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Consider an organization you were/are currently involved with.  After providing a short overview of your organization, reflect on the Seven Levels of an Ethical Organization, found in the Gebler article and slide deck, and write a paper answering the following questions (not more than three pages – format of your choosing):

  • What are the focus areas of your organization?  For example, is your organization focused solely on the pursuit of a profit, or is it focused on corporate citizenship and stewardship, or somewhere in between?
  • How do these focus areas relate to the Seven Levels of an Ethical Organization?  What level(s) is your organization operating at?
  • What challenges or opportunities does this present when leading Project Teams? 

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CREATING AN ETHICAL CULTURE David Gebler Strategic Finance; May 2006; 87, 11; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 28

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

MGMT 560 – Organizational Leadership
Ethics and Professional Codes of Conduct

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Dilbert

Ethics

  • a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture
  • the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics
  • that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions

Formal vs Informal

  • Formal Ethics
  • Code of Conduct
  • Oath
  • Board of Ethics
  • Informal Ethics
  • No formal governing body
  • No accountability, other than from client
  • No formal repercussions

Making an Ethical Decision

Recognize the ethical dilemma

Ask yourself, is this the start of a slippery slope

One slip allows the next slip to happen more easily

Would you want your decision to the problem broadcast to the world?

Ethical Situations

  • Maintaining the integrity of company databases in the face of requests to use the data inappropriately
  • Providing truthful information on the status of projects, budgets and profits even when there are problems – being accountable for success and failure
  • Standing firm on a decision despite its unpopularity
  • Reporting suspected unethical behavior of others despite personal discomfort
  • Not developing personal relationships with vendors/ customers/outside agencies – potential conflict of interest issues

Principles for Creating Ethical Cultures

  • Principle 1: The only way to sustain Compliance is through Culture

– Employees want to be part of organizations whose values mirror their own

– Organizations need to reduce fear, encourage accountability and live by a common set of values that build trust

Principles for Creating Ethical Cultures

  • Principle 2: Corporate culture reflects the values of the leaders
  • If Leaders do not embody the ethical standards, then no one else will

Principles for Creating Ethical Cultures

  • Principle 3: Measurement matters – if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it
  • Leadership needs to measure integrity risk and monitor progress in managing it
  • Culture must become a metric

Web of Needs

  • Needs encountered in IT practice:
  • User needs
  • Personal needs
  • Organizational needs
  • Needs of society
  • Others?
  • Framework for Ethical Analysis

Identify web of needs for project

Identify strands of web where conflict is likely to occur

Resolve conflict issues with concerned parties

Agreed needs set recorded and input into requirements analysis


ref. Taylor, M.J. & Moynihan E., Analysing IT Ethics

Ref. D. Gebler, Creating an Ethical Culture

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Level 1 – Financial Stability:

  • Organizations that are consumed with surviving
  • Leaders may exercise excessive control – an environment of fear
  • Unethical or illegal conduct can be rationalized
  • Leaders must know and stand within clear ethical boundaries

Level 2 – Communication:

  • Critical issue is to create a sense of loyalty and belonging among employees and caring and connection between the organization and customers
  • Most critical link is between employees and direct supervisors
  • Fears about belonging and lack of respect lead to fragmentation, dissension, and disloyalty
  • When leaders fail to communicate employees suspect the worst – cliques form and gossip becomes rife

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Level 3 – Systems & Processes:

  • Organization is focused adoption of best practices, quality, productivity, and efficiency
  • Succeed in implementing strong internal controls and clear standards of conduct
  • Being efficient may lead to bureaucracy and inconsistent application of rules – loss of respect for the system
  • May lead to shortcuts – “doing what it takes to succeed”

Level 4 – Accountability:

  • Leaders and employees begin to take responsibility for their actions
  • They want to be held accountable, not micromanaged
  • For an ethics program to be successful, all employees must feel that they have a personal responsibility for the integrity of the organization – leaders must invite employee participation

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Level 5 – Alignment:

  • Critical issue is developing a shared vision and a set of values – vision provides unified purpose and direction; values provide guidance for making decisions
  • Values and behaviors are reflected in processes and systems with appropriate consequences for those who aren’t willing to walk the talk
  • A precondition for success is building a climate of trust

Level 6 – Social Responsibility:

  • The organization is able to use relationships with stakeholders to sustain through crisis and challenge
  • Employees and customers see the organization making a difference in the world
  • Organization goes the extra mile to make sure they are being responsible citizens

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Level 7 – Sustainability:

  • Organization embraces the highest ethical standards in all interactions with employees, suppliers, customers, shareholders, and the community
  • Always consider long-term impact of decisions and actions

Other Considerations:

  • Employee values are distributed across all seven levels
  • Organizations don’t operate from any one level – they tend to cluster around three or four levels (most are clustered on the first three)
  • Successful organizations operate across the full spectrum with focus on the upper levels
  • Lower level organizations – have controls and procedures but may lack accountability and commitment
  • Higher level organizations – visionary leaders and social responsibility but may lack core systems and processes

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