The article observes a method for evaluating ethics in an organization. It is based on a concept that Robert S. Hartman has created, and his student Wayne Carpenter developed further. The axiological model defines three main value kinds – intrinsic thinking, extrinsic thinking, and systemic thinking. Additionally, the author has researched a small organization. The strengths of the presented method are connected to its difference from the more usual questions and answers techniques. It allows to minimize the issues of self-bias and find the blind spots in the decision making process. However, the research was conducted with a small group, therefore it can be difficult to utilize in larger companies. Additionally, the author did not clarify which process of thinking is the most effective or how to avoid subjectivism in this method. The value of the presented information to the society is in the possibility to objectively observe the behavior of individuals and identify problems. The article introduces the axiological model and presents valuable research, which can be used by companies to evaluate the actual ethical values of the organization and their alignment with the corporate culture.
The first part of the article covers the theoretical material, used for further research. Robert S. Hartman created the axiology concept in the middle of the twentieth century. He was driven by the idea to find a scientific method for value measuring without the subjective interpretations. In his work, he came to the conclusion that goodness should be considered the fulfillment of standards. Additionally, Hartman distinguished three main value kinds – intrinsic thinking, extrinsic thinking, and systemic thinking. The first one is concerned with the uniqueness of individuals. The second one focuses on the ability to measure material things. Finally, the third kind is defined by the focus on rules, systems, and conceptual organization. Hartman’s student, Wayne Carpenter, further developed his work by creating an instrument that can be utilized to define the thinking and decision-making processes of individuals. The axiological approach measures how a person is thinking as well as what they are thinking about. To estimate the values, it is critical to observe a person’s actions in a situation. This is contrary to a more typical approach of asking questions. The author argues that the latter approach is useless due to the pressures that surround people regarding political correctness and other issues.
The second part of the article is a summary of the research, conducted by the author. In the study, he measured the values of the top management and the employees of a small company. In total, the organization had 70 employees and was dealing with processing. Firstly, the author identifies the organizational stress and its causes. Secondly, he stated that the management was not sure about the actual values of their company, which was further backed up by the research data. He identified three main components of the organization’s vision – the moral code, personal and practical ethics, which correspond with the three value kinds (intrinsic, extrinsic and systemic). When comparing the results of management and employees, he stated that the first group was more focused on the conscience. On the other hand, the second group believed that their judgments would not be taken into account. The research has discovered the gaps in the thinking of different groups in the organization. It identified the blind spots that top management did not take into account. Finally, it helped to see the difference between the ethics that the leadership was communicating and those that were present in the organization.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The strengths of the presented method are the illumination of self-bias that is present in the question-answer techniques, the possibility to identify blind spots, and the ability to find differences in the actual ethical standards and those that are communicated by the leaders. Firstly, it allows evaluating the ethics more objectively by looking at the person’s actions. When a method is solely based on a person’s answers to the provided questions, it is subjected to many factors that influence the results. As presented by the author, people can try to adjust their responses to show their appreciation for the values that their company states or to be politically correct. While observing the behavior gives a much clearer understanding of the kind of values the person possesses. Capturing the decision-making process while the decisions are being made is much more effective.
The weaknesses of the article are the small research sample, a lack of clarification of what method of thinking is the most effective for organizations, and the issues with subjectivism when observing a person’s behavior. Firstly, the experiment was conducted on a small company with 70 employees. While the results are valuable, as they have established flaws in the culture, it is questionable whether it is possible to conduct such research in a larger scale organization. Such research would require significant resources, both human and capital.
Secondly, the method does not identify which of the provided structures of ethical thinking is the most effective in commercial organizations. The author stated that this research is helpful for illuminating the stress and helping employee’s motivation. However, it is not mentioned what model of thinking organizations should adopt to achieve effectiveness. Finally, it can be argued that observing the behavior of the personnel and management is subjected to bias, as in the cases with questioners, when people can answer by the corporate policy or political correctness. In case of observing actions, when people know they are being watched, they can adjust their behavior. Therefore, there the method can have flaws as well.
Importance to Society
The presented evaluation method possesses great value to the society. Ethics are difficult to measure correctly. Therefore many organizations can struggle with having a gap between the actual and communicated values. Additionally, the issue of identifying the values is essential, as without understanding the problem correctly it cannot be fixed. Without a defined vision, the employees can act by their ethics, which do not always correspond with the general corporate culture. These differences can be transmitted to the society, as without clearly defined ethical values people can be confused about the right and wrong aspect. Additionally, without it, the nation is subjected to having the blind spots, where issues are disregarded. Some moral values can be communicated by the government but not regarded as necessary to the society.
The method allows identifying the gap in the thinking and decision making of people which gives an opportunity to fix the issue. Utilizing the technique in the social sciences can help understand the ethic’s problem more correctly, as it does not have the subjectivism of the question-answer methods. The observing of the behavior provides a clearer picture of how people think and make decisions. Furthermore, because this technique is more effective, it can help find the blind spots of the issues that are disregarded by the society. As was identified in the provided research, the leadership of the company was not aware of the employee’s moral code perception. This leads to issues with the surveillance being the primary motivator for work. In a society, the gap between the leadership and the population’s understanding can lead to severe problems as well. The proposed method can be used to adequately observe the behavior of people, align the values that are shown through it with those that are communicated and identify the issue that arises.
Overall, the article observes the ethics evaluation method, based on Robert S. Hartman and Wayne Carpenter’s work. Additionally, the author provides research data from a small company. The issues identified with the method are the gap between the decision-making process of the company’s leaders and the employees’ and the blind spots of the management’s value perception. The strengths of the method are the illumination of self-bias that is present in the question-answer methods, the possibility to identify blind spots, and the ability to find differences in the actual ethical standards and those that are communicated by the leaders. The weaknesses of the method are the small research sample, lack of clarification of what method of thinking is the most effective for organizations, and the issues with subjectivism. The method is essential to society because it presents an opportunity to identify the ethics issues more objectively through observing the behavior of people.