While today’s culture suggests that we are becoming a more caring and upstanding people, there still seems to be a lack of ethical behavior in the United States population. This country prides itself on being founded on freedom and justice for all people, however it seems to have lost sight of that, and the blame falls partially on the leaders of the country and partially on the everyday people.
According to Northouse (1998) “ethics is central to leadership, and leaders help to establish and reinforce organizational values” (p. 428), and while there are some politicians striving for this goal, most are only striving for their own power or using that position of power to exploit people. One prime example is “the case of Mark Sanford the Governor of South Carolina who was caught cheating on his wife while he was supposedly hiking on the Appalachian Trail was re-elected to his old congressional seat this year.” (“Lack of Ethics in Politics”, 2013). Another recent incident is the director of the Clinton Township fund director who was found guilty on 14 counts of public corruption,” (Hotts, 2019, January 24) and “had even more schemes than he was charged with, including paying UAW officials kickbacks to gain a union contract for a former training school he operated and extorting township contractors to give him free VIP tickets for concerts as well as plowing the snow on his street.” (Hotts, 2019, January 24). There are many more examples, but these are just two of people who were trusted and respected in their positions and used them for their own desires and still got away with minimal punishmentOrder now
This is not only happening within the leaders of America, but also it’s people. “Says Lisa Ordonez, Vice Dean and professor at the University of Arizona, ‘Goals have a strong effect of causing tunnel vision, narrowly focusing people at the expense of seeing much else around them, including the potential consequences of compromised choices made to reach goals.’ Once people sense the risk of failure, they go into “loss prevention” mode, fearing the loss of job, status, or at-risk incentives.” (Carucci, 2016, December 16). People nowadays have been raised on a “succeed or fail” culture and that has fed unethical behavior in others in order to complete their goal, whatever it may be, and not think about the consequences of the actions.
Improve the Decisions
According to Dr. Fred Guy, “Adults are so busy and focused on so much other than ethical issues that we don’t often stop to think coherently about what our moral principles really are. Or what we think of our own moral character. We just assume we’re good people and let it go at that.’ (Zareva, 2017, October 19). As a whole, people need to be more conscious of the decisions we’re making and what is actually morally right or wrong among people. Guy tells people to ask the questions, “Are we aware of the ethical issue we’re a part of? What are my moral beliefs? What do I stand for? Given the facts of the case, our own personal ethics, and the consequences that our decision and action will have on others, what is the best thing to do in this case?” (Zareva, 2017, October 19)
Can ethics be taught? Without thinking too hard, the obvious answer would be yes, however it is a little more difficult when you really take time to think about it. When asked the question, Jeffrey Seglin, an ethics professor of Emerson college, said, “My answer is usually, `No,” said Jeffrey Seglin. I don’t think you can teach right and wrong. You can help people with ideas about how to make critical decisions.’ (Burns, Cohen, 2006, June 7). You can teach people how to see when something is right or wrong, but you cannot teach them to follow through on those decisions.
Work Environment Culture
I learned how to conduct myself in the work environment by rules my employers had already laid out when the business was put in place, and because of my trainer. I had differing opinions of people in leadership, but my trainer drilled into me what was right and wrong in the business I was in and if she would see me mess up, she would be honest and upfront that I had made a mistake and tell me how to fix it. This also happened if I showed attitude, whether to customers or to coworkers, accidental or on purpose, and she would tell me what was acceptable and if I was not meeting the standard. This also happens when dealing with customers.
In my workplace, we are required to sell memberships to the store and hit a certain number to raise sales. The membership does cost a fee, and I have had previous co-workers lie and not mention the fee, but sell it anyways. All of those employees have been caught doing so and they got in huge trouble for it, so I have learned to be honest when dealing with that side of the business, as a responsibility to my employers and their business and to the loyalty of our customers. I also just conducted myself in ways that I had been taught, by my parents, learned behavior, and past employers (i.e. lying is wrong, if you do not know if something is right, ask someone who does, go over the company’s policy, etc).
My personal ethical standards are based mostly off of my religious beliefs, but in general, they only vary a little to my work ethical standards. My work standards are foremostly based off of work policy rules (laid out in a packet that was given to me on my first day), which states what the company and my employer expect of me (i.e. being respectful and honest to customers and fellow workers, do not steal, go above what is expected of you, etc).
My personal standards are based on what my parents have taught me and how they raised me, my friends opinions, and what I believe in a religious point of view. I view most things through the last lense, but my parents brought me up with a good sense of right and wrong.
Stakeholders are the main investors in a business. “Along with owners, customers, communities, employees, business partners and suppliers are key groups. Customers expect you to operate a business honestly and fairly while also offering a value-oriented solution. Communities expect companies to get involved and to give back. Employees expect a fair working environment. Business partners and suppliers expect you to manage your business relationships with high integrity and responsibility.” (Kokemuller,
One time, I was extremely low on money and I really needed to get gas. In my house, I know where my mom keeps her spare money hidden and I was faced with the choice of taking her money to get gas or not doing so. In the end, I did end up taking the money, but I felt horrible afterwards so when I got paid next, I repaid her and told her what happened and she was gracious and told me to not do that again and why it was wrong.