The Value of Ethics in Organizations
Many organizations overlook the need and value of strengthening ethics because they have a code of conduct statement or occasional ethics training. However, these have proven to be ineffective in some cases. There are barriers throughout the organization that make it hard to consider stronger ethics and even harder to take effective actions. Unethical business practices are gaining more and more attention in various industries. Codes of ethics are being revisited with attention being placed on what may be missing. With unethical practices are on the rise, companies are asking themselves is do they have ethical leaders. Over the last decade, organizations have experienced its share of ethical dilemmas. The behaviors leaders have appropriated have resulted in one scandal after another. Headlines have been ripe with allegations of unethical behavior daily. Unethical behavior isn’t associated with one organization or industry. It spreads across organizations and people at the local, state, national and international levels. Betrayals by leaders seem to have catapulted to a larger scale and year after year the same betrayals continue. People have become weary and untrusting of organizations and for good reason. It seems that basic values have been regulated to an afterthought or no thought at all, behind profits and promotions.According to Agbim et al. it is important to explore how spiritual values influence one’s perception, choices, actions and relationships with others positively. The question this paper explores is, “Does one’s spirituality influence how leaders act at work?” Agbim et al. argue that the internalization and practice of spiritual values by leaders will ensure spiritually virtuous and ethical organizations.
Ethical standards are the principles and values of our society. In the western world, these principles can be based upon a particular religious tradition or believing in someone greater than oneself. It can also be based on valuing others and making sure the organization and its followers’ needs are met before one’s own. In large part, in western societies, ethical standards are based, in part, on Judeo-Christian principles. Generally, these ethical standards are what the majority of society views and accepts as good. It is also the way we behave without laws or regulations imposed to make sure we act appropriately.Within society, sanctions are often imposed on those who fail to follow ethical standards, and laws dictate consequences for those found guilty of unethical behaviors.Ethics reaches far beyond the law. Does one wonder if ethics can be taught or are they innate? This is a question that remains. However, there are limitations as to what can be taught as is seen through the years of ethics training and we continue to see bad results. Do honesty and character come as a result of one’s upbringing influenced by some sort of spiritual component? The answer remains unclear. Although most psychologists and researchers agree that ethics can be taught, why isn’t it sticking? Is it perhaps the lack of a spiritual foundation?