Why people might choose an unethical option (from 'why

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Why people might choose an unethical option (from 'why Powered By Docstoc
					Why people might choose an unethical option.
from Why we behave the way we do at work

Personal value systems or worldviews that can undermine a company’s stated
values include beliefs such as those listed here. These need to be brought into the
open where they can be discussed and challenged …:

   The end justifies the means
    Some people cling to a value system that companies are essentially about profit
    maximisation and will therefore turn a blind eye to how results are obtained.

   If it’s not illegal, it’s OK
    Some managers and employees find it convenient to use the law to justify doing
    the minimum and they can choose to ignore the spirit of the law, which often is its
    ethical dimension.

   It’s not my problem
     Some managers and employees fail to speak up or take appropriate action when
    they see unethical conduct because they are reluctant to become personally
    involved.

   Wishful thinking
    Employees can fail to consider possible negative impacts. They focus on best
    possible outcomes and fail to take into consideration possible downsides. When
    making business decisions, this means that they can fail to take appropriate
    action to minimise potential harm. This can be both unethical and demonstrate
    poor risk management.

   The rules don’t apply to me
    When you make the rules, it’s easy to think you are above the rules. Such has
    been the case for those senior managers who have been found guilty of flouting
    their own company’s rules for personal gain.

   I need to look after myself first
    Egocentric people put their own needs first and see nothing wrong with rorting the
    system for personal gains. The recent spate of public exposures of Federal
    politicians who were found to have fudged their travel expenses is a good
    example of individuals putting their interests before the pub lic good.

   Stakeholders are not my concern
    Milton Friedman argued that the business of business was business. For some,
    this was a convenient argument to avoid the need to consult with those people
    who were being directly affected by the company’s policies. We have come a
    long way since then. It is now widely recognised that companies have not only an
    economic impact on people but also an environmental and social one. These
    people are, therefore, stakeholders in those companies and as such have a right
    to be considered. The environmental movement, the anti-tobacco lobbies and
    other consumer interest groups have brought stakeholders’ interests to the
    attention of management of some of the world’s largest and most powerful
    companies. Through their sustained campaigns, they have demonstrated that,
    whether they like it or not, public companies will be held accountable to the
    communities they affect. Consumers, too, are endorsing a more responsive
    approach and are willing to boycott the products of those companies that do not
    match their value systems.

   I can get away with it
    Opportunities to put self-interest before that of the company exist in most
    organisations. Employees managing personal portfolios on company time;
    managers who take sexual advantage or b ully their staff; employees fudging the
    numbers – all believe they can get away with it until they get caught!

   Pressure of work makes me act this way
    This is perhaps the latest excuse for behaving badly. Increasingly, (employees)
    excuse bullying behaviour because of the pressures of work overload or the
    perceived stress of their jobs. Bullying cultures are not only unethical but also
    can be illegal under government legislation.

                                             Source: Why Ethics Matters: Business Ethics for
                                                   Business people, Attracta Lagan, p44-48.
                                                 reproduced in the Ethics In Action k it OCPE