Presentation (PDF) Open in new window Ethics and Stakeholders Stakeholders: people or groups that have an interest in the organization. - Stakeholders include employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers, and others. - Stakeholders often want different outcomes and managers must work to satisfy as many as possible. Ethics: a set of beliefs about right and wrong. - Ethics guide people in dealings with stakeholders and others, to determine appropriate actions. - Managers often must choose between the conflicting interest of stakeholders. Ethics It is difficult to know when a decision is ethical. Here is a good test: Managerial ethics: If a manager makes a decision falling within usual standards, is willing to personally communicate the decision to stakeholders, and believes friends would approve, then it is likely an ethical decision. Ethical Models Ethical Origins Societal Ethics: standards that members of society use when dealing with each other. - Based on values and standards found in society’s legal rules, norm, and mores. - Codified in the form of law and society customs. - Norms dictate how people should behave. Societal ethics vary based on a given society. - Strong beliefs in one country may differ elsewhere. - Example: bribes are an accepted business practice in some countries. Professional ethics: values and standards used by groups of managers in the workplace. - Applied when decisions are not clear-cut ethically. - Example: physicians and lawyers have professional associations that enforce these. Individual ethics: values of an individual resulting from their family& upbringing. - If behavior is not illegal, people will often disagree on if it is ethical. - Ethics of top managers set the tone for firms. Ethical Decisions A key ethical issue is how to disperse harm and benefits among stakeholders. - If a firm is very profitable for two years, who should receive the profits? Employees, managers and stockholders all want a share. - Should we keep the cash for future slowdowns? What is the ethical decision? What about the reverse, when firms must layoff workers. Final point: stockholders are the legal owners of the firm! Some other issues managers must consider. - Should you hold payment to suppliers as long as possible to benefit your firm? - This will harm your supplier who is a stakeholder. - Should you pay severance pay to laid off workers? - This may decrease the stockholder's return. - Should you buy goods from overseas firms that hire children? - If you don’t the children might not earn enough money to eat. Why Behave Ethically? Managers should behave ethically to avoid harming others. - Managers are responsible for protecting and nurturing resources in their charge. Unethical managers run the risk for loss of reputation. - This is a valuable asset to any manager! - Reputation is critical to long term management success. - All stakeholders are judged by reputation. Social Responsibility Social Responsibility: the manager’s duty to nurture, protect and enhance the welfare of stakeholders. There are many ways managers respond to this duty: Obstructionist response: managers choose not to be socially responsible. - Managers behave illegally and unethically. - They hide and cover-up problems. Defensive response: managers stay within the law but make no attempt to exercise additional social responsibility. - Put shareholder interest above all other stakeholders. - Managers say society should make laws if change is needed. Accommodative response: managers realize the need for social responsibility. - Try to balance the interests of all stakeholders. Proactive response: managers actively embrace social responsibility. - Go out of their way to learn about and help stakeholders. Levels of Responsibility Why be Responsible? Managers accrue benefits by being responsible. - Workers and society benefit. - Quality of life in society will improve. - It is the right thing to do. Whistleblowers: a person reporting illegal or unethical acts. - Whistleblowers now protected by law in most cases. Social audit: managers specifically take ethics and business into account when making decisions. The Social Audit Promoting Ethics There is evidence showing that ethical managers benefit over the long run. Ethical Control System: a formal system to encourage ethical management. - Firms appoint an ethics ombudsman to monitor practices. - Ombudsman communicates standards to all employees. Ethical culture: firms increasingly seek to make good ethics part of the norm and organizational culture. Managing Diverse Workforces The workforce has become much more diverse during the last 30 years. - Diversity refers to differences among people such as age, gender, race, religion. - Diversity is an ethical and social responsibility issue. Managers need to give all workers equal opportunities. - Not following this is against the law and unethical. - When all have equal opportunity, the organization benefits. Types of Diversity Manage Diversity Distributive Justice: dictates members be treated fairly concerning pay raises, promotions, office space and similar issues. - These rewards should be assigned based on merit and performance. - A legal requirement that is becoming more prevalent in American business. Procedural Justice: Managers should use fair practices to determine how to distribute outcomes to members. - This involves how managers appraise worker performance or decide who to layoff. Diversity Makes Business Sense Diverse employees provide new, different points of view. - Customers are also diverse. Still, some employees may be treated unfairly. - Biases: systematic tendencies to use information in ways that result in inaccurate perceptions. - People often view those like themselves positively and have biases about others. - Social status is a type of bias conferred to people of differing social position. - Stereotypes: inaccurate beliefs about a given group. How to Manage Diversity - Increase diversity awareness: managers need to become aware of their own bias. - Understand cultural differences and their impact on working styles. - Practice effective communication with diverse groups. - Be sure top management is committed to diversity. Sexual Harassment Damages both the person being harassed and the organization. - Both men and women can be victims. Quid pro quo harassment: victim is requested to perform sexual favors to keep a job or win promotion. Hostile work environment harassment: Some members are faced with a hostile, intimidating work environment. - Lewd jokes, pornographic displays and remarks. Avoiding Harassment Develop and communicate a sexual harassment policy. - Point out that these actions are unacceptable. Set up a fair complaint system to investigate allegations. - If there are problems, correct them at once. Provide harassment training to employees and managers.