This chapter explores a variety of factors that influence whether a person decides to behave ethically or unethically, beginning with how ethical intentions are formed quickly, initially defended, and then may be revised through a rational ethical decision-making process.
The first part of this chapter helps managers understand factors that shape ethical intuitions, intentions, and behaviors.
The second part summarizes two common ethical decision-making frameworks and then offers a systemic seven-question rational ethical decision-making framework grounded in moral philosophy. The framework enables employees to independently derive a moral answer to ethical dilemmas. A process for persuading people who approach a decision from a different ethical perspective and warning signs that an unethical situation is arising are also provided.
After completing this chapter, students should be able to:
Belief: a mental state that guides behaviors.
Categorical imperative: a rule that applies to all situations.
Cultural Relativism: How does the action relate to the national culture, particularly its laws? If the action conforms to the law, then it is right. If it is contrary to the law, then it is wrong.
Deontology: Does the action treat every stakeholder with respect and dignity in all situations? Is the action something that everyone should do? If yes, then it is right. If no, then it is wrong.
Egoism: How does the action relate to me? If the action furthers my interests, then it is right. If it conflicts with my interests, then it is wrong.
Ethical intuition: a quick insight independent of any reasoning process about right and wrong.
Ethical intention: determining mentally to take some action that is morally appropriate.
Ethical sensitivity: an individual’s awareness that a particular situation raises ethical concerns.
Moral intensity: six issue-related factors that are likely to determine the magnitude of a person’s moral approval or disapproval.
Social Group Relativism: How does the action relate to my social group (peers, friends, etc.)? If the action conforms to the social group’s norms, then it is right. If it is contrary to the social group’s norms, then it is wrong.
Theory of Planned Behavior: A theory developed by Icek Ajzen where formulating an intention to act ethically is a function of a person’s attitudes toward the behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control.
Utilitarianism: How does the action relate to everyone who is affected by it? If the action is beneficial to the greatest number of people affected by it, then it is right. If it is detrimental to the greatest number, then it is wrong.
Virtue Ethics: How would a virtuous person act in this situation? If the act strengthens moral character, then it is right. If it is contrary to moral character building, then it is wrong.
DESCRIBE JAMES REST’S ETHICAL DECISION MAKING MODEL.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ETHICAL BELIEFS AND ETHICAL ACTION?
As noted by business ethicist Marvin Brown, “Most people do what they think is right, considering the world they think they live in.”
Managers need to understand the complexity of decision-making influences and processes that an individual goes through when deciding whether to engage in an ethical or unethical behavior.
JAMES REST’S MODEL
James Rest, an educational psychologist, has developed a 4-component model sequentially showing that an individual is likely to behave morally if:
(1) he or she is aware that an ethical dilemma has arisen,
(2) forms a moral judgment,
(3) develops motivation to do something about it, and
(4) is a person of high moral character.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ETHICAL BELIEFS AND ETHICAL ACTIONS
- In general, ethical beliefs generate ethical intentions and result in ethical behaviors. But there is typically a drop off going from one step to the next.
- Many people may agree on what ethical action “should” be done, but fewer people “would” actually do the right thing, and even fewer actually “did” what they think they should or would do.
- Many people believe that stealing is wrong. But then obstacles arise that prevent employees from taking action to stop this unethical behavior.
- Research has shown that a large percentage of managers who claim they would report a cheater did not follow up on the ethical intention.
WHAT INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERISTICS IMPACT ETHICAL BELIEFS, SENSITIVITIES, INTENTIONS, AND BEHAVIORS?
Review the research findings for individual characteristics that have a positive impact on ethical decision making
HOW ARE ETHICAL INTUITIONS FORMED?
HOW DO THE VALUE SETS OF LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES DIFFER?
ETHICAL BELIEFS AND SENSTIVITIES
- A belief is a mental state that guides behaviors.
- Ethical sensitivity refers to an individual’s awareness that a particular situation raises ethical concerns.
- Ethical sensitivities are essential because they impact behavior and the lives of other people.
- Becoming more aware of how others interpret or experience our decisions and behaviors expands a person’s ethical sensitivities.
- Being sensitive to the ethical dynamics of a situation is an essential step in forming ethical intentions and ultimately ethical behaviors. People cannot intend to behave ethically if they do not think there is an ethical issue at stake.
- Ethical intuition is a quick insight independent of any reasoning process about right and wrong. Ambiguous situations, where there is high uncertainty regarding people’s motivations or the consequences of their actions, also tap into the decision-maker’s intuition.
- Professor Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia concludes that many ethical decisions are the result of intuitive reactions rather than deep reflection. These gut reactions flow out of a person’s deeply embedded value system.
- According to Haidt, our quick intuitive ethical judgments are the result of habituated patterns, emotions, and internalized teachings.
LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES ETHICAL INTUITIONS
- Haidt and his colleagues researched the apparent large difference in ethical intuitions liberals and conservatives have to public policy issues.
- Review the ethical intuition value sets for liberals and conservatives.
- This does not mean liberals and conservatives ignore the other political group’s values. They just care more about their own political group’s values.
DESCRIBE ICEK AJZEN’S “THEORY OF PLANNED BEHAVIOR”
According to Icek Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior, formulating an intention to act ethically is a function of a person’s:
Each of the three factors has two dimensions. The factor dimensions are explained below in terms of whether a person should prevent a co-worker from stealing:
- Attitude toward the behavior dimensions:
- Subjective norms dimensions:
- Perceived behavioral control dimensions:
The theory of planned behavior is very useful for understanding precursors to ethical behavior. Employees will behave ethically if the desired behavior fits their belief system, they personally have a strong desire to behave ethically, others at work desire the ethical behavior, and the employee has the ability and resources available to follow through on the ethical behavior. If any of these factors is weak, ethical intentions become weak and the desired ethical behavior does not happen.
WHAT IS MORAL INTENSITY AND HOW DOES IT IMPACT ETHICAL DECISION MAKING?
Moral intensity refers to issue-related factors, rather than individual or organizational factors, that are likely to determine the magnitude of a person’s moral approval or disapproval.
Factors that influence the decision-making of judges and juries include the nature of the harm (physical, economic, or psychological), the nature of those harmed (person or nonperson), and the stage of the organization’s resource transformation at which the harm occurs (during the input stage, throughput state, or output stage).
The legal system holds managers most blameworthy for physical harms to people. Less blameworthy are psychological harms to people and physical harms to animals.
MORAL INTENSITY FACTORS
An issue’s moral intensity is likely to vary based on six factors:
Therefore, the most morally intense acts are those with a high likelihood of causing severe harm to many people in a short period of time within a close and concentrated area, and where there is strong social consensus that the act is wrong. If such an act occurs, the manager and organization face public outrage and strong legal condemnation.
WHAT ORGANIZATIONAL FACTORS IMPACT ETHICAL DECISION MAKING?
Ethical intentions and behaviors are also shaped by organizational factors. Researchers have found 4 organizational characteristics associated with ethical behaviors:
- Codes of Ethics: The existence of a code of ethics is positively related to ethical decision-making.
- Ethical Climate/Culture: Ethical climates and culture have a positive influence on ethical decision-making.
- Organization Size: Smaller organizations have a tendency to make better ethical decisions.
- Rewards and Sanctions: Organizations that reward ethical behaviors and punish unethical behaviors have a positive impact on ethical decision-making.
Therefore, employees of organizations with a code of ethics, an ethical climate, and whose managers reward ethical behavior and punish unethical behaviors, are more likely to make better ethical decisions.
WHAT OTHER OBSTACLES DIVERT PEOPLE FROM FOLLOWING THROUGH ON THEIR ETHICAL INTENTIONS?
An ethical intention is determining mentally to take some action that is morally appropriate. But even if an intention to act ethically is solidified, an individual still may not follow through on the ethical intention.
Second doubts can arise and the decision-maker may reanalyze the importance or anticipated outcomes of some of the previous mediating factors between ethical beliefs and intentions.
WEAKNESS OF WILL OR LACK OF MORAL COURAGE
A weakness of will or lack of moral courage may also dilute the initial ethical intention. People are particularly prone to weakness of will when the moral duty to act is weak. Confronting a co-worker about stealing may require too much effort to for the individual stepping out of his or her comfort zone.
BREAKING OLD HABITS
Breaking old habits can be formidable. An employee who has never spoken out against unethical behaviors at work may initially intend to change that habit after observing the co-worker’s theft. But then the usual list of fears arise and it is easier for the employee to respond as he or she always has, which is to remain quiet and let someone else do something about it.
WHAT 7 QUESTIONS ARE THE BASES FOR A SYSTEMATIC RATIONAL ETHICAL DECISION MAKING FRAMEWORK?
WHAT 3 QUESTIONS POINT THE DECISION MAKER IN THE DIRECTION OF THE MOST MORAL DECISION?
Rational ethical decision-making frameworks help individuals analyze the ethical basis of their decisions and actions. The simplest question to ask is: How would my mother (or any person of high integrity you respect) feel if what I’m planning to do appeared on the front page of a newspaper?
ROTARY INTERNATIONAL’S FOUR-WAY TEST
The Rotary International’s “Four-Way Test” provides a simple framework for analyzing the ethical dimension of a decision.
Of the things we think, say, or do:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
RAYTHEON’S ETHICS QUICK TEST
Raytheon, a defense industry technology company, provides its 75,000 employees with an Ethics Quick Test consisting of the following questions to consider when facing an ethical dilemma:
Review BEST PRACTICE IN USE, Raytheon’s ACTION decision-making model
SYSTEMATIC RATIONAL ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING FRAMEWORK
- The Rotary’s Four-Way Test and Raytheon’s Ethics Quick Test and ACTION model are very helpful lists of questions. But they are not philosophically systematic.
- The moral philosophy literature provides a more systematic approach for deriving moral conclusions.
- Ethical reasoning is just like any other managerial problem-solving process. When confronting a problem, managers typically list the available options, prioritize them, and determine which alternative makes the most sense. The same decision-making process can be applied to ethical analysis.
- Strong consensus, though not absolute agreement, exists among philosophers that some ethical reasons are more morally acceptable than others. For example, it has been long established that the Golden Rule “do to others as you would want done to you” takes precedence over an individual’s self-interests when these two ethical theories are in conflict, although some hard-core libertarians might object.
- Review the systematic rational ethical decision-making framework that can help management and nonmanagement employees reveal the ethical dimension of any decision being made. A similar ranking of the ethical principles can be found in many cultures.
Answer Questions 1 through 7 to gather the information necessary for performing an ethical analysis. Based on this information, develop a decision that has the strongest ethical basis.
- If answers to Questions 2 through 7 are all “yes,” then do it.
- If answers to Questions 2 through 7 are all “no,” then do not do it.
- If answers to Questions 2 through 7 are mixed, then modify your decision.
The answers to questions 5, 6, and 7 point managers in the direction of the most moral decision. Doing something because the action is to the greatest good of the greatest number of people affected by it, treats all stakeholders with respect and integrity, and is something a virtuous person would do provides a tremendous amount of moral certitude. This is how we hope our leaders behave. But if that action might also result in the decision-maker being fired (Question 2), more reflection might be needed to determine how to do what is right without being fired.
Note how the “legal” answer is not the highest ethical theory (Question 4). Laws are not created out of thin air, they are justified by concerns about the greatest good for the greatest number, respect for everyone, and virtuous behavior. Laws that fail to meet these three fundamental ethical concerns are usually an issue of public and political concern, debated, and sometimes changed.
DESCRIBE THE 6 ETHICAL THEORIES
The six ethical theories are ordered beginning with the most basic ethical theory (egoism) and ending with the most important and demanding ones (deontology and virtue ethics).
View these six ethical theories as sequential steps on a moral ladder, and the first step is egoism.
How does the action relate to me? If the action furthers my interests, then it is right. If it conflicts with my interests, then it is wrong.
- Egoists tend to reason as follows: “I strongly believe that x is the best decision, because that is my personal preference.”
- People naturally make decisions based on self-interest (concern for self in relation to others).
- Ayn Rand’s novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are among the most engaging articulations of the importance of egoism. In both novels, individual liberty and self-interest matter a great deal. According to Rand, the best thing for the common good is to become an individual of high integrity willing to pursue one’s self-interests at all costs.
- Social group relativists tend to reason as follows: “I strongly believe that x is the best decision, because that is what my social group supports.”
- Social group relativists are very concerned about what their social group thinks about an issue because they share common interests.
- Social group relativism is a common ethical theory. Managers usually feel a strong affinity for the interests of other managers. When problems arise, a manager might ask other managers what they have done in the past when faced with a similar problem. The decision-maker wants to do what a good manager would do in the particular situation.
How does the action relate to the national culture, particularly its laws? If the action conforms to the law, then it is right. If it is contrary to the law, then it is wrong.
- Cultural relativists tend to reason as follows: “I strongly believe that x is the right thing to do, because the law says so.”
- The person perceives herself or himself as a member of a larger society that has some common interests. A common saying among cultural relativists is “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” This demonstrates tolerance and respect for the practices and policies of the host nation or community.
- Cultural relativism is also a rather common ethical theory. Many managers do not want to break the law, even when doing so might personally benefit them or their company.
How does the action relate to everyone who is affected by it? If the action is beneficial to the greatest number of people affected by it, then it is right. If it is detrimental to the greatest number, then it is wrong.
- Utilitarians tend to reason as follows: “I strongly believe that x is the best decision, because the consequences benefit the greatest number of people.”
- Utilitarianism serves as the foundational ethic for the political, economic, and business systems in the United States.
Does the action treat every stakeholder with respect and dignity in all situations? Is the action something that everyone should do? If yes, then it is right. If no, then it is wrong.
- Deontologists tend to reason as follows: “I strongly believe that x is the best decision, because everyone has a duty to treat everyone else with respect in all situations.”
- Deontologists emphasize the motives behind an action and individual rights, rather than the consequences. They have a duty to follow “moral rules” applicable to all people in all situations, such as the Ten Commandments.
- The philosopher Immanuel Kant prevents this faulty reasoning based on a categorical imperative, which is a rule that applies to all situations. Kant’s primary categorical imperative maintains that one must: “Act according to the maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” In other words, what would happen if everyone did what you were planning to do?
How would a virtuous person act in this situation? If the act strengthens moral character, then it is right. If it is contrary to moral character building, then it is wrong.
- Virtue ethicists tend to reason as follows: “I strongly believe that x is the best decision, because that is what a person of high moral character would do.”
- Virtue refers to achieving excellence in morals. The list of virtues is quite extensive. The most common grouping of virtues includes justice, empathy, passion, piety, reliability, respect, and incorruptibility.
- Virtue ethics is based on cultivating good habits. Humans are creatures of habit. Kindness and fairness must be practiced daily to become virtuous habits. A person becomes kind and fair by being kind and fair.
- Review the list of virtues and vices.
- Review the five values Rushworth Kidder and his colleagues have found strong global consensus: Responsibility, Fairness, Respect, Compassion, and Honesty
HOW DO THE ETHICAL THEORIES PARALLEL KOHLBERG’S THEORY OF MORAL DEVELOPMENT?
The six ethical theories parallel Lawrence Kohlberg’s six levels of moral reasoning discussed in Chapter 1 which show that:
HOW CAN THE ETHICAL THEORIES BE APPLIED TO PERSUADE PEOPLE?
- Most managers are primarily social group relativists (Question 3), wanting to do what a good manager would do, and cultural relativists (Question 4) who want to obey the law. But some managers are primarily egoists (Question 2), utilitarians (Question 5), deontologists (Question 6), or virtue ethicists (Question 7). Their ethical intuition is grounded in one of these six theories.
- Most people are very comfortable with the ethical theory they intuitively rely on, and may feel annoyed when others question their decisions.
- When ethical conflicts arise in organizations, the person with higher status tends to get his or her way. This conflict resolution approach assumes that the higher status person is applying the higher ethical theory, an assumption that has been proven false innumerable times.
- A manager’s failure to engage employees who apply different ethical theories can damage employee morale and result in unethical behaviors and lawsuits.
- A healthier approach is for a manager to listen carefully to people who disagree, categorize the other person’s response in terms of one of the six ethical theories, and then reframe the analysis using the other person’s ethical theory to address the employee’s concern.
- Each ethical theory is similar to a different foreign language.
ACHIEVING ETHICAL CONSENSUS
Review TIPS AND TECHNIQUES.
Many ethical disagreements can be solved. Use the following steps to help people achieve ethical consensus and win-win ethical outcomes.
Step 1: Both parties state their position on the issue.
Step 2: Both parties reveal the values and ethical reasoning that underlie their position.
Step 3: Both parties paraphrase each other’s position.
Step 4: Both parties paraphrase each other’s underlying values and ethical reasoning.
Step 5: Both parties, working together, craft a resolution to the conflict over the issue.
Step 6: Both parties check that the resolution does not conflict with their own values or ethical reasoning, or those of the other party.
DISCUSS SOME OF THE WARNING SIGNS THAT AN UNETHICAL DECISION IS APPROACHING.
Review Michael Josephson’s 10 common rationalizations for unethical acts as “ethical hazard approaching” signs.
Beware when someone says:
Train employees to recognize these rationalizations. When spoken pause for additional ethical reflection and develop an alternative strategy that meets ethical guidelines.
Best Place to Work Video – Stew Leonard’s
Business Ethics Issue Video
Moral Roots of Liberals and Conservatives: Psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we're left, right or center, and pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most; March 2008, 19 minutes
Justice and Ethical Decision-Making: Harvard professor Michael Sandel probes: Is torture ever justified? Would you steal a drug that your child needs to survive? Is it sometimes wrong to tell the truth? How much is one human life worth?; September 2005, 55 minutes
Conversations with Charlie Rose
A conversation with David Brooks, New York Times columnist and author, about the unconscious mind, emotions, decision-making, and social behaviors; September 16, 2010, 60 minutes
A conversation with Jeff Bezos, founder, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Amazon.com; February 26, 2009, 60 minutes
Individuals are more likely to discuss work-related ethical issues with family and friends than co-workers or executives. A managerial challenge is to design workshops where employees can discuss ethical issues at work. Ethics training can initiate dialogue around contentious ethical issues. A well-facilitated ethics training workshop has greater impact on employee behaviors than the presence of an ethics code or memos from the boss. Researchers report that people employed in organizations with formalized ethics training have more positive perceptions about their organization’s ethics and greater job satisfaction.
This chapter emphasizes the importance of creating a culture of trust, reviews the extent of ethics training nationwide, recommends ethics training for everyone in the organization, highlights providing web-based and facilitator-guided ethics training programs, and examines choosing the workshop facilitator. Ten different types of ethics training workshops are presented.
After completing this chapter, students should be able to:
Assessment: a systemic collection, review and use of information to determine workshop effectiveness.
Embezzlement: a particular type of theft and fraud where an employee steals money from his or her employer.
Fraud: the use of one's occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse or misapplication of the employing organization's resources or asset.
Organizational trust: having a positive attitude that another member of the organization will be fair and not take advantage of one’s vulnerability or dependency in a risky situation.
Theft: taking someone’s property without their permission.
Web-based training: software program that provides standardized information about legal requirements and moral expectations.
WHY IS ORGANIZATIONAL TRUST SO IMPORTANT?
WHAT IS TRUST?
- Ethics training helps to create a culture of trust at work.
- Organizational trust refers to having a positive attitude that another member of the organization will be fair and not take advantage of one’s vulnerability or dependency in a risky situation.
- Trust has a cognitive dimension.
- Trust also has an emotional dimension.
BENEFITS OF TRUST
- According to the management theorist W. Edwards Deming, “Trust is mandatory for optimization of a system... Without trust, each component will protect its own immediate interests to its own long-term detriment, and to the detriment of the entire system.”
- Trust eliminates psychological barriers separating employers and employees. The other person’s goodwill and reliability are assumed in a trusting relationship, which allows for greater flexibility to respond as needed without burdensome oversight or approval process.
- Trust creates economic benefits through enhanced individual and organizational performance. Trusting and cooperative relationships play a critical role in effective communications and teamwork, which impacts employee commitment, employee loyalty, productivity, and profits.
- Ethical organizations, which have high levels of trust, attract and sustain high quality employees, customers, and suppliers. They also have low levels of office politics and employee cynicism. Ethical work cultures lead to greater accountability through clearly defined standards and shared expectations. The two-way communication reinforces policy compliance and reduces organizational risks.
- Hard-earned trust can quickly disappear when violated and hamper organizational performance.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND ETHICS TRAINING WORKSHOPS?
EXTENT OF ETHICS TRAINING
- A 2004 survey of publicly traded companies found that 68 percent provided ethics training.
- More than 80 percent of city governments provide ethics training for employees.
- Members of some professions are required to take ethics training as part of obtaining or renewing their professional license to protect the public from incompetent practitioners.
- Many states mandate that continuing education courses for licensed accountants and lawyers include an ethics component.
- Organizations may be tempted to eliminate ethics training as an extraneous expense when budgets are tight, but this is exactly when ethics training is needed most.
- Employees who tend toward the relativistic belief that cutting ethical corners may be necessary to “save the organization” might sound heroic in the short-term, but these actions can come back to haunt the organization in the long-term.
WHO TO TRAIN
- Conduct ethics training throughout the organization.
- All employees, ranging from the CEO and Board of Directors to the janitor, experience ethical dilemmas on a daily basis.
- Ethics training can help organizational leaders achieve consensus on how to address difficult situations they encounter and how they will hold other employees accountable for their behaviors.
- Middle managers and supervisors deserve special attention for ethics training. Direct supervisors have the most immediate impact on the ethics of subordinates.
- New employees need ethics training; making ethics training part of a new employee’s orientation process demonstrates from the outset the importance of ethics to the organization.
- Conduct a follow-up session six months later to reinforce the crucial role of ethics and explore ethical issues they have experienced at work up to that point.
- Long-term employees significantly shape the organization’s ethical tone. One long-term employee’s denigrating comments about the organization’s ethical efforts can undo all the managerial effort at aligning a new employee with the organization’s ethics.
- Train long-term employees to lead ethics training workshops and share stories about how the organization’s code of ethics was upheld in difficult situations.
WHAT ARE THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF WEB-BASED ETHICS TRAINING?
- According to one survey, companies conduct more than 90 percent of their ethics training through e-learning programs.
- All new hires at Coors Brewing Company must complete a web-based training module within 90 days of employment.
- In Illinois, all state employees are required to do web-based ethics training annually.
- Online ethics training programs are easy to implement at minimal cost.
- Web-based training offers a simple method for making employees aware of the most common ethical issues. Software programs provide standardized information about legal requirements and moral expectations.
- The information can be studied at a pace that matches the employee’s learning style.
- Question and answer test formats provide immediate feedback on the knowledge being learned.
- At EnPro, an industrial products company, employees retake the computerized ethics training program until achieving a perfect score.
- Ethics training requires dialogue. The best response to even the most cut-and-dried ethical dilemma can be highly debatable.
- Web-based training by itself does not address all the nuances and contextual issues associated with ethical dilemmas.
- Employees are not pushed out of their ethics comfort zone.
- Complement web-based ethics training programs with facilitator-guided face-to-face interactions and group activities.
- Skilled facilitators can guide the discussion to other relevant issues worthy of exploration, point out contradictions, and call on quiet participants to express their views in a safe learning environment.
- Interactive training workshops can also enhance team building and collegiality.
HOW WOULD YOU DESIGN AN ETHICS TRAINING PROGRAM?
WHO SHOULD SERVE AS FACILITATOR?
- Some organizations do not provide ethics training workshops because they believe it suggests that their employees are unethical or that the organization has ethical problems. This obstacle can be avoided by recognizing that every person is morally imperfect and that every organization has ethical risks.
- Present the ethics training in the spirit of ongoing continuous improvement efforts and part of a systematic effort to reinforce the organization’s ethical culture.
- There is no “one-size-fits-all” ethics training program, yet there are general trends and best practices found among organizations.
- Offer at least one mandatory ethics training annually. Researchers report that the frequency of training has positive impacts on employee attitudes and behaviors.
- If attendance is voluntary, the employees who need the training the most may not attend.
ETHICS TRAINING PROGRAM DESIGN
- Some organizations only want to sponsor one ethics training workshop a year. If this is the case, first consider conducting the “Code of Ethics Employee Assessment”
- Some organizations might find the approach too challenging to undertake for its first ethics training workshop because of the many issues that may be raised.
- A more moderate initial ethics training workshop for addressing an important issue during a 90-minute session.
- Workshop relevancy can be created at the beginning of the workshop with a short quiz about a complex issue – such as what the code of conduct says about conflicts-of-interest – and the results can serve as benchmark data to measure achieving workshop learning objectives.
- Make the ethics training program content as specific as possible. Target specific behaviors and provide specific examples, but present the material in general terms so as not to offend any specific employee.
- Use cases that are relevant to the greatest number of participants. Ask participants how they would respond to the situation, and have them discuss their answers in small groups.
- Praise divergent thinking and creative problem-solving, but make sure the suggestions are ethically sound.
- Train participants on how to respond when these particular situations arise in the future.
- Facilitating an ethics discussion takes a particular skill.
- A good facilitator inspires self-learning among the participants by keeping everyone focused on the main issues while being flexible to new issues as they arise.
- The facilitator can encourage participants to form opinions, analyze and modify their own views, and engage in civil disagreements without offending people holding the opposing view or stifling discussion.
- An ideal workshop facilitator is someone the participants trust and has the requisite skills to create a safe learning environment.
- Initially consider a human resources department staff person. But some employees will not speak honestly in front of a human resources employee, particularly about ethical issues, because they fear that their comments might have a negative impact on performance evaluations and lead to termination.
- If this is the case, assign the facilitator role to someone both the direct supervisor and employees trust.
- Possibilities include an informal leader from within the work unit, someone everyone respects who works in another department, or an outside consultant.
- The best option may be to train an informal leader from within the work unit who has management potential. This person already has a sense of key ethical issues and can ensure that the discussion is realistic and relevant.
DESCRIBE 10 TYPES OF ETHICS TRAINING WORKSHOP OPTIONS.
WHICH OF THESE WORKSHOP OPTIONS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Review the summary of ten very useful ethics training workshop options.
WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDED 6 STEPS FOR FACILITATING AN ETHICS DIALOGUE WORKSHOP?
Review the six-step facilitation process, which is aimed at maximizing interactive dialogue.
Step 1: Distribute the 7-Question Systematic Rational Ethical Decision-Making Framework and review it using a sample business problem.
Step 2: Distribute a real-life situation to workshop participants, read it out loud, and have participants apply the Systematic Rational Ethical Decision-Making Framework to derive a moral conclusion that supports one of the decision options.
Step 3: Count the votes for each recommendation.
Step 4: Develop position rationale in small groups.
Step 5: Empower the minority position.
Step 6: Reach a conclusion.
Review TIPS AND TECHNIQUES about requiring written responses to ethical dilemmas
- Commits the person to a particular decision option
- Prevents employees from changing their decision based on how others vote
- Provides the facilitator with a hook to involve a quiet participant (“Could you please read your written answer to the workshop?”)
- Establishes an initial data point that can be compared to an employee’s belief at the end of the workshop
- The business ethics literature and Internet websites have many vignettes participants can examine.
WHICH PERSONALITY SURVEYS CAN EMPLOYEES TAKE TO GAIN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF ETHICS AT WORK?
PERSONALITY MEASURES AND ETHICS
Several personality measures are associated with ethics.
- Moral identity scores are related to prosocial behaviors at work
- Expedient ethical ideology scores are related to antisocial activities.
- People with a strong internal, compared to external, locus of control exhibit more ethical behavior and are better able to resist coercion, thus less susceptible to pressure from unethical bullies.
PERSONALITY MEASURE EXAMPLES
- Idealism/Relativism measures whether a person tends to be an “idealist” or “relativist” when responding to an ethical dilemma. The 20-item survey consists of two 10-item factors (idealism and relativism).
- Ethical Ideology measures whether a person tends to be “principled” (deontology) or “expedient” (relativism) when responding to an ethical dilemma. An 18-item survey.
- Moral Identity measures whether a person internalizes moral character traits (internationalization) and projects them to others (symbolization). Survey participants read a list of 9 moral character traits (e.g., caring, compassionate, fair) and then answer a 10-item survey consisting of two 5-item factors (internalization and symbolization).
- Moral Courage measures whether a person exercises moral principles. The 15-item survey consists of five 3-item factors (moral agency, multiple values, endurance of threats, going beyond compliance, and moral goals).
- Empathy measures a person’s emotional reaction to the experiences of another person. The 28-item survey consists of four 7-item factors (perspective-taking, emphatic concern, personal distress, fantasy).
- Altruism measures whether a person engages in altruistic behaviors. Survey participants evaluate the extent to which they have performed a list of 20 behaviors.
- Trust measures whether a person is willing to be vulnerable in supervisor interactions. A 7-item survey.
- Ethical Self-Efficacy measures whether a person believes he or she can successfully perform an ethical behavior. A 12-item survey consists of three factors (uses and keeps computer self-efficacy, distribution self-efficacy, and persuasion self-efficacy).
- Machiavellianism measures whether a person identifies with “the ends justify the means” moral thinking. A 20-item survey.
- Locus of Control measures whether a person believes she or he controls (internal), or is controled by (extenal), events in life. The 30-item survey consists of two 15-item factors (internal and external locus of control).
- Life Regard measures whether a person values living a meaningful life (framework) and whether this desire is being fulfilled (fulfillment). The 28-item survey consists of two 14-item factors (framework and fulfillment).
HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS THE SUCCESS OF AN ETHICS TRAINING WORKSHOP?
- Similar to all types of workplace training, managers need to assess the effectiveness of ethics training workshops.
- Assessment is a systemic collection, review and use of information to determine workshop effectiveness.
- There primary purposes of assessment are
(1) evaluating if the ethics training workshop material presented has been learned by the participants
(2) evaluating if the workshop participant’s objectives have been met, and based on this information
(3) providing more effective instruction in the future by building on what worked previously and modifying what didn’t work.
- In the spirit of continuous improvement, assess the training session at its conclusion to determine if workshop goals and objectives were accomplished.
- Keep the assessment tool simple and short for employees and the facilitator.
- Below are questions that could be asked following a variety of ethics training sessions.
- If important content has been supplied, have participants complete a follow-up test several weeks after the workshop to determine information retention.
- Follow-up interviews with the participants and their supervisors can also verify that new skills are being applied.
- Some workshop topics lend themselves to return-on-investment calculations.
Ethical Dilemmas for Training
- Institute for Global Ethics, Ethical Dilemmas
- Thomsett International, “Crossing the Line” vignettes
Government Ethics Training
- U.S. Department of Defense, “Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure”
Moral Development - Center for the Student of Ethical Development
Business Ethics Issue Video
- Difficult Negotiations: William Ury, author of Getting to Yes, offers a way to create agreement in even the most difficult situations -- from family conflict to, perhaps, the Middle East; October 2010, 19 minutes
- Democracy and Public Policy Debates: Democracy thrives on civil debate, Michael Sandel says, and leads a debate over a Supreme Court case (PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin) whose outcome reveals the critical ingredient in justice; February 2010, 20 minutes
Conversations with Charlie Rose
- A conversation with James Wolfensohn about the World Bank, the future of the world economy and what it means to lead a global life; December 22, 2010, 20 minutes
- A conversation with John Wood author of 'Leaving Microsoft to Change the World'; December 9, 2010, 15 minutes
This chapter provides a brief history of population diversity in the United States. Harmful discriminatory employment practices and behaviors led to the need for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Title VII defines, and the EEOC monitors, illegal types of workplace discrimination.
There are many competitive advantages of appropriately managing diversity. The chapter examines the most common types of workplace discrimination and the best operational practices for enhancing and managing diversity, including a 10-step process for implementing a diversity initiative. Diversity training problems and solutions are examined, and instructions offered for conducting a series of diversity training workshops that increase social group self-awareness, explore specific issues, and help employees manage different communication styles.
After completing this chapter, students should be able to:
Age Discrimination in Employment Act: prohibits dismissing, or not promoting, anyone age 40 or older because the individual is considered “too old” for the job.
Americans with Disabilities Act: prohibits discrimination against a qualified workers with a physical or mental disability who can perform the job task with or without reasonable accommodation.
Dominant group: refers to the diverse characteristic that is held in common by a large number of employees, typically Caucasian males.
Employment at-will doctrine: allows employers and employees to end an employment relationship for any reason, or “at will,” so long as it does not violate contractual agreements or federal, state, and municipal laws.
Employment Non-Discrimination Act: federal legislation under consideration to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from job discrimination.
Equal Pay Act: prohibits pay discrimination based solely on gender considerations; men and women receive equal pay for equal work.
Fairness: refers to making decisions according to rules not based on personal biases.
Family and Medical Leave Act: ensures a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period, and the continuation of health care and other fringe benefits during this period, for: (1) the care of a newborn baby, a newly adopted child, or a new foster child, (2) the care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or (3) an employee’s serious health condition.
Glass ceiling: refers to situations in which the hierarchical advancement of a qualified woman or minority group member is prematurely stopped at a lower level because of gender, racial, or ethnic discrimination.
Harassment: unwelcome conduct that is based on protected class status from a supervisor, coworker, or nonemployee, such as a customer or supplier.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act: protects the civil rights of pregnant women and ensures that women experiencing pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions would be treated the same as an employee with an illness or temporary disability.
Respect for others: refers to treating everyone with dignity.
Reverse discrimination: refers to discriminating against a dominant or majority group member, such as Caucasian males, in favor of a historically disadvantaged or minority group member.
Self-categorization theory: individuals define themselves in relation to others based on a “self-identity” or “social identity” factor and form binding relationships with people who categorize themselves similarly.
Sexual harassment: occurs when (1) an unwelcomed sexual favor is quid-pro-quo condition of employment, promotion, pay increase, continued employment, or desired assignment, or (2) when offensive comments about a person’s gender or physical harassment of a sexual nature results in a hostile work environment.
Subordinate group: refers to the diversity characteristic held by a small minority of organizational members.
Undue hardship: refers to excessive costs and difficulties that would exempt an organization from a legal obligation, such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
WHAT ARE THE 4 DIVERSITY DIMENSIONS?
Diversity is a complex concept. Respecting the diverse aspects of people goes beyond the factors that fall under the purview of the EEOC.
- Every person is diverse in multiple ways. Each aspect of diversity can contribute to improving organizational performance or be the source of detrimental prejudices and stereotypes.
- Our prejudgments about people we meet and interact with are usually a reaction to a diversity factor.
- Diversity can be conceptualized in terms of four unique dimensions: permanent, evolving, personality, and organizational (see “Diversity Dimensions”).
- Each diversity dimension adds complexity to who we are, how others perceive us, and how we perceive others.
- The permanent dimension refers to physical attributes or inclinations people are born with and do not change over time.
- Human characteristics that are permanent and beyond a person’s control include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and birth generation.
- Any of these factors can significantly influence a person’s identity and life experiences.
- Evolving dimensions include age, height, weight, religion, education, physical ability, marital status, income level, and geographic location.
- At one point in life an employee is a young person, and this characteristic may influence how others treat the individual. Later in life the same person is an older person, and the individual may be treated very differently by others because of the change in age.
- As discussed in Chapter 3, personality theorists and researchers have reached a general consensus on a “Big Five Personality Model” consisting of five different personality aspects: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience.
- The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is probably the most popular personality assessment tool used by employers is based on four paired items.
- Where you get your energy: Introvert (internally) or Extrovert (relationship with others)
- How you learn: Sensor (by understanding procedures) or Intuitive (by understanding the big picture)
- How you make decisions: Thinking (by following logic) or Feeling (by ensuring harmony)
- How you organize your time: Judger (rigidly organized) or Perceiver (flexible)
- Organizational characteristics—which can be either unchanging or evolving—include hierarchical status, work content, department, and seniority.
- We may prejudge others based on their being a senior manager or a recently hired nonmanagement employee. Others may prejudge us based on our being an accountant, financial analyst, or salesperson.
RACE AND ETHNICITY DISCRIMINATION ISSUES
RELIGIOUS DISCIMINATION ISSUES
AGE DISCRIMINATION ISSUES
DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ISSUES
SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION ISSUES
DATING, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, AND HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT
(1) an unwelcomed sexual favor is a quid-pro-quo condition of employment, promotion, pay increase, continued employment, or desired assignment, or
(2) offensive comments about a person’s gender or physical harassment of a sexual nature results in a hostile work environment.
RETALIATION FOR DISCRIMINATION CLAIM
DISCUSS 5 COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES OF DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT
The United States population continues to diversify, as does the employee and customer base of organizations. For more than two centuries, Caucasian males dominated the American workforce. This is no longer the case. In 2008, Caucasian males made up only 39 percent of the entire civilian labor force. Caucasian females composed 34 percent of the workforce, followed by all Hispanics (13 percent), African-Americans (10 percent), and Asians (4 percent).
1. To attract and retain diverse customers. Customers tend to feel more comfortable doing business with people who respect them. Customers from diverse social groups who feel unwelcomed by insensitive salespeople from a different social group will take their business elsewhere.
2. To attract and retain diverse employees. As an organization’s reputation for appropriately managing diversity issues increases, so does the diversity of the organization’s job applicant pool.
3. To achieve cost reductions. Cost reductions associated with diversity management include fewer employee grievances, absences, turnover, and litigation. Responding to claims that an employee is being discriminated against requires time and resources to resolve.
4. To enhance decision-making, problem solving and creativity. Due to different life experiences, different cultural groups perceive the world in different ways, enhancing organizational decision-making, problem solving, and creativity. A multicultural workforce is likely to make more informed decisions regarding their own cultural groups, and examine an issue from multiple perspectives.
5. To increase stakeholder goodwill. Organizations that are diversity leaders earn goodwill from the media, government, socially conscious consumers, and job candidates wanting to contribute to a broad social mission. This translates into free advertising from the media and consumers, and high-profile government and industry task forces.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST OPERATIONAL PRACTICES FOR MANAGING DIVERSITY?
In 1998, the EEOC Task Force published examples of the “best” diversity policies, programs, and practices in the private sector. Integrating these best practices in diversity management throughout organizational operations can ensure long-term continuous success.
- Diversity officer/committee/office. Assign organizational responsibility for diversity to a diversity officer, committee, or office. This establishes a particular person as being accountable for diversity issues.
- Recruiting and hiring. Develop a list of highly qualified diverse job candidates that employees know, and personally invite them to apply. Sources include previous business dealings, professional associations, civic organizations, minority job fairs, and internship programs for colleges and high schools with high minority populations.
- Personnel policies. Provide flexible personnel policies reflecting the needs of diverse populations. Areas for flexibility include the use of personal days, cafeteria-style benefits plans, and work schedules.
- Dispute resolution mechanisms. Be receptive to diversity-related grievances and investigate every claim. Presume everyone innocent until proven otherwise. The most efficient dispute resolution system is a direct dialogue between both parties. If unsuccessful, have a supervisor or Diversity Officer serve as mediator. If unsuccessful, have a Peer Review Panel arbitrate a binding resolution.
- Retention and promotions. Diversity retention techniques that lead to promotions include job training and rotation, challenging assignments, holistic performance appraisals, career counseling, mentoring, focus group feedback, and promotion from within.
- Performance appraisals. Link bonuses to achieving diversity goals. Include a performance appraisal scale measuring behaviors that demonstrate respect for diverse co-workers and customers.
- Termination and downsizing. The two best criteria for determining layoffs are job requirements and past performance. When organizations use seniority as a layoff criterion, newly hired diverse employees are the first to be terminated, undoing years of concerted effort to diversify the workforce. Conduct an adverse impact analysis to determine if the list of employees to be laid off adversely affects the percentage of women, racial, and ethnic minorities employed by the organization. If it does, then consider modifying the layoff criteria to avoid the undesired result.
WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDED 10 STEPS FOR IMPLEMENTING A DIVERSITY INITIATIVE?
Creating an organizational culture that respects diversity requires planning and effort. The following 10-step process describes how to successfully implement diversity initiatives based on a traditional organizational change model.
1. Present a business case for the diversity initiative. Determine which of the five competitive advantages of diversity discussed earlier is most important for achieving superior organizational performance. Use this reason as the key motivator for undertaking the diversity initiative. Support the rationale with demographic trends, competitive analysis, and adoption of best practices in the industry.
2. Create a shared vision statement. Employees implementing the diversity initiative must be committed to achieving the desired results. Achieve commitment by involving them in the crafting of a vision statement emphasizing fair treatment of all stakeholders. Clearly link the diversity vision to the competitive advantage.
3. Respectfully build from the past. A diversity initiative is one step along the continuous improvement path. Praise previous diversity successes and use past success as the foundation for new initiatives.
4. Create a sense of urgency. Emphasize the importance of undertaking the change right now, ahead of the competition, not later, after the competition has already staked its claim in the diverse markets and talent pools.
5. Empower a change agent. All organizational changes require a point person ultimately accountable for achieving the desired results. Give a particular “go-to” person authority to manage the change process.
6. Gather political support. Success depends on all work units supporting the diversity initiative. Educate all formal and informal leaders about the importance of the change initiative. Establish a diversity committee composed of key supporting people to oversee the initiative.
7. Craft an implementation plan. Gather input from those directly affected by the changes. Anticipate, and overcome, obstacles by inviting representatives from the affected organizational units and diversity groups to comment on the implementation plan. Link action plan strategies to reasonable long-term and short-term goals.
8. Develop enabling processes. Train key participants to manage the change process. Establish multiple communication channels for input and feedback on the quality and quantity of changes being made. Share feedback and results with key constituents, and revise the plan as needed.
9. Evaluate the progress. Gather relevant historical data to benchmark and measure progress toward achieving the stated goals and objectives. Recognize all positive changes. In the spirit of continuous improvement, explore unmet goals with key constituents.
10. Reinforce the change. Link the accomplishment of diversity objectives to performance evaluations and compensation. Spotlight diversity champions and share their best practices. Rewards and visibility reinforce credibility.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING A MEMBER OF A DOMINANT GROUP AND A SUBORDINATE GROUP?
DOMINANT GROUP AND SUBORDINATE GROUP
Helping employees overcome their biases against diverse people requires training. Review “Diversity Training Problems and Solutions,” which highlights 7 common diversity training problems that can arise from within, or between, dominant and subordinate workplace groups, along with recommended solutions.
WHAT IS THE EVOLUTION OF ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IN THE UNITED STATES BEGINNING WITH CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS?
When Christopher Columbus arrived on the shores of the Dominican Republic in 1492 the landmass eventually named the United States served as home to an estimated 10 million indigenous people.
- Population demographics changed dramatically over the next 500 years.
- In 2008, 307 million people lived in the United States, of which 65.6 percent were Caucasian, 15.4 percent Hispanic, 12.8 percent African-American, 4.5 percent Asian, and 1.5 percent two or more races.
- Only 1.0 percent were indigenous Native-Americans.
COLUMBUS TO 1790
- The transformation from an indigenous to a non-indigenous population occurred through waves of new immigrants seeking to improve their living conditions, except for African-Americans who arrived prior to the Civil War through captivity and enslavement.
- Each new arriving immigrant group was met with prejudice and fear from many among the existing population, a new “other” or group of strangers often speaking a different language, for inhabitants to interact.
- Columbus’ arrival led to a confrontation between social groups. Indigenous people did not welcome Christopher Columbus with open arms, or vice versa. Differences in race, ethnicity, religion, and language contributed to mistrust. Trading goods between the two groups was soon followed by European conquest and enslavement of the indigenous inhabitants with the aid of more powerful military technology.
- The success of Italian and Spanish explorers in the “New World” attracted explorers from England, Netherlands, and France.
- Each European nationality ruthlessly competed against one another for the best trading posts and settlements, which were hospitable only to their own countrymen.
- African slaves arrived to work plantations, accounting for 20 percent of the new nation’s 3.9 million inhabitants when President George Washington gave the first State of the Union address in 1790.
1800s TO 2010
- Beginning 1830, the federal government welcomed more British, Germans, and French immigrants to help settle the expanding nation.
- They were joined by three-quarters of a million poor Irish fleeing the potato famine (1845-1849) and looking for employment and better land. Irish immigrants were discriminated against not only because of their nationality, language, and economic status, but also their religion: Roman Catholic.
- Chinese began arriving in the mid-1800s, drawn by the allure of getting rich from the California Gold Rush and jobs building the transcontinental railroad.
- They were followed by poverty-stricken Swedes, Norwegians, and Italians. Each ethnic group lived in separate ghettos, clinging to their different languages, religious beliefs, and cultural traditions.
- The religious mix became more salient with the arrival of more than two million Jews fleeing religious persecution in Russia and Europe, followed by Muslim Lebanese and Syrians.
- The annexation of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona added many Mexicans to the American ethnic mosaic.
- Over the next 100 years, Latin Americans, Asians, and Middle-Easterners seeking work and political freedom arrived.
- With the continued increase in Hispanic immigration, and low birth rates among Caucasians, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that Caucasians will dip below 50 percent of the population by 2042.
DISCRIMINATORY EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES
- For nearly two centuries, from 1776 until 1964, Caucasian males primarily employed and serviced people from their own national heritage and religious group, a pattern followed by other racial and ethnic groups.
- Job openings were filled by family members, relatives, and friends, people who shared a common language. German Protestants, for instance, trusted hiring only German Protestants, and Irish Catholics trusted only Irish Catholics. African-Americans and Asian-Americans did likewise.
- Organizations began to diversify as they grew in size and expanded their markets.
- Nonetheless, managers tended to hire and promote those employees who shared a common gender, race, ethnicity, or religious heritage.
- Businesses operated under the “employment-at-will doctrine” which allowed employers and employees to end an employment relationship for any reason, or “at will,” so long as it did not violate contractual agreements or federal, state, and municipal laws.
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made many of these discriminatory hiring, promotion, and firing practices illegal.
UNITED STATES RACE/GENDER PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP 2008
- The United States has evolved to the point where Barack Obama, an African-American born to a Caucasian mother and Kenyan father, won the presidency in 2008, a diversity accomplishment many believed impossible to achieve just a few decades earlier during the late 1960s race riots.
- Obama’s most notable contender for the Democratic Party nomination was a woman, Hilary Clinton, as was the Republican Party’s Vice President nominee, Sarah Palin, then the governor of Alaska.
ILLEGAL (UNDOCUMENTED) IMMIGRANTS
- A contentious aspect of local, state, and national law is the treatment of undocumented, or illegal, immigrants.
- For the working poor and politically oppressed born in other nations, the United States has always represented a land of opportunity and freedom.
- But when the number of laborers exceeded job availability, anti-immigration sentiments rose due to the decline in wages.
- In 1921, the Emergency Quota Act placed limits on the number of immigrants admitted into the United States, which often fluctuates due to labor needs.
- Ever since then, immigrants have entered the nation illegally to seek employment or unite with their legally immigrated family members.
- In 2008, an estimated 12 million illegal, sometimes referred to as undocumented, immigrants lived in the United States. Approximately 76 percent of illegal immigrants are Hispanic, mostly from Mexico and Central America.
- Illegal immigrants account for 5.4 percent of the national labor force. They typically perform low-skilled and low-paid jobs. California, Arizona, and Nevada have the highest percent of undocumented laborers, whose children and families have overwhelmed some schools and state and local social services.
- Federal law requires aliens who are 14 years old or older and in the United States for more than 30 days to register with the federal government and maintain registration documents in their possession at all times.
- In 2010, the Arizona legislature passed a more restrictive state law requiring police who stop aliens for a traffic violation or some other crime to ask for a driver’s license or some other state ID. Those without proof of legal status on them may be detained and eventually deported if no legal proof exists.
DESCRIBE SEVERAL WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION ISSUES.
WHAT LAWS GOVERN THESE?
Every employee should feel comfortable at work, and every customer and supplier should feel comfortable doing business with any organization. But that is not always the case. Despite the diversity progress made, discrimination remains a problem requiring managerial attention.
- According to self-categorization theory, individuals define themselves in relation to others based on a “self-identity” or “social identity” factor and form binding relationships with people who categorize themselves similarly.
- Individuals typically self-identify in terms of race, ethnicity, or gender, though a wide range of other categories could take precedence, such as being left-handed or rooting for a particular sports team.
- Within groups, members may further self-identify based on some factor that differentiates group members.
- People usually form group coalitions based on race and ethnicity – characteristics that reflect their family and neighborhood demographics – and then by gender within the race/ethnicity grouping.
- Problems arise, however, when dissimilar people are treated as inferior or excluded.
- Customers and employees who differ from others according to some prominent characteristic—race, gender, ethnicity, age, or religion—often report not being respected by the dominant social group.
- Workplace segregation can reinforce prejudices toward members of other groups, which contributes to communication breakdowns, high conflict, low morale, reduced productivity, and potential lawsuits.
- As shown in Chapter 1 “EEOC Charges and Resolutions 1997 and 2009” there were more than 100,000 discrimination cases filed with the EEOC in 2009, and settlements exceeded $440 million.
- Individuals discriminate all the time. To discriminate means to make a distinction among possible options.
- Two prominent ethical principles must guide decision making when making distinctions among people at the workplace: fairness and respect for others.
- Managers, for instance, must discriminate among hundreds of job applicants when deciding which person to hire.
- The decision-making rule used to discriminate among the applicants could be ethical, unethical, legal, or illegal.
- When differentiating among job candidates, or choosing which employee to assign a job task or promote, make sure that the decision-making rule being applied is fair and respectful.
- Gender discrimination refers to treating an employee differently because of his or her gender.
- NOTE: The chapter mentions the sex discrimination class action lawsuit initiated by six female Wal-Mart employees that grew to represent more than 1 million women. The case was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2011 on a technicality dealing with what counts as a “class action” lawsuit.
- Women are discriminated against in job assignments based on physical and personality characteristics.
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits pay discrimination based solely on gender considerations.
- Men and women must receive equal pay for equal work.
- Previously, different wages for the same job tasks were justified on the grounds that men were the head of household whereas women were earning supplemental family income.
- The work being performed is considered equal if the two jobs entail equal skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.
- Different wages for performing the same type of work are justified only if related to an employer’s seniority system, merit system, quantity or quality of productivity, or a factor other than gender.
- On average, females earn approximately 69 percent of male salaries.
- A variety of explanations other than gender discrimination may explain these earning differentials:
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
Family and Medical Leave Act
DIVERSITY DISCUSSION GUIDELINES
DESCRIBE SEVERAL DIVERSITY TRAINNG WORKSHOPS.
HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THE TYPICAL PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH DIVERSITY TRAINING?
INDIVIDUAL UNIQUENESS AND COMMONALITIES
DIVERSITY TRAINING PROBLEMS
Best Place to Work Video
Business Ethics Issue Video
Gender Diversity: Tony Porter shares stories from his own life about how the "act like a man" mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other; December 2010, 12 minutes
Conversations with Charlie Rose
- A conversation about the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' with Al Hunt of Bloomberg News and David Ignatius of 'The Washington Post'; December 22, 2010, 20 minutes
- A conversation with Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, about the 2008-2009 global economic crisis; September 29, 2009, 60 minutes
High performance organizations depend on employees speaking honestly with their colleagues, managers, and company owners when ethical problems arise. This chapter examines why employees maintain silence when they observe ethical misconduct and what management behaviors and internal mechanisms can elicit such essential information. Excellent managers are the type of person colleagues and subordinates can trust and confide with such personally sensitive information. But some employees remain comfortable sharing ethical issues with their direct supervisors.
The chapter also explores three alternative internal communication mechanisms for obtaining information about unethical behavior: an Ethics & Compliance Officer, an ombudsman, and an assist line. A failure in these internal communication systems can result in external whistle-blowing, which is damaging for both the organization and the whistle-blower.
After completing this chapter, students should be able to:
· Understand why some employees do not report ethical misconduct
· Describe how to engage employees in discussing ethical misconducts
· Administer an internal reporting system for ethical issues
· Create an Ethics & Compliance Officer and Ombudsman positions
· Manage an assist line to receive employee complaints by telephone or Internet
· Describe the negative outcomes whistle-blowing has on both the whistle-blower and the organization
Assist lines: previously referred to as “ethics hotlines,” provide a channel of communication where employees can anonymously and confidentially report ethical wrongdoings or receive clarification on an organization’s ethics policies.
Authoritarian leaders: people who expect absolute loyalty from subordinates and consider taking suggestions or advice from subordinates, no matter how essential, as a leadership weakness.
Chaplains: members of a religious clergy trained in providing spiritual advice.
Employee empowerment: refers to employees possessing the authority to make decisions affecting themselves and their work.
Employee silence: refers to an employee who observes ethical misconduct at work but does not discuss the matter with the person engaged in the ethical misconduct or someone else in the organization with authority.
Ethics & Compliance Officer: a high-level employee responsible for managing ethical performance.
False Claims Act: initially passed in 1863 during the Civil War, allows an employee to independently sue his or her employer for fraud against the government and receive between 15–30 percent of the total recovery amount plus attorney fees and related costs and expenses for successful lawsuits.
Ombudsperson: an organizational person who receives complaints about unethical behaviors, guarantees employee anonymity, and investigates and attempts to resolve the complaints.
Qui tam: provision where citizens can sue the fraudulent supplier on behalf of the government and be rewarded a percentage of the financial recovery.
Whistle-blower Reward Program: IRS program that pays whistle-blowers 15% to 30% of the unpaid taxes recovered for reporting an individual or corporate tax fraud.
Whistle-blowing: refers to contacting someone outside the organization about potential or actual nontrivial misconduct inside the organization.
WHY DO SOME EMPLOYEES REFUSE TO REPORT ETHICAL MISCONDUCT?
TYPES OF UNETHICAL ISSUES NOT REPORTED
Managers also rely on employees to take immediate corrective action when ethical misconduct occurs or inform them so the manager can address the problem before the situation worsens. But sometimes employees are hesitant to share personally sensitive issues with their manager.
- Employee silence refers to an employee who observes ethical misconduct at work but does not discuss the matter with the person engaged in the ethical misconduct or someone else in the organization with authority.
- According to the 2009 Ethics Resource Center (ERC) biannual survey, 37 percent of the respondents who observed ethical misconduct did not report it.
- Review “Unreported Observed Ethical Misconducts,” which highlights the frequency of six types of unreported observed ethical misconducts that benefitted the organization or an employee.
Frequency of ethical misconducts undertaken to benefit the company that go unreported:
Frequency of ethical misconducts undertaken to benefit an individual that go unreported
- The ERC study also differentiates “red-flag” financial reporting misconduct – falsifying or manipulating financial information, overriding routine procedures, or creating fictitious vendors or invoices – from other types of ethical misconducts.
REASONS FOR EMPLOYEE SILENCE
- Review “Reasons for Employee Silence,” which highlights a wide range of organizational factors, observer factors, and anticipated negative outcomes reasons for maintaining silence about an observed ethical misconduct.
- Organizational Factors
Authoritarian leaders rule according to the saying: “My way or the highway.”
- Observer Factors
Employee empowerment refers to employees possessing the authority to make decisions affecting themselves and their work.
- Anticipated Negative Outcomes
WHAT SKILLS MUST A MANAGER DEVELOP FOR EMPLOYEES TO FEEL COMFORTABLE TO DISCUSS POTENTIAL UNETHICAL BEHAVIORS?
The best ethics reporting system is a manager who welcomes ethical discussions with employees and input on ethical misconduct. A diverse set of managerial techniques and attributes can help employees become comfortable sharing sensitive ethical information.
DISCUSS THE TYPICAL DUTIES AND SKILLS OF AN ETHICS AND COMPLIANCE OFFICER.
HOW CAN THESE ACTIVITIES BE MANAGED IN SMALL ORGANIZATIONS?
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines (see Chapter 2) provide a judicial incentive for assigning a high-level employee the responsibility of managing ethical performance. A growing number of organizations assign this responsibility to an Ethics & Compliance Officer (ECO).
DESCRIBE THE 14 STEPS FOR DEVELOPING AND MANAGING AN INTERNAL REPORTING SYSTEM PROCESS
The ECO’s primary duty is to manage the organization’s internal reporting system. Review the process model “Internal Reporting System Process,” which provides guidance on how to accomplish this.
DESCRIBE OTHER ETHICS REPORTING SYSTEM MECHANISMS: OMBUDSPERSON, CHAPLAINS, AND ASSIST LINES
o Another internal channel for communicating information about potential ethical and legal violations is an organizational ombudsperson.
o The ombudsman concept originated in government, and has spread to other types of organizations, including corporations, hospitals, newspapers, universities, and nonprofits.
o An ombudsman guarantees the employee anonymity, asks permission to contact key people, develops a plan for gathering information without revealing the identity of the complainant, investigates the claim outside the regular chain-of-command, reaches a conclusion, and, if so concluded, advocates for implementing the appropriate change.
o By providing employees with an institutional voice, the ombudsman serves as a deterrent against managerial abuse of power and other unethical activities. The ombudsman is granted access to all employees, including board members, when investigating a complaint.
o An ombudsman, similar to an accountant or lawyer, is held legally accountable to a professional Code of Ethics. The International Ombudsman Association’s Code of Ethics highlights four ethical principles and corresponding policies:
1. Independence. The ombudsman is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization.
2. Neutrality and impartiality. The ombudsman remains unaligned and impartial, and does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.
3. Confidentiality. The ombudsman holds all communications in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is when there is an imminent risk of serious harm.
4. Informality. The ombudsman does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.
- Review BEST PRACTICES IN USE, which provides a list of issues reported to an ombudsperson:
o A code of ethics violation
o Trading issues or violations
o Legal or compliance issues
o A situation that threatens employee safety
o Unfair treatment by a manager or co-worker
o Unfair pay as defined in the Fair Labor Standards Act
o Unfair treatment on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnic group, age, sexual orientation, or other affiliation
o Some businesses have contracted out with chaplain consulting organizations as a mechanism for employees to confidentially share their personal and ethical concerns.
o Chaplains are members of a religious clergy trained in providing spiritual advice.
o Dating back to the 1940s, corporate chaplains originally provided, upon request, pastoral care for employees and their families dealing with illnesses, death, addictions, encouragement needs, or other personal issues, and were part of a company’s employee benefits package.
o Over time, their list of services expanded to include helping employees manage ethical dilemmas and interactions with other employees. Most corporate chaplains have seminary degrees and are trained counselors.
o The two most prominent providers of chaplains are Marketplace Chaplains and Corporate Chaplains of America.
o The chaplains are on-call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
o Workplace interactions between a chaplain and an employee are kept to a minimum.
o Most meetings are arranged for nonworking hours, unless in time of crisis.
o Conversations with chaplains are confidential, although an employee can request the chaplain to discuss a matter with corporate managers.
1. Unethical financial abuse, such as fraud.
2. Unethical personal conduct, such as discrimination.
3. Unethical treatment of college property, such as theft.
4. Unethical use of information technology, such as data privacy abuse.
WHAT IS WHISTLE-BLOWING AND WHAT PROTECTIONS DO WHISTLE-BLOWERS HAVE?
Sometimes an individual concerned about ethics works for an organization that refuses to take action against unethical or illegal activities. When this happens, an employee is faced with a major conflict of values — should the employee remain loyal to the organization or inform someone outside the organization who can take appropriate action.
WHEN TO BLOW THE WHISTLE
1. Serious harm is involved.
2. The whistle-blower has already expressed his or her concerns to an immediate superior.
3. The whistle-blower has exhausted other communication channels within the organization.
4. The whistle-blower has convincing, documented evidence.
FALSE CLAIMS ACT
REPORTING TAX FRAUD
WHISTLE-BLOWER PROTECTION LAWS
SARBANES-OXLEY ACT OF 2002 (SOX)
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE NEGATIVE OUTCOMES THAT MANY WHISTLE-BLOWERS HAVE EXPERIENCED?
The decision to blow the whistle on an employer requires careful consideration. Whistle-blowing can have many negative impacts on an employee’s life. Researchers report that soon after blowing the whistle, many whistle-blowers experience:
1. Negative performance evaluations
2. Undesired job transfers
4. Criticism or avoidance by co-workers
5. Physical, psychological, and family problems
6. Loss of job or forced retirement
7. Blacklisting impeding employment
8. Protracted legal battles waged at personal expense
Best Place to Work Video
Business Ethics Issue Video
- Happiness: Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want and how our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned; February 2004, 22 minutes
- Lessons Learned from Presidents: Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin talks about what we can learn from American presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson; February 2008, 19 minutes
Conversations with Charlie Rose
- A conversation with journalist Rick Stengel on WikiLeaks; November 3, 2010, 25 minutes
- A conversation with Brian Ross about his book "Madoff Chronicles, The: Inside the Secret World of Bernie and Ruth;" October 27, 2009, 60 minutes
Sarah Nilsson, JD, PhD, MAS
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The information on this website is for educational purposes only and DOES NOT constitute legal advice. While the author of this website is an attorney, she is not your attorney, nor are you her client, until you enter into a written agreement with Nilsson Law, PLLC to provide legal services.