Ethical Decisions

Dr. Purushothaman
December 12, 2013

Ethical decision-making is important for businesses. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ethics can be defined as ‘rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad.’ There is a relationship between ethics and values. Each of us grows up in environments (families, schools, relationships, etc.) that impact our perception of right and right. Organizations are challenged because they must build a set of corporate values that might differ from an employee’s value system. Yet, building an ethical organization is not easy.

Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller, authors of Marketing Management, explain the ethical challenges for businesses. They note, “Business practices come under attack because business situations routinely pose ethical dilemmas: It's not easy to draw a clear line between normal marketing practice and unethical behavior.

Furthermore, trust and integrity must not be lost. There are three ethical concerns for the sales organization, which are (1) cheating, (2) misuse of company resources, and (3) inappropriate relationships with other employees. You spoke to the issue of dishonesty. Yet, losing the clients’ trust is fatal. Famous management expert Stephen Covey suggests that trust is the cornerstone for productivity in the market. Once customers lose faith and trust in an organization, that organization has lost ground in the market.

My initial approach is to build a strategy with a win-win attitude that leverages on motivational theory. Motivation produces psychological forces that determine the direction of a person's behavior in an organization. In my technical field, there are few things that are impossible to accomplish; it's a matter of time versus money. The sales manager proclaims to me, “You’ve committed the company to something to which we cannot commit.” Given her response, I would ask her the value of my accomplishing the impossible (I know it will make her look good in front of her senior managers). She states it’s worth a 25% bonus from my six figure salary. I set out with a win-win attitude.

Furthermore, Johnston and Marshall make a clear distinction between a gift and a bribe. A bribe is a financial present given to manipulate the purchase decision. On the contrary, my approach involves a human resource strategy to drive performance. Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, further argue effective managers fully utilize their human resources to gain a competitive advantage. Actually, most employees exist in a transactional relationship (if you do this, you will get that). For example, a sales representative for Mary Kay will get a pink Cadillac is she reaches the designated sales limit. In fact, business perks are pretty routine. Honestly, I don't want to compromise my trust with my internal customers (supervisor, manufacturing group, etc.) or my external customers.

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