October 5, 2015
Question 1: Why does it make sense for a business to behave responsibly and ethically?
Question 2: The book discusses an ethical corporate culture. How would you describe an ethical corporate culture? Use examples from your own workplace, if appropriate.
Question 3: In Chapter 3 (page 64) the author writes: “if business is a game like basketball or boxing, ordinary ethical rules do not apply”. Why do you think this attitude would not constitute ethical business behavior? Refer to core ethical values mentioned in the chapter in your answer.
Q1. As the book identifies, businesses that maintain responsible and ethical policies and practices have shown to be more successful as the company/business grows and evolves. While the history of important ethical questions and subjects has shifted with each passing decade, companies and organizations that have maintained strong, ethical foundations with both their employees and clients/customers, have continued to grow and prosper. It’s the result of poor ethical decisions or practices that have resulted in increased government regulation, scrutiny, and laws to provide a greater confidence to the consumer and investor. While the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 required additional oversight, audit and compliance of financial records, it did little to prevent the financial recession in the US just five years after its passing.
Q2. I would describe an ethical corporate culture, much as the book defines the “tone at the top.” It starts with both the policies and practices that senior leadership both expects and to which they themselves hold accountable toward. Strong communication of employee expectations on what is, and is not, ethical should be established early on and regularly reinforced and updated. Employees should be in an environment comfortable with management and leadership to openly ask question and have dialogue when issues or instances that are not crystal clear within a policy or standard arise. In several of the organizations where I’ve worked, not only have I felt comfortable asking leadership about specific situations or circumstances, I know that if the answer I receive isn’t reassuring, there are alternate means of validation, either through an employee hotline or other senior leadership “open door” policies and programs.
Q3. I don’t believe this quote constitutes ethical business behavior because the subtext to me reads that rules only apply for chumps, and that those people, and therefore organizations, that want to get ahead, advance, grow, and make profit, require some level of cheating, rule bending, or unethical behavior. The idea or perception that a business is that of a competition or sporting activity can lead individuals into pressure-type situations to always win at whatever the cost. This can lead to decreased fairness or equality within an industry. It can also impact the integrity of both the individuals involved, and the organization overall.
Business Ethics, Ethics, MMC6213, Strategic Communications, Tone at the Top,