Personal Values and Their Interaction with Organizational Ethics

1790 Words Nov 5th, 2011 8 Pages
Personal Values and their Interaction with Organizational Ethics
Carl Stevens
Old Dominion University

Abstract
Boone and Kurtz (2011) define business ethics as “the standards of conduct and moral values governing actions and decisions in the work environment” (p. 34). This paper discusses how an individual’s value system may clash (both positively and negatively) with the ethical standards dictated by an organization. Our exploration deals with the study of how organizations define ethical behavior and what employees must do to adhere to those standards. On occasion, what an organization may view as ethical behavior does not correspond with an employee’s personal belief system of what is right and wrong. This is especially true
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(Hellriegel, Slocum, 2010) Individuals are constantly faced with opportunities that tempt us to violate our own ethical values. (Anderson, Escher, 2009, p. 101) For example, take the employee who feels underappreciated having just been passed over for a promotion. When discovering that an error has been made to his paycheck to which he has been grossly overpaid, what should he do? The employee knows that accounting will probably not find the error so does he notify payroll or does he keep quiet after rationalizing that he is entitled to the additional money anyway? Job satisfaction (or lack thereof) may drive this employee to an action that may not be in keeping with his character. (Hellriegel, Slocum, 2010, pp. 88-90) The employee’s ethical decision making process is largely determined and conditioned by external factors that cause him to act in ways he deems socially appropriate. (Heugens, Scherer, 2010) For example, when the economic environment forces a vegetarian to accept a position at a meat processing plant, a conflict is bound to arise. A deeply religious employee for a recording studio may be aghast at his company’s decision to produce music with offensive lyrics. Should company profits come at a moral cost? Life experience also influences our at work behavior. If a worker complains repeatedly about unethical behavior on the part of

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