Example Answers to Questions on Leadership and Ethics
Yes I believe ethical behaviour will pay off in the long run for any business. There are many benefits in ethical measures. There is many challenges in ethical leadership at any level is: Self interests for leaders have to be put aside and priority must be given to mutual and organizational interest.
They have to be true and honest in their behaviour so that others will realize it and support it by the behaviour.
It may not stay good at all as some tough decisions and remedial measures towards others have to be taken. It may also cause hatred for making fun of their ethical practices.
There will be times when leaders will face pressure when they have to decide on things like Benefit versus Ethics.
Leaders should favour what is right obeying and thus be fair to the employees. Thus a lot of planning will be spared, but it may create some opponents.
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Some situations may come where the leaders may feel left alone for their decisions made. These tough times tastes your willpower and devotion to the cause.
One main industry that has skewed the view of ethics is the beauty Industry. It appeals to the pride and esteem of consumers throughout the world. The health care industries make profit along with providing health care to the customers. Although these industries practice ethics, they view ethical behaviors in a seperate way.
Ethics are defined as those standards that compel a person to stop from doing crimes against others such as stealing, assault, fraud etc. This was the definition given by the Markula Center for applied ethics. These standards also support honesty, integrity, concern and loyalty. Ethics are based on the feelings about a particular person. It is not legal to practice because laws are made to protect rights and not manage ethical principles.
Ethics as a practice is somewhat ambiguous as interpretation plays a huge role as to how people see right from wrong. In order to understand the true nature of ethics we must answer the following questions:
1. According to what standards are these actions right or wrong?
2. What character traits are required for a truly human life?
Practicing ethics is more difficult than defining ethics. Microsoft company who's has survived to maintain its position as the software giant is also another company who's ethics has been questioned. Is it the normal competitive spirit of Microsoft to work towards the downfall of its competitor Netscape or is it unethical??The beauty industry also convinces customers that cosmetics and perfumes will make them better and more popular. Is this behavior legal? Yes it is questionable and based on personal interpretation.
The following questions provided by the Markua Center for Applied Ethics helps us to ascertain ethical behavior.
1. Is there something wrong personally or socially?
2. Could conflicts be damaging to people or society?
3. Does the issue go further than legal or concerns?
While these questions help us getting the infor necessary to understand the problem, we also need to know the values.
These questions based on a desired approach tell us if the outcome is ethical when a problem arises. This can be difficult as there is no right or wrong answer.
Benefits of Ethics Behavior
The process could be made easier or difficult by incorporating ethics in the decision.
By getting rid of choices that would not benefit all the involved parties, would make the decision asking process easier. For e.g. A company for instance produces steel wires for construction process. To keep up their demand they need to build larger factories. This is a small operation but complex as it uses dangerous chemicals in finishing of their products.
They find many locations to meet their needs. One is a location that is isolated from residential areas. The other one is located on a river which flows into a lake which is used for other purposes.
The first is cheaper and it would take the employees 30mins for travelling. The second one is closer and less expensive. The management must consider the ethical outcome to the environment to decide where to built.
Ethics can be used in the decision making process that would make it easy to remove this location as an option and help to validate the additional expense and exchange.
How Businesses Uses Ethics
The decision that is good for the people are called ethical decision making. The code of behavior that it provides is the base of all decision making. The decisions are made to help in helping or defending the rights of the people.
Ethical implications could have a positive and negative outcome in the decision making process. If a decision is not made in an ethical manner outcome will be negative but using it will give a positive outcome. It may not benefit the bottom line but will surely benefit the community and company.
When a decision is made without considering ethics the outcome will be negative. For e.g. take the case of a sales person,desperate to make a quota for the sales of a product to the customer. This may be in case even though the customer may not need the product at that time. The customer may even have a feeling that the he might not have their best interest in heart. As a result they may take their business somewhere else. Thus we can see that this type of decision making did not pay off in the long run.
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Taking the positive side, this sale would have increased not only through this customer but also due to referrals due to excellent customer service if he had used ethics in his decision making. Maybe in the first stages the customer may not be that satisfied but in the long run it might overcome the initial turndown.
Thus by using ethics in decision making process make the decisions fairer only that it respects the rights of those parties involved. If a person does not make the decision ethically, the decision will be influenced in the direction of disbelief. Thus in order to make ethical decisions, the decision makers must strive to live in an ethical manner. Not only that they must evaluate their own beliefs.
A Framework For Universal Principles of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved October 4, 2010, from http://www.ethics.ubc.ca/papers/invited/colero.html.
Santa Clara University. (n.d.). Retrieved OCtober 4, 2010, from http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/framework.html.
Question 2 Social Responsibility
Bieng a ethical leader one should be aware of how their decisions might impact others. Thus they need to be peoples oriented. They should serve the society with benevolent interest thus overcoming their self serving mentality. By putting the needs and interests of group before their own, the leaders will be able to motivate their followers. This involves involvement from both the parties towards common goal.
The most important thing in organizational communication is ethical leadership. The decisions taken by the business leaders must be beneficial for the business and people equally. For doing the business the leaders must have clear ethical values. These values must be made known to others in their orbit clearly. Clear and accurate information should be provided in the personal, professional and legal grounds. This will lead one to respect and admire the employees. Thus there will be a peace of mind knowing that you have done right. Else it can lead to mistrust not only at the organizational but also at the social level too. This may lead to an ultimate collapse.
An honest, transparent, and trustworthy culture that helps in achieving lasting positions for leaders and their groups. Mahatma Gandhi was known for this.
Many supporters of restoration of ethical values in the society can be seen. It is considered to be still the most desired and expected behaviour from others. It is tough to stay honest in this world as a larger segment is infected with evil. From the top first the restoration of ethical leadership would have to be introduced. The ethical leaders must be an example for their subjects before they can expect it back from them.
The number of leaders waking up to the reality of social responsibility and organizational ethics is increasing. Public opinion along with other media did reshaping expectations and standards.
Looking into globally, organizational behaviour is becoming more transparent. Injustice is becoming more visible and less acceptable by today's society. Exploitation, negligence, dishonesty and reaction to corporate recklessness is becoming more organised and potent.
The high profile employers and businesses are now recognising that there are solid effects and outcomes driving organizational change. Real incentives are there for the right thing and disincentives for the wrong thing.
There are huge organizational advantages from behaving ethically:
When the best staff want to work for responsible and ethical employers it calls for better staff attraction and retention. The staff leaves when we fail to become good employers. This reduces the likelihood of attracting good new starters. This increases the cost and undermines performance and efficiency. Good organization can't function without good people.
Investments will be less if there is lack of integrity and responsibility as they don't want any association. They know that performance will eventually decline.
Morale staffs who work in socially responsible and globally considerate organization are less prone to stress, attrition and dissatisfaction. Thus they are happier and this makes them more productive. The most common feature in highly successful organization is happy productive people. Stressed staffs are less productive. They need more managing and they take no interest in sorting out the organizations failings when it explodes.
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It takes years and decades to build organizational reputation. Ethical organizations are less prone to scandals and disasters. And in case one occurs, these organizations know very well how to deal with it quickly and honestly. People tend to forgive organizations who tend to do the right thing.
Legal and regulatory reasons: All organizations should be with proper ethical and socially responsible standards. Moreover these standards will be global. In the age of transparency and accountability it makes sense to change before you are forced to.
Legacy: every leader would prefer to be remembered for doing well rather than making a pile of money. It's human nature to be good else humankind would have never survived. Making a pile of money and building an empire are becoming stigmatized.
The ethics and responsibility is changing the lifetime legacy values. This will change the leaders both present and future who now see what a legacy is.
The road to business success is to get things done which depends on those who manage in the middle. This makes us realise the importance of ethical leadership for significant implications for leadership development. Thus the focus should be in producing leaders who are in the middle and have personal ethical competence. This involves being good models to the followers, who can empower others to get the things done such that it promotes harmony and maintain good relationships. Leadership Development thus puts the focus on training ethical leaders right through the organization.
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