Management ethics is back in the news with more scandal from the banking sector and the ongoing Leveson enquiry. So it is a topical issue and management behaviour is very much in the spotlight. What are the practical day-to-day issues for managers?
Some excellent points about management and leadership ethics in the digital age are made at http://www.businessballs.com/ethical_management_leadership.htm “More and more leaders of businesses and other organisations are now waking up to the reality of social responsibility and organisational ethics. Public opinion, unleashed by the internet particularly, is re-shaping expectations and standards. Organisational behaviour – good and bad – is more transparent than ever – globally. Injustice anywhere in the world is becoming more and more visible, and less and less acceptable. Reaction to corporate recklessness, exploitation, dishonesty and negligence it is becoming more and more organised and potent.”
If you accept this view what it means in practice is:
- If you are up to no good – you are more likely to to be exposed and caught out. The converse is also probably true – if you do good – others are likely to see it and reward you.
- Your behaviour is being judged, fairly or unfairly, against freely available yardsticks.
- You’ll probably sleep better if you know your management behaviour is as ethical as possible.
- Promoting the ethical approach taken in your organisation is likely to have a positive impact on customers, suppliers, staff and other stakeholders.
The Businessballs’ piece on ethics at http://www.businessballs.com/ethical_management_leadership.htm is well worth a read and the best I could find with a quick Google search – it won’t take long to scan it and get the key points.
As a manager you have a disproportionate impact on ethics in your organisation because you lead others and unethical behaviour spreads like wildfire as ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ http://tartarus.org/martin/essays/burkequote.html This would appear to be what has happened at the organisations that are having their ethics questioned in public.
It seems to me you have two choices – ignore ethics and take the risk that you will not get found out or examine your decisions and actions carefully to avoid public humiliation. Uncomfortable I know, but it appears to be the reality of 2012 and the digital age.
You’re being judged one way or another whether you like it or not and the judgements others make will have an direct influence on your effectiveness and efficiency.
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