Ethics and Leadership in American Companies

Nowadays, workplace improvements play an important role in organizational development and growth. It is not enough to stay competitive or hire many people. It is necessary for companies to demonstrate appropriate attitudes and the abilities to develop strong and effective business relationships. In this paper, several important ethical aspects will be discussed to understand the worth of leadership in several American companies. The identification of certain ethical issues, holiness and justice concerns, affirmative action, concealing information, vocation, legal and moral dilemmas, deception, intentional ambiguity, and disciplinary action help to build effective philosophies and frameworks where the role of God is as important as the creation of a successful business in the modern world.

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Prevailing Values and Ethical Systems

Present companies pay much attention to the development of appropriate ethical systems and the introduction of prevailing values in terms of which people determine their behavior, make decisions, and cooperate. I was lucky to work in different companies, including Dunkin’ Donuts, the Assemblies of God, and G4S. This experience provides me with certain benefits and helps to understand that, despite a variety of core values and missions, American companies aim at promoting high standards of life and distributing duties fairly.

The members of the Assemblies of God believe that they help the lost and show how to worship God in a proper way. It is not enough to guide people, but it is necessary to invest, plant, and passionately proclaim (Assemble of God, n.d.). Dunkin’ Donuts is a company that is far from church affairs. Still, its policies and philosophies help to improve a general picture of the American style of life. The employees of this company appreciate such issues as loyalty, high quality, and respect for all people’s tastes explaining their mission as what America is actually running on (Dunkin’ Donuts, n.d.). Unfortunately, modern people do not value ethical behavior as it should be. Many leaders prefer to value the bottom life over such concepts as ethics, trust, and faith (“Interview with H.B. London,” n.d.). However, the experience at G4S decreases personal doubts about the worth of ethical systems in business and leadership. The company believes that prevailing values and ethics are the standards that have to be set by people for themselves only (G4S, n.d.). These values should not create either threats or limitations for people. They help to reflect on personal behaviors and meet organizational needs (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2015). Ethical values are not just ordinary standards that create a strong working environment. These values help to identify personal responsibilities, stay honest with people, and avoid organizational conflicts.

Holiness Concerns

There is a thought that one of the main challenges leaders and employees face in the workplace is the lack of God’s understanding and respect. People stop believing in the power of God when they talk about business and the development of partnerships. In other words, some companies continue questioning the concept of holiness depriving themselves of the opportunity to achieve positive results. According to Hill (2008), modern business that is roughly conducted is an antithetical concept of holiness that is usually defined as an ideal standard. Sometimes, it is hard or even impossible to combine holiness and business. Therefore, people address their local ministries to find a way to correct decisions and improve an understanding of holiness. In my organization, I face such holiness concern as truth-telling. One of the goals the company has to achieve is to attract people and make them believe in the correctness of their choice. However, it is not always possible to present a perfect product or service. Marketing and advertising are used to cover the doubtful aspects and concerns. People receive information, but some pieces are covert or not actually true. The solution to this concern includes various organizational improvements and developments so that people can use what they see in ads.

Justice Concerns

When people are misled or receive wrong information, certain justice concerns appear. It is hard for people to stay just all the time, and human feelings about fairness and justice may vary at work or school considerably (Griffin & Moorhead, 2012). For example, there was a situation in my organization when one manager stole an idea from another manager in the marketing department. Some people were aware of that lie. However, because of the lack of evidence, it was impossible to report on it to the leader. On the one hand, there were no official discussions, competitions, or obligations that could lead to the loss of benefits. On the other hand, the majority of employee knew the truth and could not help but wonder how to resolve such justice concern. In the end, the leader approved the offered idea and asked to develop it thoroughly. Unfortunately, “the thief” was not ready to deal with all those nuts and bolts of the case, and the competition was organized for those who were able to work on a project. As it was expected, “the original author” of the idea was involved and gained certain financial benefits and emotional support in the company. This resolution proved that justice is something that is led by God. If it meant to be, it would be.

Concept of Vocation and Barriers

In fact, destiny plays an important role in the choice of job. The concept of vocation is one of those beliefs that help to improve organizational behavior and strength the thought that God leads people to certain tasks and situations (Hill, 2008). There were several situations when I could apply the concept of vocation to my career in ministry. First, I always believed that there was a kind of power that protected people despite their race, gender, ethnicity, and status. God is available to everyone, and there is no discrimination against people who ask for such help. My job in the ministry is my attempt to help people and promote equality for all who are in need. I worked at several companies before I came to the ministry. The thing that people call experience, I call probation and my readiness to work for and with God. I was able to pass through all barriers, including my personal concerns, a lack of knowledge and practice, and the inability to make correct decisions at once. When God sees true intentions of people, he helps in many different ways.

Legal but Less than Ethical

I observed many situations when people were not ready to accept God for making solutions and discussing their business concerns. The point is that certain ethical beliefs are usually general and subjective. When people rely on ethics, they examine their personal beliefs and check evidence regarding their personal or organizational goals (Mason, 2018). Sometimes, such attitudes may be not enough or not appropriate. Some situations may be unethical, but still legal, and business leaders find it normal to choose unethically but legally approved decisions. For example, it is legal and appropriate to pay a minimum wage to the employees who have to work full-time and perform a number of tasks. Though all around understand how unethical such situation is, nothing can be done to solve such problem. Though some people prefer to strike or find new jobs, these steps can hardly solve the existing problem. The inability to estimate the work of employees leads to poor motivation, enthusiasm, and desire to work hard. One of my friends faced such situation in the workplace. A group of employees was not satisfied with the payment conditions for the amount of job they had to prefer. They decided to talk to their leader, gave evidence to support their position, explained their demands and improvements, and came to the same conclusion. As a result, the increase of wage was observed in several months, and the level of job satisfaction was priceless for the company.

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Moral Dilemmas

The presence of legal and ethical aspects in the workplace, it is necessary for the company to have special agents and analytics who are able to evaluate different situations, make comparisons, and find effective solutions. As an agent in my organization, I witnessed multiple moral dilemmas and unpredictable steps with the help of which those dilemmas’ resolution was possible. I realized that ethics could be rather dangerous to people’s careers and that danger could come from the sides less expected (Boatright, 2013). The most frequent moral dilemmas were based on employees’ request to cover each other when they sneak out of work earlier or for some time during a working day. Some people keep their promises and continue covering even if they have to lie to their managers. Some employees are not ready to put the interests of others higher than their own needs and demands. In fact, such request raises millions of questions and a number of solutions. Each time, as an organizational agent, I observed several similar cases per week. The results of these dilemmas differed as well. In some cases, cooperation and teamwork were considerably improved and led to increased work capacity. However, the same situations could lead to conflicts and involved leaders in their solutions.

Deception in the Workplace

Talking about the improvements in the workplace, it is necessary to pay special attention to the cases of deceptive behavior. Deception may be deliberate and accidental. However, the outcomes of such behavior are not as easy to predict as to offer this term classification. Lies happen everywhere, and people should be ready to deal with it (Goman, 2013). The case of deception in my workplace I witnessed several months ago was an example of defensive and possible justified lie of the employee who missed the meeting and explained that no one told him about the time. As there was no person who was responsible for providing employees with information, that lie was accepted. However, I knew it was a lie because that person told me about the time of the meeting several days ago, and I was present there. That case did not change the work of the company. Still, my personal trust to that employee was considerably changed. Now, I am not confident if it is safe to cooperate with that person. His lie could happen again.

Moral Duties Conflicted

Employees have moral duties in the workplace. When these duties are conflicted, certain problems and misunderstandings occur. The example of such situation was when our leader decided to fire one manager but did not inform about any risks. The leader started job interviews and searched for a good replacement. When the employee whose work was at risk got to know about it, she was confused and disappointed. She wondered why she was not informed about possible challenges. The employer told that there was nothing to discuss at that moment. The situation was inconvenient because the employer wanted to analyze all options before the final decision was made. At the same time, no information and explanations were given. The conflict was evident, and it was ended with the manager leaving the office the next day because of rude communication.

Intentional Ambiguity

Intentional ambiguity is another significant aspect in the workplace. Sometimes, it frustrates employees and customers. In some cases, leaders use ambiguity to promote creativity and positive results. For example, our leader gives us a task, ask not to bother him during the next two days, and demonstrate the results in three days. The instructions are ambiguous. Still, the price of such completion is high. Some employees may wait until the last day and clarify all the instructions believing that they can complete the task in a short period. Several groups interpret the task in their own way and develop strong projects meeting the deadline. The leader clarifies if his intentional ambiguity is justified and compares the results. Enthusiasm and creativity of the groups who do not clarify the detail are appreciated.

Concealing Information

Many employees do not like to share their knowledge and information not to lose any kind of power or priority. However, concealing information is the factor that makes many people feel uncomfortable in the workplace and provokes tension, misunderstandings, and even conflicts. There was one unpleasant situation when one employee of our department did not share the information that it was the birthday of one of our colleagues, believing that such information was available to everyone. As a result, the birthday colleague came to the office, and no one congratulated him. When that “aware” employee came to the office and said his greetings and congratulations, all of us were surprised. Though we were managed to organize an office party quickly, such concealing information was the reason not to invite that “team member” to the party.

Unfair Disciplinary Action

Though I have never witnessed an unfair disciplinary action at work because our leader is a fair and honest person who can be an example for everyone, I know that this term is defined as any unfair act that may occur between an employee and an employer. This conduct may be related to a probation period, promotion conditions, dismissal reasons, or re-employment. For example, an employee is promoted and takes a new position in the company where a regular salary per month system is replaced with a new bonus system and the possibility to be developed. Though the idea of promotion and motivation seem to be good, the employee understands that all these steps are taken just to pay him less completing almost the same amounts of work.

Affirmative Action

In the workplace, affirmative action promotes the conditions under which minorities and women have to be provided with certain benefits and opportunities due to the historical prejudice that left these groups of people behind many years. I have positive views on affirmative action because I believe that the lessons of the past should not be forgotten. Many organizations still do not want to hire young women because they can have parental leaves or other personal problems. It is wrong to compare employees regarding their racial or gender background. Affirmative action is a chance for all people to stay equal in the workplace.

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Environmental Philosophy

I truly believe in the power of environmentalism in the workplace. Though my environmental policy has only begun and includes several investigations and research papers, I believe that I can promote my ideas with time. My idea is to remove all paperwork from the office and use technologies to share information, make calculations, and offer services. If people use less paper, more trees can be saved. The only moral dilemma of my environmental policy is that even one or one hundred companies accept the idea of a paperless office, the production of paper can hardly be stopped in a short period. Many people have doubts about the importance of such a step.

Holiness, Justice and Love Framework

According to Hill (2008), holiness, justice, and love are the three main characteristics of God that may be used in the workplace. In comparison to other ethical frameworks and standards I have a chance to use in my life, this framework turns out to be a significant discovery and improvement of my career. It has changed my moral reasoning in several ways. First, I believe that pursuing holiness can be used to understand the worth of career goals and employee relationships. Justice is an integral part of the relationships that millions of people strive for. Finally, love is an opportunity to create appropriate working conditions and promote the development of trustful and fair organizations. People want to be treated properly, and this framework is a guide on how to make changes in the workplace with less harm and stronger beliefs.

Conclusion

In general, the process of writing this paper helps to develop a strong attitude to the relationships that are usually established in the workplace. This research helps to comprehend that despite their intentions to create perfect societies and organizations, people are far from their goal because they are bothered with meeting their personal needs and organizational benefits. Many people create organizations without even thinking about the possible role of God in their growth. The evaluation of different ethical concepts and the recognition of holiness as an important factor in the workplace provides with a great chance to learn from the mistakes of other people and improve my work and attitudes to my current and future colleagues and leaders.

References

Assemble of God. (n.d.). Mission & core values. Web.

Boatright, J.R. (2013). Confronting ethical dilemmas in the workplace. Financial Analysts Journal, 69(5), 6-9.

Dunkin’ Donuts. (n.d.). About us. Web.

G4S. (n.d.). Our values. Web.

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Goman, C.K. (2013). The 10 most common workplace lies. Forbes. Web.

Griffin, R. W., & Moorhead, G. (2012). Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations (10th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning Inc.

Hill, A. (2008). Just business: Christian ethics for the marketplace (Rev. ed.). Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.

Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G.J. (2015). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience (8th ed.). Boston: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.

Interview with H.B. London: Ethics and ministry – Living above reproach. Web.

Mason, E. (2011). Do the right thing: An account of subjective obligation. In M.C. Timmons (Ed.), Oxford studies in normative ethics (pp. 117-137). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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