EthicalLeadership Case Study
Whatare the problems?
Inmany organizations, you will always find people who are resistant tochange. Such people always feel that they are right, and as such theydo not need additional input by others. These people always stick tothe old methods of doing things. In objecting the new methods ofdoing things, they commit ethical offences. Similarly, in this caseof Green Company, the management is not fully cooperative. Thecounsel, for example, has barred me from asking specific questionsabout ethical dilemmas. The counsel has instead instructed me to useinformation from my previous experiences in order to develop a codeof conduct. This directive is not appropriate and is bound to lead toserious mistakes. In developing a code of conduct, it is alwaysnecessary to analysis previous existing ethical dilemma. The analysisof ethical dilemmas helps in developing an accurate code of conductthat would guide the employees when faced with these ethical dilemmasagain.
Atthe same time, the top management is not available to provide theirperspectives. The counsel has instead directed me to use theinformation that will be provided on behalf of the top management.The ethical code of conduct is something that applies to all thestakeholders in the company, from the top management to the juniorstaffs. The information that the Counsel wants me to use is based onguesswork. The leaders are supposed to be the champions of change. Ibelieve that the top management should be the ones leading inproviding information. The fact that the top management is involvedin executing other company operations should not be an excuse to failto give its input. In summary, all these actions show that thecompany only wants to develop a code of ethics for formality reasons.But they are not necessarily interested in developing a perfect codeof ethics.
Ihave been given roughly about one month to fully study the companyand develop a code of conduct. One month may not be enough to fullyexecute these operations. Enough time is required to develop aworkable code of conduct. The code of conduct to be developed shouldbe one that will not require numerous amendments once implemented.The code of conduct to be developed should be one that captures allareas of business operations. Being an outsider, I may not befamiliar with the operations of the company, and therefore, I may notbe able to study and develop a code of conduct within a month. Oncea code of conduct is developed, the employees should be able toaddress all the ethical dilemmas that they will face in future.
Inconclusion, all these may not be possible when enough time is notallocated for developing the code of conduct. In summary, themanagement should consider allocating more time so that theperspectives of all the stakeholders are taken into account whendeveloping the code of conduct. I believe the company shouldconsider adding one or two moths so that an appropriate code ofconduct is developed.
Inaccurateand insufficient information
Someof the information that was to be provided by the top management willnot be provided since they are held up. At the same time, the counselhas opted to give a guess of what the perception of the topmanagement might be. There is a high possibility of this informationbeing wrong, and this will be costly to the process of developing thecode of conduct. I have a directive not to ask certain questions, forinstance, the ethical dilemmas in the company. This directive meansthat the information I will obtain will not be sufficient enough.
TheGreen Company has different managers in various departments. Thesemanagers are the ones who understand the operations of thesedepartments. As such, they are aware of the various challenges thatare faced by the employees from these departments. Since the work ofthe code of conduct is to provide guidelines on how to conductbusiness in the company, it is necessary to meet the managers so thatthey can give the perspectives of different departments within thecompany. The managers will provide crucial information about thespecific challenges that they wish to be addressed by the code ofconduct to be developed. At the same time, the managers can offersuggestions on how the feel the various operations should beconducted. Such information will be implemented in the code ofconduct being developed.
Thecode of conduct to be developed will provide guidelines which are tobe executed by the workers. The human resource personnel are the onesin charge of allocating tasks that are to be executed. Therefore, inconducting their operations, they are more likely to be faced withethical dilemmas. They are, therefore, better placed at givingsuggestions on how to develop an effective code of conduct. Theyshould, therefore, be part of the development process of the code.
Thejunior employees also face ethical dilemmas in their day-to-dayoperations. I believe that the junior employees are the ones who willprovide the most crucial information that will help in developing thecode of conduct.
Asthe ethical leader, I am also a stakeholder in the developmentprocess. My input will include providing suggestions and usefulinsights from my past experiences in developing the code of conduct.Also as the ethical leader, I will be in charge of leading theprocess of development through the arrangement of various meetingswith other stakeholders. At the same time, I will be in charge ofdrafting the final code of conduct. My work will not stop there as Iwill also be needed in the final implementation of the code ofconduct.
Whythe cooperate counsel has behaved this way
Thereare so many hidden sensitive issues that exist in companies. Whenone conducts a full company analysis, some of these sensitive issueshave a tendency of surfacing. Every business has its secrets thathelp it remain competitive in the market. The Green Company’scooperate counsel might have felt that some of the ethicalinformation that I was going to inquire about were sensitive. Maybethe Cooperate Counsel felt that I would unearth the party that isresponsible for committing most ethical offences. Maybe the party inquestion might be the top management. It can also be cited that thecounsel might have felt I couldn’t handle such sensitiveinformation. By asking the workers about the ethical dilemmas, thecooperate counsel felt the employees would open up. In the process ofopening up, the employees would provide other information that mightnot be related to any ethical dilemma, but are also sensitive to thecompany.
Nobodylikes to be ashamed, especially the top management. In a big companylike the Green Company, there is a high possibility of the topmanagement committing an ethical offence. For this reason, theCooperate Counsel may have felt that I would unearth certain issuesthat would demean the top management. The top management is supposedto be the ones setting a good precedence. A perfect example of howethical practice demeans individuals is the case facing former FIFApresident. Such case may scare the top management, and may push themto prevent analysis of past events.
Oneof the major limitations of collecting data through an interview isthat some of the information being given may be false, and there isno way of evaluating their merits. Since the employees would givetheir perspectives anonymously, the employees may give informationthat is not true. Such false information may not be relevant to theanalysis. Given that I have experience in the field the counselmight have thought that I would not obtain anything new from askingethical dilemma questions. To them, I may be very experienced suchthat I am able to work with minimal information provided and stillproduce great results.
Anotherpossible explanation for the counsel’s behavior would be to savetime. I have been given only one month to conduct the analysis anddraft a code of conduct. Interviewing the various stakeholders wouldrequire a lot of time. As such, the counsel might have thought it wasnecessary to do away with interviews on ethical dilemma as a whole. This argument supports that the behavior of the counsel is justifiedas a means of ensuring time is not wasted.
Ethicaldilemma applies to every company
Anotherargument that justifies the behavior of the counsel is that allcompanies undergo ethical dilemmas. As such, the solutions to theseethical dilemmas apply to all solutions. The counsel might haveargued that all the ethical dilemmas that were being experienced inthe company are not new to me. Therefore, I should be able to knowwhat these issues are without being told. To them, the solutions thatI might have provided to other companies could still be applied intheir case. Some may also argue that different ethical problems canbe addressed by a sing ethical code of conduct.
IfI were to ask the employees questions on ethical dilemmas, I wouldobtain first-hand information. Different organizations have differentways of operating so as to remain competitive. There are cases whereanalysts leak information to the competitors at a cost. Theseanalysts leak these pieces of information because, at the time of theanalysis, a lot of company information is given to them. Such casesmay have an effect on the behavior of the counsel. Since I am anoutsider, the counsel might not trust that I can handle the company’sinformation confidentially.
Myresponse as an ethical leader
Asan ethical leader and consultant, I would apply the eight-step modelto sound moral decision making in business. The first phase involvesfact gathering. It is the acknowledgement of the view thatinformation is important in any business undertaking and for theoverall success of a venture. There must be an understanding of howthe ensuing facts come into existence. “Fact gathering is ofteneasier said than done” (Trevino and Nelson, 2013). In thisperspective, most moral decisions are challenging due to theambiguity involved in them, particularly when facts are unavailable.In such a situation, a company may lack sufficient information todecide how long it can take to satisfy employees. It is crucial torecognize the challenges by acting in the best manner to assemble anyavailable fact. In financial crises, decision makers may fail togather sufficient data because they see the need to explicitly avoidgetting the facts. The second step involves the in-depth definitionof the ethical issues and concerns(Nelson, & Treviño, 2013).It is a common scenario that organizations unconditionally respond toethical dilemmas. In other words, they hurry to solutions withoutcritically evaluating the ethical matters that can result from thereaction. For instance, when employees are being laid off, there is agroup of individuals who would hold the notion that the decision maynot result in ethical issues. On the other hand, some people wouldunderstand the vital moral concerns entailed in such a situation. Thesecond school of thought appears to have high opinions about bothpersonal interests and the company goals. They are undoubtedly thepeople who would advise that decisions need deep thinking for easyidentification of the ethical issues that can lead to conflicts(Nelson,& Treviño, 2013).Important to note is that an organization must understand thattoughest circumstances normally involve numerous ethical questionsthat translate to moral approaches to decision making.
Thethird phase in this model is the identification of the affectedparties, particularly the stakeholders. This step calls for theability to recognize the individuals who directly depend on theorganization and its choices. A moral thinking would demand theassessment of the investors who are likely to experience damage andprofits. Therefore, decision makers must have the capacity to knowthe rights of parties who are affiliated with a company. Thepotential of visualizing the scenario through various dimensions isan approach to cognitive reasoning. Moreover, ethical decision-makingdemands that one must think beyond the evidence offered in a case forease of the identification of the affected parties. It assists tostart with the persons in a situation who are directly affectedbefore progressively broadening to incorporate groups. For instance,there may be the need to include the efforts by other workers, andthe local community. In the thought of the people who are yet toexperience the impact, there are additional issues that may emergewhich equally add to the effectiveness of ethical decision-making.
Thefourth step involves the identification of the potential consequenceswhich works hand in hand with being aware of the affected individuals(Nelson,& Treviño, 2013).This step derives meaning from the strategies of consequentialism. Indoing this, the organization must attempt to identify the instancesthat have a relatively high likelihood of happening and those thatcan result in negative penalties in case they occur. This level asksthe questions regarding those who are faced with the severest impactsof a particular decision or action.
Thefifth step is the identification of the obligations where themanagement needs to recognize the responsibilities involved and themotives for each of them. When pointing out the various obligations,one must have statements explaining the duty. This calls forrecognition of values, principles, characters, and outcomes (Nelson,& Treviño, 2013).Important in this scenario is that the individuals involved in thedecision-making process must not fail to embrace the needs of thecompany’s goals and objectives. As explained, “Promise keepingand trust are important values in superior-subordinaterelationships’’ (Trevino and Nelson, 2011). It is expected thatthe obligations identified must vary depending on the personsinvolved.
Thesixth step will be the consideration of management character and theintegrity levels.
Itis at this point that an organization needs to think of the companyand the management as a group of integrity. A similar approach wouldbe the consideration of how individuals exercise veracity throughsocialization. This is highly applicable in the current domain ofsocial networking. The seventh step would be thinking creativelyconcerning the potential reactions. Besides, the other phases need tobe handled with this level in mind. Before any decision, anorganization must have a guarantee that the staff is not forced withjurisdictions. Lastly, I would check my intuition. This would help meto apply a more balanced fact gathering and assessment procedure oncefaced with a moral dilemma. Empathy is a crucial emotion that maysignal the notion that a party may be adversely affected. Therefore,the use of intuition can assist in gaining trustworthiness which is aprerequisite for a proper business decision making.
Maintainingethical standards does not only apply to the Green Company employeesbut also to the consultant. As a consultant, I have an ethicalobligation of:
Mywork as a consultant is to access a situation, identify the problems,and provide solutions. I am, therefore, obligated to provide specificexpertise to the client. The code of ethics directs me as aconsultant to provide tried and tested solutions to the challengesfacing the company. It would not be ethical for me to give wrongsolutions to the Green Company. I am also obligated to inform theclient if I am not able to help address their challenges.
Privacyis a key principle in the field of consultancy. It is the wish of theclients that the information they share with a consultant remainsconfidential. A consultant is not expected to reveal the informationof a client to another client or another person, say a friend. Aconsultant individual or firm that maintains confidentiality has ahigh possibility of maintaining clients. These consultants also enjoya high number of referred cases. The code of ethics that governs thepractice of consultancy also stipulates that confidentiality ismaintained at all levels of the interaction.
Asa consultant, I owe the organization candor. As a result, I amexpected to critically assess the situations that exist in theorganization. The critical assessment here means analyzing everythingeven if it will reflect negatively on the client. I am not expectedto provide the clients with the results that impress them but withthe results of the situation at hand, even if the findings are notwhat they want to hear.
Iam obligated as a consultant to prepare a final draft of thefindings. In presenting the findings, I am expected to report myresults in a clear and concise manner. The results should be easierto understand. In this case, I am obligated to presents the resultsof the ethical challenges faced by the company. I am also obligatedto draft a final code of conduct. The final code of conduct should beone that is easier to understand, since it is a guideline that willdirect future operations of the Green Company.
Sincethere are certain issues that I don’t agree with, I will firstraise my concerns with the Cooperate Counsel. To facilitate this, Iwill have to arrange a meeting with the counsel so that I tell themof my worries going forward. I have an issue with the restrictionsthat have been put for me as well as the time allocated for the work.I feel that I need to interview the employees so as to developspecific guidelines in the code of conduct. I will also ask theCounsel to organize a meeting with the officers so that they can givetheir perspectives. I will inform the Counsel that the perspective ofthe top management is very crucial, and should only come from them.Therefore, they will need to set aside time, from their fixedschedule, so that I can meet with them. The next step after meetingthe top management will be to meet with the human resource personnel.The meeting is also of great importance since it is these personnelwho are better placed at identifying the various ethical dilemmasthat the department faces.
Iwill not only be focusing on raising the issues I have problems withbut I will also be giving alternative solutions to these issues. Forinstance, I will recommend to the Counsel that the company grants mean additional one month so as to prepare a comprehensive report. Iwill also suggest that we have an open meeting where all thestakeholders are brought together in one table so that they can allair their views for interrogation by others. Through this “roundtable meeting”, I will invite all the stakeholders to present theideas that they feel could be solutions to the ethical challenges. Iwill also suggest to the Company that it establishes an ethicsdepartment. The department will help in the process of developing thecode of ethics. At the same time, the Ethics Department will help inthe implementation of the code of ethics. It will be the mandate ofthe department to ensure that the code is followed to the letter. Iwill inform the company of the benefits of having such a department.It will also be important for the company to appreciate that the codeof ethics may need updating with time. The code of ethics that I willdraft may not be perfect but with constant amendment and updating, itwould improve. This argument is supported by Linda Trevin &Katherine Nelson (2013), who say that “large businesses that arecommitted to ethics are likely to have formal ethics managementsystems…for investigating and following up on reports ofmisconduct.”
THEASSOCIATED PRESSDEC (4, 2015). Blatter, Platini Face FIFA EthicsHearings Within 2 Weeks. The New York Times.
Treviño,L. K., den Nieuwenboer, N. A., & Kish-Gephart, J. J. (2014). (Un)ethical behavior in organizations. AnnualReview of Psychology, 65,635-660.