ethics and Safety. Major Topics Ethical behavior in organizations Handling of ethical dilemmas Questions to ask when making decisions Ethics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 26 Ethics and Safety

2 Major Topics Ethical behavior in organizations Handling of ethical dilemmas Questions to ask when making decisions Ethics and whistle blowing

3 Morality Morality refers to the values that are subscribed to and fostered by society in general and individuals within society.

4 Ethics Ethics is the study of morality within a context established by cultural and professional values, social norms, and accepted standards of behavior. Ethics attempts to apply reason in determining rules of human conduct that translate morality into everyday behavior. Ethical behavior is that which falls within the limits prescribed by morality.

5 Ethics tests: morning after, front page, mirror, role reversal and common sense Morning-after test: If you make this choice, how will you feel about it tomorrow morning? Front-page test: This test encourages you to make a decision that would not embarrass you if printed as a story on the front page of your home town newspaper. Mirror test: If you make this decision how will you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror? Role-reversal test: This test requires you to trade places with the people affected by your decision and view the decision through their eyes. Common-sense test: This test requires you to listen to what your instincts and common sense are telling you. If it feels wrong, it probably is.

6 Safety and health professional’s role with regard to ethics Safety and health professionals should be able to make responsible decisions concerning ethical choices.

7 Approaches to handling ethical behavior: best ratio, black and white, and full potential Best-ratio approach: The safety and health professional should do everything possible to create conditions that promote ethical behavior and try to maintain the best possible ratio of good choices to bad. When hard decisions must be made, the appropriate choice is one that does the most good for the most people. Black-and-White approach: Right is right and wrong is wrong and circumstances are irrelevant. The safety and health professional’s job is to make ethical decisions and to carry them out. When difficult decisions must be made the safety and health professional must make fair and impartial choices regardless of the outcome. Full-potential approach: Safety and health professionals should make decisions based on how the outcomes affect the ability of those involved to achieve their full potential.

8 Company’s role with regard to ethics Industrial firms have a critical role to play in promoting ethical behavior among their employees: Create an internal environment that promotes, expects, and rewards ethical behavior. Set an example of ethical behavior in all external dealings.

9 Facing an ethical dilemma 1.Apply the guidelines: The morning after test, the front page test, the mirror test, the role reversal test and the common sense test. Attempt to block out all mitigating circumstances and other factors that tend to cloud out the issue. At this point the goal is only to identify the ethical choice. 2. Select the Approach: You have tree basic approaches: best-ratio, black-and-white, and full potential approaches. Factors that will affect the ultimate decision include your personal make-up, the expectations of the company, and the degree of company support. 3. Proceed with the Decision: The approach selected in step 2 will dictate how you proceed. Two things are important in this final step. The first is to proceed in strict accordance with the approach selected. The second is to proceed consistently. Fairness is a large part of ethics, and consistency is a large part of fairness. Employees respect consistency.

10 Ethics philosophy for a chemical company The Martin Marietta code of conduct is summarized as follows: In our daily activities we bear important obligations to our country, our customers, our owners, our communities and to one another. We carry out these obligations by certain unifying principles: Our foundation is INTEGRITY Our strength is our PEOPLE Our style is TEAMWORK Our goal is EXCELLENCE

11 Individual and social factors that may influence an employee’s ethical behavior Three personality measures can influence an employee’s ethical behavior: Ego strength: is his or her ability to undertake self directed tasks and to cope with tense situations. Machiavellianism: is the extent to which he or she will attempt to deceive and confuse others. Locus of control: is the perspective of workers concerning who or what controls their behavior (internal or external control). Because safety and health professionals represent a significant role model for their team members, it is critical that they exhibit ethical behavior that is beyond reproach in all situations.

12 Five P’s of ethical behavior Purpose: Individuals see themselves as ethical people who let their conscience be their guide and in all cases want to feel good about themselves. Pride: Individuals apply internal guidelines and have sufficient self esteem to make decisions that may not be popular with others. Patience: Individuals believe right will prevail in the long run, and they are willing to wait when necessary. Persistence: Individuals are willing to stay with an ethical course of action once it has been chosen and see it through to a positive conclusion. Perspective: Individuals take the time to reflect and are guided by their own internal barometer when making ethical decisions.

13 Questions safety and health professional should ask when making ethical decisions Has the issue or problem been thoroughly and accurately defined? Have all dimensions of the problem [productivity, quality, cost, safety, health and so on] been identified? Would other stakeholders [employees, customers] agree with your definition of the problem? What is your real motivation in making this decision? Meeting a deadline? Outperforming another organizational unit, or a competitor? Self-promoting? Getting the job done right? Protecting the safety and health of employees? Some combination of these? What is the probable short term result of your decision? What is the probable long term result? Who will be affected by your decision and in what way? In the short term? In the long term? Did you discuss the decision with all stakeholders [ or all possible stakeholders] before making it? Would your decision withstand the scrutiny of employees, customers, colleagues, and the general public?

14 Problems associated with whistle blowing Retribution: People who blow the whistle on their employers may be subject to retribution. They may be fired, transferred to an undesirable location, or reassigned to an undesirable job. They may also be shunned. Damaged relationships and hostility: Blowing the whistle about an illegal or unethical practice can often damage relationships. Somebody is responsible. That person or those persons may be disciplined as a result. Damaged relationships are often manifested as hostility directed towards the whistle blower. Loss of focus: Whistle blowers often find that their time, energy, and attention are overtaken by the events surrounding the claim of illegal or unethical behavior. Rather than focusing on doing their jobs, they find themselves dealing with retribution, damaged relationships, and hostility. Scapegoating: Some safety professionals may decide to ignore the issue or to raise it to the next level of management and leave it there. When an employee is injured or the environment is damaged, an irresponsible organization facing charges of negligence may begin looking for a convenient scapegoat. One obvious candidate in such situations is the organization’s chief health and safety professional.

15 Summary Ethics is the application of morality within accepted standards of behavior. An act can be legal but unethical. Ethical tests: morning after, front page, mirror, role reversal, and common sense. Approaches in handling ethical dilemmas: best ratio, black and white, and full potential. Whistle blowing is the act of informing an outside authority or the media of alleged illegal or unethical acts by an organization or individual.

16 Home work Answer questions 6, 7, and 10 on page Briefly explain a company’s role with regard to ethics. 7. Explain how one should proceed when facing an ethical dilemma? 10. What questions should safety and health professionals ask when making decisions that have an ethical component?


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