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Business - Individual Responsibility.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 2074F/G
Michael Herbert

ETHICS AS ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE – TREVINO, NELSON  Anthropologists define culture as a body of learned beliefs, traditions and guides for behaviour shared among members of a group  To assess and understand an organization’s culture requires knowledge of the organization’s history an dvalues along with a systematic analysis of multiple formal and informal organizational systems  Organizational cultures can be strong or weak. In a strong culture, standards and guidelines are widely shared within the organization, providing common direction for day to day behavior  Citicorps culture proved to be so strong that standards and guidelines spanned continents and superseded national culture  In a weak organizational culture, strong subcultures exist and guide behavior that differs from one subculture to another  It’s important to note that weak doesn’t necessarily mean bad. In some situations, weak cultures are desirable  Behavioral consistency across the organization is tough to achieve  Employees are brought into the organization’s culture through a process called enculturation, or socialization. Through socialization, employees learn the ropes  Can occur through formal training or mentoring or through more informal transmission of norms of daily behavior by peers and superiors  By individuals may behave according to the culture for another reason – because they have internalized cultural expectations  Individuals have adopted the external cultural standards as their own. Their behavior though consistent wit the culture, also accords with their own beliefs  The concepts of socialization and internalization apply to understanding why employees behave ethically or unethically in an organization  Most employees can be socialized into behaving unethically  Ethical culture is created and maintained through a complex interplay of formal and informal organizational systems  To create a consistent ethical culture message, the formal and informal systems must be aligned to support ethical behavior  They learn that the performance management system will assess them on values- related criteria, including honest and trustworhty interactions and that these assessments will be important to decisions about compensation and promotion  On the informal side, they learn that high-level managers routinely tell customers the truth about the company’s ability to meet their needs and that the company celebrates employees of exemplary integrity at an annual awards dinner  Leaders should be interested in creating a strongly aligned ethical culture because American employees strongly prefer working for such an organization  Having a strong ethical culture is an important way to retain the best employees  Many companies are now assessing their cultures to determine how they’re doing in relation to ethics so if they do get into legal trouble, they can demonstrate that they have been making sincere efforts to guide their employees toward ethical conduct  Often, the founder has a vision for what the new organization should be. He or she often personifies the cultures values, providing a role model for others to observe and follow  Current executive leaders can also influence culture in a number of ways. They can help maintain the current culture, or they can change it by articulating a new vision and values  CEO of GE Immelt – he has said that in a world of business ethics scandals, people don’t admire business as they used to and that the gulf between rich and poor is growing. As a result, he believes that companies are obligated to provide solutions to the world’s problems and not to just make money for shareholders and obey the law, good leaders give back  Employees take their cues from the messages sent by those in formal leadership roles  They are often public figures who are active ein t
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