Generally speaking, ethics play a pivotal role in the life of an individual and organization. Every individual has an influence on the organization he or she works at in one way or another. Thus, personal and organizational ethics go hand in hand cannot be treated separately. Precisely put, personal ethics refers to personal values, moral standards, and ideals that an individual uses to interact and deal with fellow men. Trustfulness, honesty, dedication, and fairness are a few examples. On the other hand, organizational ethics refers to the ethics and code of conduct devised by the organization to shape up an organizational culture. It does not merely include organizational behavior or business ethics. Organizational ethics is a medium used to express an organization’s values to its employees and other entities involved regardless of governmental and regulatory laws.
Various theories related to personal and organizational have carried out a deeper study into the role and effects of personal and organizational ethics at workplace. The leadership provides an insight and clear understanding of organization’s vision and goals. The vision and mission statement of an organization determines the direction of the organization. Leadership also known as stakeholders of an organization must have the ability to understand and recognize the needs and competency level of its employees. It is the stakeholder theory that implies that all stakeholders (or individuals) must be treated equally regardless of the fact that some people will obviously contribute more than others to an organization. The strong organizational ethical leadership has an ability to move members of the organization to towards ethical behavior.
Kitchener suggests that there are at least five key principles that can provide the foundation for our ethical behavior.(Kitchener, 2005) On the top of all is respecting autonomy, that is to say, people have this legitimate right to be their own selves and to exercise freedom of choice and thought. They have privacy, informed consent, and self-discrimination. The difference they make in terms of thought and personalities should be encouraged. Secondly, the principle of no harm suggests that people in all of their dealings should refrain from indulging in any activity that harms other physically and psychologically. Thirdly, people should be motivated by the principle of benefiting others. This means doing things in the best interests of other people.
Moreover, people should be fair, just, and impartial and treat others equally. Lastly, people should be faithful to themselves, fellow workers, and organization. They must be honest and tell the truth in any circumstances.
The function of developing and the implantation of an “ethics system” is difficult, because there is no clear, nor any singular decisive way that is able to be presented as a standard across the board for any organization – as due to each organization’s own culture. ( ref ) Therefore, each organization devises its own set of ethical guidelines. Being an employee of Proctor and Gamble (P&G), I find its mission and vision statement very motivating and appealing. To say that this organization has practically implemented stakeholder theory into practice will not be an overstatement. Every member in the organization is considered to be a valuable asset of the company. Above all, every working individual has a leadership role to play in his/her area of work and expertise. With the elimination of organizational barriers, leaders (employees) are encouraged to yield the best results making the most of their capabilities and competencies.
Non-executive staff is not treated as inferior. There is almost no practical distinction between the boss and his sub-ordinates. Everyone has his own say in the decision making of the organization. The organization has successfully inculcated the sense of ownership among the employees. As its vision statement goes, “we all act like owners, treating the Company's assets as our own and behaving with the Company's long-term success in mind.” Furthermore, the company believes in building a relationship of trust with the employees. The company seeks to fully realize and fulfill its social responsibilities.
My personal vision statement as a manger
In my view, ethical person is someone who has a strong sense of moral integrity, honest character, and sense of duty. The education, upbringing, life experiences, religious and political beliefs shape up the personal ethics of a manager. As opposed to professional work ethics, personal ethics in organizational framework may vary from person to person. For example, if a manager does not use any of workplace resources for personal use such as telephone, office vehicle etc then this is personal ethic even though there is no official obligation on the managers and other staff for that matter.
People following different personal work ethics may cause conflict at times but there are a few established notions of personal work ethics that every nurse should adopt while carrying out professional responsibilities.
“Personal ethics may be described as the personal set of moral values which an individual (manager) chooses to live by and which generally guide his or her approach to their moral life and relationships with others such as matters of conscience are a good example of personal morality.”(Johnstone 1999)
However, at times, there may prop up complexities while exercising personal work ethics. For example, the work ethics of a manager may come into direct clash with the work ethics of a professional organization they work at. To deal with such an ethical dilemma, the best way for a manager is to seek consensus on the disputed issue. It is advisable to seek the input of fellow workers and concerned staff.