Question 1: Define ethical behavior guidelines.

Ethical behavior Guidelines

These are the guidelines issued by an organization for all its employees so that the actions of these employees are in accordance with the values and norms of the organization and ethical conducts considered standard around the world. (Business Dictionary , n.d.)

For example an organization’s guidelines may consist of dress codes or how to handle the matter of customer confidentiality etc.

Question 2: What are some reasons for unethical behavior?

Reasons for Unethical behavior

Ethics are the basic values of morality, decent behavior towards other humans and standard codes of conduct which people expect each other to follow. Like the expectation that you would not be subjected to bad treatment when you have not done anything wrong. Organizations have similar standards of behavior and conducts that they require their employees to follow. But just because something is a required does not mean that it will be adhered to. Unethical behavior in an organization occurs when one or more than one employees fail to follow the codes of ethical conduct and values of their organization. The work (rochester business ethics, n.d.) addressed some of the reasons:

Uncertainty: It is often believed that differentiating between right and wrong is intrinsic in human beings. This may not hold true for some people. Some people find it difficult to decide what actually constitutes unethical or ethical. There criteria of ethical may fall short of the others’ expectations of ethical behavior. This uncertainty leads to the people behaving unethically because they do not realize that their actions are wrong.  

Indifference: Another thing that leads to unethical behavior in employees is when they are indifferent to moral behavior i.e. they do not care what is right or what is wrong.  They only care about what needs to be done and how they do it. They believe that following the moral norms set by the society are in no way beneficial to them and thus they have no reason to follow them.

Greed: One of the root causes of unethical behavior not only in organizations but also in society is the greed of people. The desire for power, the need to have more than others, the need to control others or the most obvious greed for money makes people selfish and blind to ethical conducts.

Stress: In organizations employees are always under stress of one form another. Demands of the boss, peer pressure, need to meet the deadlines, financial problems, personal problems are forms of pressure that can often lead employees in an organization to behave unethically.

Competitiveness: When instead of team work employees are more focused on one upping each other the atmosphere can become negatively competitive, leading employees to behave unethically to beat other employees whom they consider their rivals.

Question 3: How can management and an organization encourage ethical behavior?

Ways to encourage ethical behavior in an organization

Every organization develops a set of guidelines to serve as standards of employee behavior within an organization. These guidelines consist of codes for ethical conduct, values and norms of an organization. There are a number of ways management of an organization can promote encourage ethical behavior, according to the article (Kerns, 2003) some of these are:

Role Models: As they say water trickles down from the top of the tree to the bottom branches. The same is true in any organization, when senior members of the company follow the ethical codes of conduct of, they inspire the juniors to do the same.

Promote Honesty: Organizations should promote honesty and openness within their organizational culture. This will lead employees to be more open in reporting unethical behavior, if they find any. The result is that people become more hesitant in adopting unethical behavior.

Educate the employees: Organizations should not assume that people will be conscientious and will follow the right path. Similar to the training provided for work related areas, organizations should hold seminars so that the employees know the basic standards of ethics that their firm expects them to follow.

Risk vs Rewards: Nothing drives people towards achieving the goal like the prospect of reward. Similarly, nothing stops people from doing wrong expect for the threat of punishment. The organizations should rewards employees who behave ethically so that others are also motivated to do so.

Just Treatment: Employees of an organization are more likely to behave unethically when they believe they are being treated unjustly. In order to promote ethical behavior among the employees, organizations should work on eliminating partiality, corruption, nepotism, wrongful promotions etc.

Following the above mentioned guidelines can help the organizations in promoting their code of conducts among the employees ultimately steering them down the road of ethical behavior.