In my years of experience as an entrepreneur, I come to the conclusion that a healthy corporate culture is a key to healthy corporate productivity. While culture is the product of shared experience between all members of the organization, ethical leadership has the power to influence those below them. This is my initial thought in my discussion forum post. Robbins and Judge (2017) stated that ethical management influences not only direct subordinates but all the way down the command structure as well. The top management has the power to create an ethical culture and expects lower-level managers to behave along the ethical guidelines.
This is the reason why I always tried to communicate the company’s ethical standards in a clear manner. It can bring a sense of clarity and security to everyone in the company. While every individual has their own moral belief, it does not necessarily provide them clear boundaries on ethical behavior the company requires. For example, it’s necessary to emphasize that employees should not accept gifts from clients, or that employees should understand the company’s waste management policy and follow it. We can not expect people to willingly and voluntarily understand and follow the company’s policies.
Research also found that ethical management can reduce interpersonal conflicts between members of the organization (Robbins & Judge, 2017). It promotes a healthy organizational culture that will then promote healthy corporate productivity. Protecting and promoting the organization’s culture is one of the job responsibilities of a manager (Brusseau, 2012).
Top management should also incorporate sustainability issues into the ethical discussion. For instance, leaders should have a sharp awareness that the company’s operation will result in some form of waste. They should have waste management in place for every form of waste and promote ethical behavior for every employee on what should they behave regarding their waste or the waste generated in the execution of their tasks.
Management can also implement a visible reward and punishment system to encourage ethical behavior related to the sustainability issue. In my previous tour company, every tour leader will be rewarded when they bring all the garbage generated on their tour for recycling. They are also pushed to provide a concise explanation of sustainable tourism issues to every participant of the tour. This kind of initiative should be formalized by the top management of the company.
In the previous article, I mentioned that the organizational climate also includes the shared perception of the company’s sustainability efforts and commitment. Leaders should express the ethical standard and the company’s policy regarding sustainability issues. They should also create a safe and secure environment where anyone in the organization can discuss, criticize, and propose an idea about every ethical discussion, including sustainability issues.
However, any formalized ethical discourse in the company will lose its weight if the leaders failed to demonstrate ethical behavior. Weak and unethical leaders will not be able to bring employee values in line with the company values. On the contrary, charismatic leaders will be able to influence the employees’ values in line with their values through their words and actions. It is indeed, the role of the leader in creating ethical expectations for all members is crucial (Robbins & Judge, 2017).
In the case of self-employed individuals, their moral compass should be the primary driver for ethical behavior. Government can also impose laws, when it is considered necessary, to regulate these self-employed individuals or their particular profession. When I was doing a part-time tour guide job years ago, there are already regulations to protect the profession as well as the client. There is also regulation about some certifications that I need to obtain. These certifications are meant to ensure that anyone who is going to do the job has the underlying skills and ethical understanding of the field.
Ethical management is the main force to ensure the proper ethical behavior of the people within the company. The management will not only set the rule, but also provide examples and ensure that ethical behavior is expected, while unethical behavior is unacceptable.
References Brusseau J. (2012). Business Ethics. Retrieved from: http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/business-ethics/index.html Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2017). Organizational Behavior, Global Edition (17th ed.). Pearson.