How to Improve the Organizational Ethical Climate

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Ethical values lay the foundation for success in an organization, and mission statements, vision statements and strategies should be subservient to those values, according to The Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics, a renowned leadership-training organization. In fact, according to the center, no company is exempt from the need to develop an ethical climate that protects everyone from harm -- the leaders themselves, the workers, those that depend upon the company and the public. Instilling ethics is a challenge, but a necessary and rewarding one.

  • Create a "Statement of Ethics" that lays out the expected behavior and responses from everyone in the company, from the CEO to the lowest-ranking clerk. Have all current employees and future hires sign the statement as a condition of their employment.

  • Issue a public declaration of the importance of the statement. Management should vow support the statement and will do whatever it takes to see it enforced across the board at all levels of the company.

  • Communicate the company's stance about ethics when appropriate. Remind the company employees and all who do business with the company that certain behavior is expected, while others will not be tolerated.

  • Provide a protected means of communication to enable an employee or anyone else to alert a responsible party to the unethical behavior of other employees. Insist that all charges must be detailed enough to prevent someone from making up false charges to harass another employee.

  • Develop ethical leaders within the organization by emphasizing the importance of hiring, promoting and rewarding those with high ethical standards. This creates a climate where role models are presented as worthy of emulating.

  • Provide training such as sending select employees to seminars and classes on how ethics impact a company.

Tips & Warnings

  • Employees are quick to spot hypocrisy among senior management regarding ethics.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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