Morals are values and character that a person holds. These values can be applied in the workplace since it is a social setting (Fredrick, 2002). This is where ethics comes in. It implies the standards and expectations of a group towards the individual who holds these moral values. Ethics applies in any social setup such as family, company, or even nationwide. So the difference is seen in the fact that morals are dependant on an individual while ethics are another dependant (Farrel, 2008).
It is true that something can be ethical and immoral at the same time. Since morality is about a code of conduct that depends on the individual, there can be some expectations and standards that others require regarding an issue (Farrel, 2008). For example, in the workplace, it can be ethical to limit the employment of people with disabilities to ensure the effectiveness of all employees, but it is immoral since it discriminates against others.
At the same time, there can be practices that are considered moral but unethical. Such a case can arise when codes of conduct of a social group are not coinciding with a person’s moral codes. This mostly includes beliefs, thoughts, behaviors, and actions of an individual, meaning that for such a case to occur, it depends on an individual. For example, a leader may think that some of the things he does are moral, but the entire workforce may be thinking otherwise and considering them unethical.
In a company, to be ethical is more important than being moral (Fredrick, 2002). This is because of the rule that the company sets that all the employees should follow. At the same time, being ethical means that one has the approval of everyone in the company can easily interact with people. At times this might create a dilemma in the workplace as following one means not following the other. The best way to respond is to choose the one which has a greater good but a lesser evil (Farrel, 2008).
Ethics are a bunch of rules and regulations that are expected of members of a particular social group. Personal ethics differs from business ethics as the latter entails problems or issues that come about as a result of the business environment. It uses every aspect of how a business should be conducted that is relevant to the behavior of all the employees in the organization. Personal ethics is quite similar to morals, as it depends on an individual. It includes principles and believes that a person has developed as a result of interacting with people and also religious teachings (Farrel, 2008).
At my place of work, there are codes of conduct that are very effective. Teachers are not allowed to use corporal punishment on students. This practice is very clear, and every teacher follows it to avoid confrontation with the management and the parents even though not all teachers may agree with this practice.
Businesses that have their prime focus on making money are highly likely to perform unethical practices. Shifting the focus and the ultimate goal to something based on providing solutions to societal needs will reduce the unethical practices and decisions in the workplace. Unethical practices that I have witnessed in business include a case where the management of a school decided to make the school look like a business instead of a place where quality education is provided. The management did not want to buy the required resources while the parents were paying fees in a good time. This practice was a result of an unethical school director who used to misappropriate school funds.
Organizational values are part of the broader culture of the organization. They include both groups and personal values of every member of the organization. Organizational culture is a collection of all the values, beliefs, experiences, and attitudes that the member of an organization have towards them and other stakeholders outside the organization. Organizational values influence organizational culture more than the reverse case because the values held by everyone in the organization will determine how they interact with each other and everyone else with a stake in the organization (Fredrick, 2002). This will also determine the trend of behavior developed by the employees and any other employee who joins the organization
For a small business owner, creating an organizational culture to a business that is expanding in terms of the labor force might be required to come up with strong goals for the business and ensure that everyone is conversant with the business goals and they work towards achieving them. He might also be required to increase the morale of the employees and create cohesiveness in his small team. The relationship between personal values and organizational values is that personal values can easily be aligned with organizational values to increase an employee’s commitment to the company (Farrel, 2008).
Whistleblowing is revealing some secretive unethical and unacceptable practices that can be done by anyone, especially the management in an organization. The circumstances that can lead an employee to blow the whistle are when personal values override organizational. An employee may feel that it is totally not right to misappropriate company money and hence decides to reveal the details of misappropriation going on in the management.
As an employee who has witnessed an unethical or illegal thing in a company, the circumstances that can lead one to blow the whistle are when the employee’s personal values contrast with this unethical thing, and the employee also has the moral strength to be brave to report the case. If the employee has no moral strength and maybe in fear, he may fail to blow the whistle.
Farrel, F. (2008). Business Ethics 7e. eBook.
Fredrick, R. E. (2002). A companion to business Ethics. Massachusetts: Blackwell.