Characteristics of an Ethical Organization

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Many times, society's demands on organizations include a strong ethics code.
Many times, society's demands on organizations include a strong ethics code. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

As the Internet connects people all over the world, more and more people seem to take an interest in ethical businesses. People now understand that by supporting an organization, they support the way that organization functions. Although one organization may choose to focus on customer service while another supports environmental efforts, certain characteristics remain congruent throughout the gamut of ethical businesses.

Value System

Management of an ethical organizational should pen a company-wide value statement, outlining all of the positive impacts that the company intends to bring into action, according to Anne Federwich of Santa Clara University. A company should align value statements with its performance; do not create a value statement that does not match the actions of the company. For example, a company that has been cited for creating environmental disasters might want to steer clear of a value statement that says, “We put all of our energy into creating a more livable planet.” A more appropriate value statement might read, “We play an active role in developing environmentally safe technology.”

Employee Reviews

In addition to a value statement, an ethical company should review its employees’ values, according to Federwich. This means looking beyond performance and seeing how the employees’ actions align with the value statement set by the company. Take, for example, a company with the following value statement: “To positively impact the environment.” In reviews, managers should reward employees that participate in company recycling programs and show environmental concern. Additionally, an employee that points out the company’s negative environmental impact should not be punished for doing so.

Against Bullying

One of the elements of an ethical organization is the willingness to create a safe work environment for employees. This means ending all workplace bullying situations, and taking actions to create a space where bullying cannot occur. Susannah Arnim of the University of Phoenix suggests taking the following steps to end workplace bullying: Promote teamwork rather than competition and enforce clear rules on workplace etiquette.

Workplace Diversity

By promoting workplace diversity, the ethical business supports global or community equality. But diversity doesn’t just apply to race and gender. Diversity also applies to background, sexual orientation, family status, age or any other elements that are different from the cultural majority. By promoting diversity in the workplace, a business increases productivity and remains competitive within a global market, according to “Current Status and Future Trends of Diversity Initiatives in the Workplace: Diversity Experts’ Perspective.” In addition to supporting a successful business, workplace diversity supports an integrated and interdependent community outside of the workplace.

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