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?