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The concept of ethics and its importance in the workplace

Question:

Describe why Ethical leadership is the most important factor in creating an ethical workplace?

Ethics is referred to as the system of moral values and principle that assist in the establishment of adequate conduct for both, organizations as well as the individuals. Ethics should be given huge importance for a number of reasons in comparison with a number of issues like protection of identity and privacy, practices of hiring, harassment, safety, equality, censorship, and many more (Harrison 2005). A deviation from the maintenance of good and positive ethical environment in the organization can result in having disastrous outcomes.

However, it is important to know, exactly how can an organization be successful in the establishment ethical workplace. There are a number of important factors that should be considered for the creation of ethical workplace. These important factors are different from research to research. A number of researchers have argued that ethical leadership should be considered as the most relevant factor in the creation of an ethical workplace (Brown and Treviño 2006). In context with this important factor, this essay will be placing arguments in favor of this particular important factor for the creation of ethical workplace. However, before the arguments are placed in favor of the statement that ethical leadership should be considered as the most relevant factor in the creation of an ethical workplace, it is important to know what exactly is referred to as ethical leadership.

Majority of the owners of business and have been making attempts on instilling principles of ethics within the workers who have been working under the organization. As an effective leader of the business, one must be focused on the establishment of a culture in alignment with ethical principles and values within the work place (Brown and Treviño 2006). However, the task of leader does not end at this point as this culture in alignment with ethical principles and values must be kept alive in a consistent manner while being an encouragement for the followers in the organization (Hartman 2003). Hence, in simple terms, ethical leadership can be referred to as leading by acknowledging and doing what can be considered as the best possible decision. This can be done by a leader having the sense of ethical behavior in his or her attitude.

Ethical behavior is to know and to do what can be considered right. However, the difficulty is to define what is right. Different religions, different cultures and different individuals define it in a number of different ways. Ethical leadership differentiates themselves to do what can be considered unpopular, inconvenient, and even unprofitable temporarily within the services of value and health on long term basis (Harrison 2005). Hence, there are certain main elements that should be involved within the ethical form of leadership. These are modelling ethics, providing employees’ voice, consideration of the effect of decisions, promotion for the involvement of community, and sourcing of responsibilities.

These standards being set must be followed by the employees by themselves. They also utilize punishments and rewards for influencing the ethical behavior of the followers. According to a number of researches conducted, reinforcement is known to be playing a significant role in the effectiveness of modeling as the observers paying closer attention towards the ones who have been controlling relevant resource and towards punishments and rewards. In the communication of organization, ethics within leadership are crucial (Hartman 2003). Leaders of business must be making the decisions that will not only be beneficial for them, but also must be thinking about the affect imposed on other people in the organization. For understanding the relevance of ethical leadership in the business organization and considering it as the most important factor for ethical behavior, a link can be created with the concepts of social learning theory.

Importance of creating an ethical workplace

Ethical leadership can be referred to as leading by acknowledging and doing what can be considered as the best possible decision. This can be done by a leader having the sense of ethical behavior in his or her attitude. Relying upon the theory of social learning, an explanation can be provided for the outcomes and antecedents of ethical leadership (Harrison 2005). The theory of social learning contributes in enlightening the reason as to why certain personal features of a particular leader and situational impacts are in relation with the perceptions of the followers as leader being ethical in nature.

As per the theory of social learning, for the leaders to be considered as ethical leaders in the eyes of the followers, they must focus on being credible and attractive models of role. In the environment of ethics, where the messages of ethics can end up being lost in the midst of other messages regarding the bottom level and the immediately responsive tasks at one side of the coin, presence of ethical leadership helps in focusing the attention upon ethics by frequent communications regarding ethics and to make the message of ethics salient in nature.

Hence, it can be stated that ethical leadership is important for setting high and clear standards of ethics for the others within the organizations. These standards being set must be followed by the employees by themselves. They also utilize punishments and rewards for influencing the ethical behavior of the followers (Brown and Treviño 2006). According to a number of researches conducted, reinforcement is known to be playing a significant role in the effectiveness of modeling as the observers paying closer attention towards the ones who have been controlling relevant resource and towards punishments and rewards. In the final context, it can be stated that the theory of social learning with an assumption that there is occurrence of learning in a vicarious manner. Learning should be vicarious in nature that would be specifically relevant to learn regarding unethical and ethical behavior in contexts with the organization.

Employees can create learning regarding what can be considered unacceptable or acceptable to pay attention as to how other members of organization are disciplined or rewarded and regulations being done for their own specific behavior with respect to the result. Ethics is referred to as the system of moral values and principle that assist in the establishment of adequate conduct for both, organizations as well as the individuals (Harrison 2005). Ethics should be given huge importance for a number of reasons in comparison with a number of issues like protection of identity and privacy, practices of hiring, harassment, safety, equality, censorship, and many more.

Ethical leadership can be considered as been extremely important as of the results it contributes in influencing. Maintaining consistency with a perspective of social learning, followers are known to be emulating the behavior of ethical leaders as these types of leaders are known to be credible and attractive models who model adequate behavior in a normative manner. In addition to this, ethical leaders contribute in communicating the relevance ethical principles and standards, and utilize the system for the management of performance for holding the accountability of the employees for the conduction of these activities (Hartman 2003). Employees do not have to be learning about discipline and rewards in a direct manner, but consistency with the theory of social learning, can create learning regarding the observation of the related outcomes involved. Different religions, different cultures and different individuals define it in a number of different ways. Ethical leadership differentiates themselves to do what can be considered unpopular, inconvenient, and even unprofitable temporarily within the services of value and health on long term basis (Brown and Treviño 2006). Hence, there are certain main elements that should be involved within the ethical form of leadership. These are modelling ethics, providing employees’ voice, consideration of the effect of decisions, promotion for the involvement of community, and sourcing of responsibilities.

Factors for creating an ethical workplace

For the purpose of this essay, it is important to understand the implications of ethical leadership over the quality of ethics within the workplace and amongst the decisions made by the followers (Jordan et al. 2013). As a significant reasoning, attractive and enthusiastic role models being presented in the ethical leaders can be considered as relevant source for the provision of ethical guidance to the employees. Ethical leaders help in setting ethical principles and standards and communicating these with the followers. These ethical leaders also have the responsibility of making decision that consider the accountability of the individual needs of the stakeholder. These are supposed to be principled and fair. Therefore, the followers of these types of ethical leaders are exposed to the opportunity for observing and learning appropriate process of decision making in an ethical manner (Mayer et al. 2012). These specific opportunities should be imposing challenge on the thinking of the followers, and supporting and encouraging their own individual decision making in an effective and ethical manner.

Ethical leadership should also be considered as extremely important component as it seems to be having a positive relation with the ethical decision making of the followers. Hence, the employees are able to create learning regarding what can be considered unacceptable or acceptable to pay attention as to how other members of organization are disciplined or rewarded and regulations being done for their own specific behavior with respect to the result (Mitchelson 2006). However, it also important to consider that maintaining consistency with a perspective of social learning, followers are known to be emulating the behavior of ethical leaders as these types of leaders are known to be credible and attractive models who model adequate behavior in a normative manner.

Therefore, ethical leadership should be influencing the behavior of citizenship or pro- society by the social learning along with the processes of social exchange. In addition to this, ethical leaders can be considered as being legitimate and attractive role models who tend to be creating focus over the attention of followers over the ethical standards, and the appropriate behavior being normative in nature (Reilly 2006). Therefore, it can be concluded that the employees following ethical leaders should be focused on the identification of these leaders and emulating the behavior. Further ahead, going beyond of the theory of social learning, relationships amongst followers and ethical leaders have the chances of being characterized through the forms of social exchange, instead of simple form of economic exchange.

Apart from the facts stated above, ethical leadership is known to be having positive relations with the satisfaction of followers, commitment of the employees in the organization, and the level of motivation built within the employees. Once the hiring of employees is done, organizations can use these employees for the purpose of role modeling for the development of ethical leadership (Seidman 2010). However, it has been argued that the reliability of ethical leadership to a larger limit is on the processes of social learning. Thus, to ensure that the young employees have held the proximate of role models with ethical principles and values in a significant manner, it is important for highlighting the basic elements involved. These are modelling ethics, providing employees’ voice, consideration of the effect of decisions, promotion for the involvement of community, and sourcing of responsibilities.

Conclusion

Leaders that are ethical in nature have an understanding that positivity in relationships are important standards for each and every effort of the organization. Relationship with good quality are built on the basis of trust and respect, and not only by the element of agreement as individuals need to be sparking off each other. This has been considered as the most relevant factor for determining the success of the organization. The ethical leaders have an understanding about these types of relationships, growing and germinating in the base of fundamental principles of respect, trust, compassion, justice, equity, fairness, honesty and integrity. The ethical leaders have knowledge about how to act with respect to these laws and to live in harmony with these key and important principles, the enterprises of humans are sustained and flourished as well. Hence, it can be stated that the ethical leadership is extremely important for the maintenance of ethical behavior in the workplace organization. In consideration with this fact it can be stated that the reliability of ethical leadership to a larger limit is on the processes of social learning. In addition to this, huge importance should be given to consider that maintaining consistency with a perspective of social learning, followers are known to be emulating the behavior of ethical leaders as these types of leaders are known to be credible and attractive models who model adequate behavior in a normative manner.

References

Badaracco, J. 2005. “Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing,” Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Brown, ME. and Treviño, LK. 2006. “Ethical leadership: A review and future directions,” The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), pp. 595–616.

Covey, R. 2009. “Principle-Centered Leadership,” New York: Summit Books.

Goleman, D. 2005 “Emotional Intelligence,” New York: Bantam Books.

Harrison, DA. 2005. “Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 97, pp. 117-134.

Hartman, LP. 2003. “A qualitative investigation of perceived executive ethical leadership: Perceptions from inside and outside the executive suite,” Human Relations, 56(1), pp. 5-37

Jordan, J., Brown, ME., Treviño, LK., and Finkelstein, S. 2013. “Someone to Look Up To: Executive–Follower Ethical Reasoning and Perceptions of Ethical Leadership,” Journal of Management, 39(3), pp. 660-683.

Mayer, DM., Aquino, K., Greenbaum, RL., & Kuenzi, M. 2012. “Who Displays Ethical Leadership, And Why Does It Matter? An Examination Of Antecedents and Consequences Of Ethical Leadership,” Academy of Management Journal, 55(1), pp.151–171.

Mitchelson, JK. 2006. “A cross-cultural examination of the endorsement of ethical leadership,” Journal of Business Ethics, 63, pp. 345-359.

Reilly, EC. 2006. “The future entering: Reflections on and challenges to ethical leadership,” Educational Leadership and Administration, 18, 163-173.

Seidman, D. 2010. “Ethical Leadership: An Operating Manual,” Bloomberg Business Week, 10, pp. 1-2.

Spiker, BK. 2008. Organizational Communication: Perspectives and Trends. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

Stansbury, J. 2009. “Reasoned Moral Agreement: Applying discourse ethics within organizations,” Business Ethics Quarterly. 19(1), pp. 33-56.

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