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Dr. Keith Y.N. Ng Ph.D., MBA, MCIM THINKING AND MANAGING ETHICALLY THE INDIVIDUAL IN THE ORGANISATION TME 7.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Keith Y.N. Ng Ph.D., MBA, MCIM THINKING AND MANAGING ETHICALLY THE INDIVIDUAL IN THE ORGANISATION TME 7."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Keith Y.N. Ng Ph.D., MBA, MCIM THINKING AND MANAGING ETHICALLY THE INDIVIDUAL IN THE ORGANISATION TME 7

2 2 The Rational Organisation “Rational" model of the business organization is a structure of formal relationships designed to achieve a goal efficiently. A firm's organizational chart, identifying the formal hierarchies of authority, exemplifies the fundamental reality of the organization –At the bottom of the organization is the operational layer of workers who directly produce the goods or provide the services. –Above this are levels of middle managers who direct those below them and are, in turn, directed by those above. –At the top of the pyramid is the top management: the CEO, the board of directors, and their staff.

3 3TME 7 The Rational Organisation This model presupposes that information will be gathered from the lower levels and rise to the top for policy making The glue that holds these layers together is contracts: –each employee freely and knowingly agrees to accept the organization's formal authority. –employees have a moral responsibility to obey the employer in pursuing the organization's goals, –employer has a moral responsibility to provide the employee with the pay and benefits they have promised (including fair working conditions).

4 4TME 7 The Employee’s Obligations to the Firm (1) Employee's main moral duty is to work toward the goals of the firm. This view is called "the law of agency," which specifies the legal duties of employees toward their employer. The employee, must pursue the firm's goals and do nothing that conflicts with them while working for the firm.

5 5TME 7 The Employee’s Obligations to the Firm (2) An employee might fail to live up to this duty in several ways: –might steal outright from the firm, –act on a conflict of interest, –use his position to leverage illicit benefits out of others through extortion or bribery.

6 6TME 7 Conflicts of Interest (1) Conflicts of interest arise when: –employees have a private interest in the outcome of a task antagonistic to the firm's interests –it might affect the employee's independent judgment on the firm's behalf. –The result is that self-interest induces employees to act in ways that may not be in the best interests of the firm. –employees hold another job or consultancy outside the firm.

7 7TME 7 Conflicts of Interest (2) Conflicts can be either actual or potential Actual conflicts occur when a person discharges his or her duties in a manner prejudicial to the firm. A potential conflict occurs when a person is merely motivated or tempted to do so. If contractual agreements impose moral duties, then actual conflicts of interest are clearly immoral. Potential conflicts of interest may or may not be ethical, depending on the probability that the employee's judgment will be affected (or seem to be affected) by the conflict of interest.

8 8TME 7 Commercial Bribes/Extortion and Gifts Bribes and extortion are unethical and create clear conflicts of interest. Accepting gifts may or may not be ethical, depending on a number of factors: –What is the value of the gift? –What is the purpose of the gift? –What are the circumstances under which the gift was given? –What is the position of the recipient? –What is the accepted practice in the area? –What is the company's policy? –What is the law?

9 9TME 7 Employee Theft and Computers Employees’ contractual agreement to accept only specific benefits in return for services and to use the firm's resources for the good of the firm. Use of company resources and other appropriation of benefits counts as theft. Though theft is often petty (e.g. stealing of stationeries or padding of expense accounts), it extends to white-collar crimes such as embezzlement, larceny, fraud, and forgery.

10 10TME 7 Computer Theft More recent forms of theft involve forms of information and company computers. Copying a company's software or data, or using a company computer for personal business (unless explicitly allowed) are examples of unethical forms of theft.

11 11TME 7 Trade Secrets Propriety information or "trade secrets" is information that the company owns concerning its activities, which it explicitly indicates that it does not want others to have. Sharing such information is also unethical.

12 12TME 7 Insider Trading Information can lead to other types of unethical behavior. Insider trading, the act of buying or selling company stock on the basis of confidential or proprietary information, is illegal and unethical. Some argue that insider trading is actually ethical and socially beneficial; it does not harm anyone and helps the stock price reflect its true value, they maintain. These arguments ignore basic facts about insider trading: the information being proprietary, does not belong to the trader (stolen property). Research shows that insider trading violates people's rights, based on unjust advantage, harms overall utility of society.

13 13TME 7 The Firm’s Duties to the Employee A firm's main moral duty to its employees is to provide them with –a fair wage –fair working conditions. Both issues are aspects of the compensation employees receive from their service and relate to the question of whether the employee contracted to take a job freely and knowingly

14 14TME 7 Wages Setting a fair wage is both important and difficult, so employers will need to consider these factors: –What is the going wage in the industry and the area? –What are the firm's capabilities? –What is the nature of the job? –What are the minimum wage laws? –What are the other salaries in the firm? –Were wage negotiations fair? –What are the local costs of living?

15 15TME 7 Working Conditions: Health & Safety (1) Working conditions are equally important. Ten percent of the U.S. job force suffers a job related injury or illness each year. More attention needed on worker safety due to rising occupational accident rates

16 16TME 7 Working Conditions: Health & Safety (2) Risks are sometimes unavoidable and acceptable, as long as employees are fully compensated If wages are not proportional to the risks, or the risk is accepted unknowingly, contract between employer and employee is unfair, and Fair working conditions require : –Studying and eliminating job risks – Compensating for risk – Informing worker of known risk – Insuring workers against unknown risks

17 17TME 7 Working Conditions: Job Satisfaction (1) Because Rational model of the organization puts high value on efficiency, jobs are specialized and job satisfaction can suffer. Jobs can be specialized either horizontally (by restricting the range of tasks contained in the job and increasing the repetition of this narrow range) or vertically (by restricting the range of control and decision-making that the job requires).

18 18TME 7 Working Conditions: Job Satisfaction (2) Job specialization can have debilitating effects. Not all workers are equally affected by job specialization. –Older workers and workers in urban areas are more tolerant –Only about one quarter of workers would choose the same job again if they could start over. Highly specialized work presents a problem of justice Narrowly specialized forms of work are those that require the least skills (specialization means dispense with need for training) Research shows that excessive job specialization can be detrimental to efficiency.

19 19 Working Conditions: Job Satisfaction (3) To lessen the negative effects of specialization, employers should expand jobs along these five dimensions: –Skill variety - the job should require a variety of challenging activities. –Task identity - the job should require a whole and identifiable piece of work. –Task significance - the job should have an impact on the lives of others. –Autonomy - the job should give the worker freedom to determine how he/she will carry it out. –Feedback - the worker should get information about the value of his/her efforts. These dimensions suggest deepening most jobs vertically and expanding them horizontally

20 20TME 7 The Political Organization (1) Rational model of organisation accounts for much of the behavior of an organization A great deal of organizational behavior is neither goal directed, efficient, or rational. A different model: the firm as a political organization is needed to understand this behavior

21 21TME 7 The Political Organization (2) This model is newer than the rational model. Unlike that model, it does not look only at the formal lines of authority but emphasizes the informal lines of influence Sees the organization as a system of competing power coalitions. Focus on the competitive nature of different factions within a firm. The goals of the firm are the goals established by the most powerful or dominant coalition Fundamental reality of the organization is not formal authority or contract, but power.

22 22TME 7 The Political Organization (3) If power is the main organizational reality, then the primary ethical problems in an organization are connected with acquiring and exercising power. The two main questions become: –What are the moral limits to the power managers acquire and exercise over their subordinates? –What are the moral limits to the power employees acquire and exercise on each other?

23 23TME 7 Employee Rights (1) Corporate management is similar to a government: –they are centralized decision-making bodies –they have power and authority to enforce their decisions on subordinates concerning the distribution of resources, benefits, and burdens. Observers hold that this power is comparable that moral limits placed on governmental officials must extend to managers as well. As government must respect the civil rights of citizens, managers must respect the moral rights of employees: the rights to privacy, consent, and freedom of speech, among others.

24 24TME 7 Employee Rights (2) There are important differences between corporations and governments. Governmental power is based on consent, corporate power is based on ownership. Managers' power rests on property rights, they have the right to impose whatever conditions they choose on their employees who freely and knowingly contract to work there. Managerial power (unlike governmental power) is limited by the power of unions,

25 25TME 7 Employee Rights (3) Employees can leave firms more easily than citizens can change countries. Safeguards afforded to citizens not easily carried over to employees. Employee rights advocates counter that dispersed ownership means that managers no longer function as agents for the owner of a firm (there is no single owner), so property rights are no longer relevant. Unions do not protect many workers, and changing jobs can be a very difficult and traumatic experience.

26 26TME 7 The Right to Privacy Employees have some certain rights – the right to privacy Because of technical innovations, employees’ right to privacy is under attack. This must be balanced against employers' rights to know certain information about their activities. Three elements are relevant when considering this balance: –Relevance - the employer must limit his inquiry to areas that are directly relevant to the issue at hand. –Consent - employees must be given the opportunity to give or withhold consent before their private lives are investigated and should be informed of any surveillance. –Methods - employers must use ordinary and reasonable methods of inquiry unless circumstances are extraordinary.

27 27TME 7 Freedom of Conscience Workers may think they have freedom of conscience, If they found their firm doing something that harms society, few legal options available if management does nothing Company has legal right to punish employee who informs against the firm with firing or blacklisting. May have a clear violation of an individual's right to freedom of conscience, the law states that employee's duty is to maintain loyalty and confidentiality towards employer

28 28 Whistleblowing Whistle blowing - attempt by employee to disclose wrongdoing in an organization, Take two forms: –Internal - reported only to management within organization. –External - reported to others (such as governmental agencies or the media). Can have heavy personal costs, –justified when there is clear evidence that the firm's activity is seriously harming others –reasonable attempts to prevent it by informing management have failed, –reasonably certain that whistle blowing will prevent the harm –the harm is serious enough to justify the injuries it will bring upon the whistleblower.

29 29TME 7 The Right to Participate and Participatory Management (1) In a democracy, citizens have the right to participate in government to decide by majority after full, free and open discussion. Theorists proposed that such ideals should be embodied in business organizations. 1.they suggest that business decisions should be made only after open discussion with workers. 2.workers should have the right to make decisions about their own immediate work activities. Such models are not generally popular in the U.S.

30 30TME 7 The Right to Participate and Participatory Management (2) Management theorists urged managers urge to adopt participatory leadership style assumed: –employees want responsibility; –can develop the capacity to accept responsibility, –are ready to support organizational goals, can determine the best means of achieving them.

31 31TME 7 The Right to Participate and Participatory Management (3) Following the theory of Douglas McGregor, Raymond Miles distinguishes three models of sets of assumptions that managers can make about employees : 1. Traditional - employees dislike work, are not capable of being creative or self-directed, and care only about what they earn. 2. Human relations - employees want to belong and feel recognized, useful, and important; meeting these needs is more important than what they earn. 3. Human resources - employees like work, want to contribute to meaningful goals that they help establish, and can be creative and responsible.

32 32TME 7 The Right to Participate and Participatory Management (4) Another theorist, Rensis Likert, posits not three but four "systems of organization." –Exploitive Authoritative –Benevolent Authoritative –Consultative –Participative Leadership ranges from absence of trust to complete mutual trust; from no employee involvement to full employee involvement If such management styles are more effective/productive, then on utilitarian grounds firms ought to adopt them. However, research on this issue is not yet conclusive.

33 33TME 7 The Right to Due Process Vs Employment at Will (1) Another democratic right, the right to due process of the law, is countered in business by the principle of employment at will. Employment at Will: employers may dismiss their employees whenever they desire, for good or no cause, even for morally wrong causes. This principle has recently come under attack, and the trend is towards the view that employees have some right to due process, a fair process by which decisions about their employment are made.

34 34TME 7 The Right to Due Process Vs Employment at Will (2) This is a vitally important right, since if it is not respected, the employees have little chance of seeing any other right respected. Due process plays a central role in the hearing of grievances. Theorists identify five essential features of an effective grievance procedure: 1. Three to five steps of appeal 2. A written account of the grievance 3. Alternate routes of appeal beyond the immediate supervisor 4. A time limit for each step 5. Permission for the employee to be accompanied by another

35 35TME 7 Employee Rights and Plant Closings (1) As plant closings become common, the rights of employees need to be considered. Plant closings impose high costs on workers, so when plant closings are inevitable, workers' moral rights should continue to be respected. Utilitarian principles suggest that the harm caused by layoffs should be minimized, which means that the costs of plant closings should be borne by those best able to bear them namely the company.

36 36TME 7 Employee Rights and Plant Closings (2) Considerations of justice further imply that workers and communities should be repaid by the firms not unjustly abandoning pension, health, and retirement plans. Companies that have to close plants can minimize the harm they cause individuals and their communities by giving –advance notice, –severance pay, –health benefits, –early retirement, –transfers, retraining, –and phasing out local taxes.

37 37TME 7 Unions and the Right to Organize (1) Owners have right to establish and run business to achieve their morally legitimate ends, Workers have the right to associate with each other to establish and run unions to achieve their own morally legitimate ends. The worker's right to organize derives from the right to be treated as a free and equal person. Unions have traditionally been justified as an important and legitimate means of balancing the power of large corporations.

38 38TME 7 Unions and the Right to Organize (2) Workers have the right to form unions and to strike as well. Though unions have been important in the establishing of worker rights in the U.S. and around the world, unions represent a dwindling percentage of American workers. Opposition to unions is on the rise, and the use of illegal tactics against them is rising. As the effectiveness of unions shrinks, it is likely that we will need more laws to secure the rights that unions had previously protected.

39 39TME 7 Organizational Politics Organizational politics is defined as the process by which individuals or groups within an organization use non- formally sanctioned tactics (political tactics) to advance their own aims Such aims are not necessarily in conflict with the best interests of the organization. Because organizational politics aim to advance the interests of an individual or group, political individuals tend to be covert, which means that they can easily become deceptive or manipulative.

40 40TME 7 Political Tactics in Organisations Some of the most frequent political tactics encountered in business organizations are: 1. Blaming or attacking others. 2. Controlling information. 3. Developing a base of support for one's ideas. 4. Image building. 5. Ingratiation. 6. Associating with the influential. 7. Forming power coalitions and developing strong allies. 8. Creating obligations.

41 41TME 7 The Ethics of Political Tactics (1) Such behavior can easily become abusive, manipulative, or deceptive, seriously injuring others. It can also be used to advance laudable organizational and social goals, however, sometimes the only defense a person in an organization has is to fight fire with fire. The dilemma is knowing where the line is that separates the moral from the immoral use of political tactics.

42 42TME 7 The Ethics of Political Tactics (2) Perhaps the best way to approach them is to test them against the four standards of ethics: –the utilitarian question (are the goals of the tactics socially beneficial?); –the rights question (do the tactics treat others consistently with their moral rights?); –the justice question (will the tactics lead to an equitable distribution of benefits and burdens?); –the caring question (what impact will the tactics have on the web of relationships within the organization?).

43 43TME 7 The Caring Organization (1) This chapter examined organizations as –hierarchical power relationships or –crisscrossing lines of power. The Caring Organization is a network of connected individuals all concerned with each other. The primary goal of the organization is not profit, but caring for those individuals who make up the organization and with whom the organization interacts Some theorists believe that organizations in such relationships exhibit better performance.

44 44TME 7 The Caring Organization (2) The essential ethical concerns that arise from this model: –The problem of caring too much leading to burnout Conflict is between the needs of others and the needs of self The needs of those for whom we care can demand a response that conflicts with what we may feel we owe others (e.g. caring for a friend who is violating company’s policy) –The problem of not caring enough because of fatigue to live up to the demands of caring self-interest disinterest


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