Ethical decision making in organizations refers to making professional decisions in line with the established organizational and societal codes of conduct. The current organizations value social change as it results to success and prosperity of both employees and institutions. Ethical decision making impacts on social change in a number of ways. In many cases, the decisions drive positive social change (Yeager, Hildreth, Miller, & Rabin, 2007, p. 269). As such, many organizations spend time trying to create amicable solutions to ethical issues affecting them. Ethical decision makers pick alternatives that comply with high moral standards, integrity and professionalism.
Ethical decision making in organization leads to ethical behavior among the employees in organizations. In a workplace where work ethics are not honored, employees are likely to engage in activities that perpetuate antisocial behaviors. For example, where nepotism is rampant in employment, managers who make ethical decisions can help change the situation. However, where the top management makes decisions with complete disregard to the established ethical standards, the status quo remains. This is not good for social change. Accordingly, ethical decision making contributes positively in enforcing social change.
Ethical decision making can substantially change unethical cultures in organizations. Such cultures may be enemies of organizational growth and advancement. There are organizations whose cultures encourage laxity at the work-place. In many instances, employees in such organizations spend most of their time attending to personal issues at the expense of their work responsibilities. It is important to note that attending to one’s family is not illegal; however, spending most of time doing the same at the place of work deprives a person of his productivity and commitment to serving the organization (Yeager, Hildreth, Miller, & Rabin, 2007, p. 272). In other organizations, people have the culture of drinking or smoking during the working hours. These cultures are not ethical and ought to be discouraged for the growth of the organization. Such organizations are in dire need for a cultural change. They need ethical decision makers to drive that social change and bring sanity back to the organization.
Ethical decision making enforces honesty in the organization, thereby building its reputation. The organizational clientele want staffs that are sincere and honest. They want to associate with people who can make promises that they keep. A failing organization can employ ethical decision making in order to bring back its lost glory, and attract clients for prosperity in the dynamic times.
Ethical decision making also contributes to social change by making the employees comply with personal and social values, consistent with those acceptable by the internal organization and the external society. Such consistency is a recipe for the organizational social and cultural growth. Organizations need social growth as much as they do economic advancement. There are aspects of organizational social life that ultimately lead to economic growth. For example, an organization that understands its commitment to corporate social responsibility makes decisions that favor that responsibility. They make decisions that protect the social environment under which they operate. They derive a symbiotic benefit with the surrounding society. As they give the society back, they obtain good reputation from the environment. Qualified employees who can help drive the social change will want to associate with such organizations, and apply for jobs.
Ethical issues in organizations may lead to the collapse of the social fabrics in the organization setting. Consequently, organizational stakeholders need to be aware of the codes of conduct of the organization and comply with them at all times. Training on work ethics and standards should commence, and bring sanity to those organizations whose social values are no longer sustainable.
- Yeager, S. J., Hildreth, W. B., Miller, G. J., & Rabin, J. (2007). The Relative Effects of a Supervisory Emphasis on Ethical Behavior Versus Political Responsiveness. Public Integrity , Vol. 9 (3), 265-283.