This paper looks into how personal values, organizational values and ethical values come into play in the decision- asking process. Personal Values One’s personal values are acquired early in life and they tend to remain fairly steady. Personal values are those that set the tone and the direction for one’s life and for the decision-making process. As an example, my own personal values are based upon trustworthiness, loyalty, respect and dignity. Those values have not changed over time. They are, however, more firmly held than they were when was younger. One of my personal values is that of trustworthiness.
To honor that value, I tend to be very honest and forthright, to the point where I am apt to divulge information to a client that the many and/or my coworkers would not. Not divulging the information to the client, about a faulty product or a significant billing error, for example, presents an ethical dilemma to me. Everyone has their own set of personal values and it is those personal values that establish the framework of our decision-making abilities and processes. Because people have different personal values, it is often those differences that serve as the catalyst for ethical dilemmas.
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What may be an ethical dilemma for me, based upon my personal values, may not present an issue at all for one of my coworkers, or inversely, what does not present an issue for me may pose a significant issue to a coworker. Organizational Values Organizational values are the principles under which the organization operates. As an example, General Electric cites their organizational values in very few words: Imagine, Build, Solve, and Lead (General Electric, 2005). It is those words that guide every activity within the corporation. Simply stated, if an activity does not support one of those values, the activity is eliminated.
Another example of organizational values is that of Verizon Communications, hose values are based upon integrity, responsibility, accountability and trust (Verizon, 2005). As with GE, it is these few words that are meant to guide every activity within the corporation. Imagine the ethical dilemma an employee Of one Of these companies might face knowing full well what the company expects but also knowing that a given product or process does not support the value statement. Employees may well be hesitant to report such an issue if one of their personal values entails career advancement.
Cultural Values As noted by Ludwig and Silva, “Cultural values refer to enduring ideals or life systems to which a person or a society is committed. The values of nursing in the States are, for example, embedded in the values of the U. S. American culture with its emphasis on self-reliance and individualism. Basic to the value placed on individualism are the beliefs that Dinosaurs have the ability to pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ and that an individual’s rights are more important than a society’s” (Ludwig & Silva, 2000, Para 3).
Ethical Dilemmas An employee faces an ethical dilemma if their personal values are opposite their employer’s organizational values. An excellent example of this type of ethical dilemma was evident when Sharron Watkins, as the Enron Corporation’s vice president wrote a letter to the company’s chief executive office, Kenneth Lay, to advise him that the company’s accounting practices were improper (Stranger, 2003). Watkins’ decision-making process in this case undoubtedly called upon her personal values because she was driven to expose what was ultimately uncovered as gross negligence and fraud.
Clearly, Watkins’ personal values were built around honesty and integrity and Enron’s, at least those of Lay and his co-conspirators, and therefore, the publics view f the corporation’s values, were based upon obtaining as much wealth, as quickly as possible, at any cost. When a company’s organizational values conflict with the cultural values of the country within which they do business, employees of that company may well face an ethical dilemma. A particularly interesting example is that of Motorola, doing business in Japan.
Motorola is company that prides Itself on integrity. According to Immense, Setters & vanillas, “Japanese companies in general engage in gift-giving on an annual basis. Motorola Japan considers this tradition as inappropriate in view Of Motorola’s uncompromising integrity policy. However, Motorola Japan does make careful adjustments to this tradition in giving seasonal gifts to charity on behalf of their customers (Immense, Setters & vanillas, 2004).
As noted by Marlin & Whiting, “Many companies are embracing the Serbians-Solely Act’s corporate-governance and financial-reporting requirements D since it’s passage in 2002 in the wake of the Enron and World scandals, Serbians- Solely has become the De facto standard for corporate-governance, something with which every companionways to be associated” (Marlin & Whiting, 2005, Para 1-2). Implementation of the reporting and governance requirements defined by the Act can only help to aid employees as they strive to make ethical business decisions. Conclusion Ethical dilemmas cannot be avoided.
They surround us in the workplace. Our personal values, our employer’s organizational values and the cultural values of the locations where we live and work all come Into play as we endeavor to make ethical decisions. Companies are seeing the light and are getting on board the ethical bandwagon. The Serbians-Solely Act of 2002 led that challenge and many a company has voluntarily implemented a number of the ales and reporting requirements defined in the Act. These companies are making it easier for their employees to make sound ethical business decisions.