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Many define business ethics as being social responsible, Investopedia’s definition for social responsibility is the idea that businesses should balance profit-making activities with activities that benefit society. It involves developing businesses with a positive relationship to the society in which they operate. I will be discussing what is considered ethical behavior by business leaders.
And also reasons why it would benefit an organization to behave ethically. Unfortunately for many companies it is difficult to gain the reputation of being ethical. This is due to everyone being held accountable for the actions that they make.
A company could have a clear code of conduct, with instructions to help employees through tough situations they may encounter. They could even require training and schedule discussions about ethical behavior. But even with these in place top managers and lower level employees may still make decisions that would tarnish the organizations image.
Although every member of an organization is responsible for making their own ethical decisions. Leadership can make a huge difference and other employees may follow in their footsteps. These leaders should base their decisions off of values and show character traits such as being trustworthy.
Leaders of good character should also make choices that show integrity, courage, and compassion. This not only will help motivate other employees to follow their lead, but will help establish a good relationship with the community.
Ethical leaders that reflect a good image of a business are the ones that attract and retain the best talents. Keeping a staff that is experienced and good at what they do is one of the major factors to a company’s success. Without the workforce no matter how talented and brilliant the top management is they would not be able to function without the rest of the staff. Ethical leaders should respect the people they work with according to a study from UK Essays 78 percent of employee’s value this trait from management.
All of these factors going in an organization will have a much higher employee retention rate than a similar company with poor leadership. To keep a work environment honest it is up to the leaders to listen to their employees. They should have a system in place for employees to report unethical behavior without fear of punishment. They should then investigate the claims made to the best of their abilities before coming up with a decision. The person making the accusations should remain anonymous and could even be rewarded. These people are known as whistle-blower and in some circumstances they have earned a bad reputation within their own organizations.
But without enforcement of unethical behavior within an organization is just how an organization may become viewed as unethical. Keeping news like this internal can keep the consequences of these unethical decisions down.
Ethics plays an important role in retention of customers, for some consumers the businesses that adopt and practice ethical decisions are the ones they will pick as their place to shop. Failure towards ethical practice can lead towards loss of popularity among consumers, leading towards reduction of revenue and profit. Adherence to ethical behavior can prove beneficial, resulting in customer loyalty, enhancement of brand image. Studies have shown that good corporate citizenship behavior improves overall business performance in terms of competitive advantage, higher revenue generation, and better organization reputation.
Employees of organizations that perform ethical behaviors that take into consideration the consumer, community, and global factors report less stress and dissatisfaction. With less stress they can prove themselves as more productive and efficient. They don’t waste time and energy in internal conflict within their own organization. Making it possible to complete more tasks and objectives and have a higher influence in the market. These ethical factors may not even affect them directly, but they may be happier going about their work if they know that they are not making a negative impact on the environment or their communities.
Although ethics extends beyond that of legal and regulatory restrictions. A business that follows ethical principles will hold themselves socially responsible for their actions. They should set the bar higher than what is expected by them from the government. In doing so they will reduce the frequency of fines placed on them if they do happen to fall short of a certain regulation. Holding themselves accountable and reporting these to a government agencies will also keep them safe from charges such as criminal acts of omission and other charges that would require a higher fine.
Sustainability refers to the ability of ecosystems to remain healthy and productive over time. For some businesses this is a much smaller task than others, such as a small local retail store, or a large company drastically using its natural resources such as an oil manufacturer. Some ways that a company could implement environmentally friendly behavior would be to purchase energy-efficient equipment.
All businesses no matter what size could reduce the amount of energy that they use saving a little bit over time would pay back to costs of new technology eventually. A positive side of environmental business ethics is the creation of new opportunities centered on repairing existing environmental damage. Some of these global considerations that deal with the environment are water quality, green building materials, and greenhouse gasses. Keeping the ecosystem healthy around where a business operates from is not only good for the wildlife, but can guarantee a future use of a resource.
So now that I have discussed some of the benefits from using ethical decision making. I am now going to describe how business leaders can help themselves make ethical decisions. According to Scholarship. Claremont decision making usually has three steps. Description, reflection, and prescription can be used these can be used to formulate a template to help produce successful and ethical results. As I addressed earlier a system of values should act as a basis for the decision-making template.
These values should help in choices made in everyday decisions to suggest a good leadership approach. Since values and beliefs are not facts it can be difficult to know what the right approach should be at times. This is why it is important for a person to understand their own value system. A value system is “an enduring organization of beliefs concerning preferable modes of conduct or end- states of existence along a continuum of relative importance”. A person’s system of values not only affects the decisions that they make.
But also the way that they achieve their desired end. If personal behaviors and personal goals reinforce each other, then the system of values becomes consistent and strong. This is one of the most important parts of ethical leadership. A leaders decisions should be consistent with one another and should build upon each other to form a path towards the end result. In the first step the descriptive task, this begins when the leader first encounters a problem. They should gather as much information as possible in this stage. No matter if they were the ones who discovered the issue or if someone else brought it to their attention.
They should remain neutral in this stage and if they draw opinions it would make it difficult for them to form an accurate analysis on the issue in the next steps. The more information they gather promotes a more accurate and complete solution to the problem. In the second step a leaders ethical beliefs first begin to show. Identifying an ethical dilemma may not be as challenging, as coming up with a solution that will satisfy everyone involved. A leader should reflect on past experiences they or someone else may have encountered. This can gain them some insight and could help in the decision making process. But decisions based solely off of previous acts is not the use of ethics. But more of a rule that states what the answer should be.
A leader should use ethical consideration for specific situations, so the solutions can be unique and reflect their own character. The third step of the decision making model is identifying alternative courses of action. This can be a time consuming process, but it is important not to skip this step even when rushed with time. There can be many solutions to a single problem, and it can be difficult for a person to come up with three or four solutions for a problem. According to Scholarship when brainstorming, people rend to get stuck in the either-or view. In this way of thinking limits the number of solutions because there are only two solutions to a problem.
The more solutions you can come up with will allow you to find the best possible solution. Once you come up with all the possible solutions for the problem. You need to make a list of all the positive and negative consequences for each action. This may require some imagination due to the lack of factual evidence to base it off of. But a good leader should be able to come up with reasonable and probable predictions for each scenario.
Once the pro and cons of each solution are accounted for you will have to compare them to see which one is worth proceeding with. The last step is finding the best solution with a balance between what you as a leader believe you duty is and the consequence obligations. The balance must include both of these because it is not possible to justify your reasoning if you are not content with the results and vice versa. Doing these steps allows you to find the most ethical and effective solution to the problem that you have encountered.
Leadership is one of the most important aspects to the success of a business. And the ethical decisions that a business leader will encounter will make a great impact on the business itself. Their decisions will not only affect themselves and their coworkers, but also the community and the environment. Because not every problem has a right or wrong solution it is important for business leaders to have strong morals and values that help guide them to their decisions.