Organizations are made by the people who form the core of it and this is the reason that every successful organization gives a prime importance to their employees. Not only they give the best to their employees but also ensure that their business runs in an ethical manner. Company’s responsibility to their employees, society and to the world cannot be undermined and this is the reason that it is important for them to conduct their business in an appropriate and ethical manner. Ethical Decision Making is an important aspect that ensures that all companies not only meet but continue to perform at the highest ethical level without leaving any room for laxity.
The rules within organizations are framed keeping the standards that companies want in mind. There are actions that are in interest of the company but there can be actions that can be unethical too. Ethical decision making ensures to promote an ethical conduct while penalizing those actions that are not in line with rules. It is important from preview of ethical decision making to analyze the situation and take appropriate action without being biased or inclined to any one party. This is the reason that ethical decision making requires a right approach and proper steps in order to make sanity prevail within an organization.
Let’s now go through the right approach in terms of the steps and see how ethical decision making gyrates in each part
1) Rules- Ethical decision making has to conform to rules. Each organization has set of standards and rules. Each employee is taught about these rules at the time of their induction and at regular intervals. It is a set of behavior that is desired that separate the ethical from unethical part. The first part of ethical decision making ensures that proper rules are in place and to bring justice to the situations that does not conform to rules. Rules are the benchmark on which any suspected practice can be analyzed.
2) Report- It is important that any instance of unethical practice gets reported in a proper format through appropriate channels as laid down by the company. These are matter of prime importance hence the ethical decision making involves right reporting procedures. The next steps can only be initiated when there is a report that warrants next level of ethical decision making.
3) Seek details-When a report has been received the next step is to seek details. At this point you just have an instance of an unethical issue that needs to be verified. So this step is important to get all details that involve misconduct along with response to inquiries that you might seek. This stage involves taking the proofs and reserving them for the next step of analysis.
4) Analysis- The next stage is to analyze the details and proofs to see whether there has been a violation of rules or not. Competition within and outside organization can lead to both bad and malicious reporting and hence it is important to validate each part of utmost care. The benchmark has always been the company rules and the ethical decision maker needs to be sure whether breached has happened or not.
5) Take Decision- Once an analysis has been done it is important to take decision based on facts by making a proper case for it. Ethical breach has either happened or it has not and there is no middle way to it. The decision involves substantiating the outcome with proof and taking a decision base don it.
6) Communicate Decision- The decision needs to be communicated in an appropriate manner. If violation has not happened it is important to let the appropriate parties know about it. However if indeed a violation has happened, an ethical decision making calls for taking an action as per the rule book. This step involves communicating the decision to the concerned person or parties along with the penalties. This step also involves communicating the future course of action to affected parties.
7) Close the case- The big mistakes that companies often make is that at times they let the case linger on without any action on it. This may happen due to position or nature of the case and the company may not find an urgent need to act upon their decision. An important part of ethical decision making is to close the case by taking action as and when the decision has been communicated. Making it linger for a while only decreases the importance of ethics in workplace.
8) Set example and Move on- There is no harm in setting the examples for the other employees so that they have a full knowledge of it and they themselves avoid making such mistakes at any costs. Additionally it important to clean up the mess and start afresh rather than making the incident spoil the culture in the company. Setting an example, making sure that everyone has a good knowledge of it, and then moving ahead is one of important aspect of Ethical Decision making.
You need to be relaxed and impartial and make sure that justice prevails at all level. So next time if you are part of ethical decision making group make sure to follow the steps for a right and impartial decision.
Picture- Steve Snodgrass
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