She faced a dilemma, outweighed her options, made a choice, and based it, solely, on her personal situation. She ended up not enriching her organization’s ethics.
On the other hand, her boss acted on his personal preference. He, too, faced a dilemma, made clearly unethical choice and kept acting on it. Therefore, he not only did not help develop ethics in his organization, he compromised its integrity.
In this particular case individual differences and preferences proved to be more important than ethics. Here, the ethical principles were not enforced from the leadership level, or followed by the individuals within the organization.
I see organizational ethics as a two way road. On the road, a car, driven by a manager, is heading to meet the other car, driven by an employee. The manager is supposed to give the employee a set of instructions how to deal with ethical questions. Unfortunately, in this case, they never meet.
In recent years, with the discovery of unethical business practices in several big and “prominent” companies, the public started looking more closely into how business is conducted. The focus of this new interest became the ethics in business organizations and how ethical guidelines are followed.
We perceive ethics as simply distinguishing right from wrong. On the organizational level this means treating employees and business partners fairly, and leaving no doubt or room for questions about implementation of organizational policies on ethics.
Many organizations do have policies and procedures in place to guide individuals in confronting and resolving ethical dilemmas. But, often times that is not enough. What is needed is overall organizational culture in which top management leadership, by clear example, leads everyone else within the organization in navigating the rough waters of ethics. After all, managers and other leaders are the ones facing dilemmas more frequently than