behavior is the manner in which organizations adhere their functions, since it
is the thought of what is correct and incorrect practice (Lawrence & Weber,
2014, p. 69). The concept of what is right or wrong comes from many
sources. Many individuals have learned
that simple behavior from our upbringing.
However in the corporate environment, these values are similarly simple
but have regulatory oversight to ensure they are being followed correctly. In order to be a strong organization, a
company needs to follow rules that are put in place from the U.S. Corporate
Sentencing Guidelines and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. These guidelines and regulations explain how
organizations are held accountable to the information they report based on the
punishment and sentencing that can occur from false information, as well as the
need to have compliance officers to ensure the public is receiving accurate
information (Lawrence & Weber, 2014, p. 73-74). The purpose of these regulations is to
protect investors from deceitful business practices that would benefit a
corporation, and to have those corporations enact higher ethical standards to
adhere to. These types of higher
standards would include items such as conflict of interest statements, code of
ethics statements, compliance officers, compliance hotlines, and routine audits
(Lawrence & Weber, 2014, p. 99-101).
The statements and compliance audits help understand what work is being
conducted within the policies and procedures previously outlined by the
organization. By having a compliance
officer compare the work to policy, it will then allow that officer to verify
if it is within regulatory guidelines.
Compliance officers need to develop awareness and training programs that
will help the organization maintain their ethical practices. Realizing that all individuals have a shared
ownership in this matter will ensure that an ethical culture is working within
the organization from the employees to executives. Success comes from a team that works together
and does not penalize individuals for pointing out errors and omissions. That type of open communication will help an
organization transform to allow for larger growth.
comparing corporate ethics programs for organizations, one needs to evaluate if
the company is looking to keep the public and investors informed of their operations,
or just making a statement that is required due to the public outcry based on
ethical scandals. The Sony website
describes their ethics and compliance approach.
They maintain that their organization is functioning as an established
ethical company that works within the regulations since their business values
are put in place by their leadership team.
Those values include competitive business, protection of information and
property, as well as concerns for human rights and the environment (Sony, n.d.,
para. 1). The Sony website goes on to
further discuss how they are committed to provide ethical compliance through
their compliance programs and personnel.
They state they have compliance teams in all their business units and
each are collaborative in their efforts to work towards regulatory
fulfillment. They offer continual
training and education to staff and have many layers to report concerns without
reprisal. Lastly, they commit to
providing the necessary staffing to maintain an ethical business practice
(Sony, n.d., para. 2-3).
Microsoft, they post their ethics and compliance statement online. In this listing, they refer to their
responsibility to be an ethical corporation, as well as how they have
established a compliance officer who has the overall responsibility but reports
directly to the CEO and board (Microsoft, n.d., para. 1-3). These opening statements show how they frame
their structure around trust and how they are placing the onus on the
compliance team. They list out the
multiple levels of the compliance and legal teams to show the importance and
level that this is reporting into. They
also show how they are looking out for the consumer, regulatory guidelines and
the shareholders. There is no mention of
how they work within their organization on maintaining corporate ethics, or how
they instill those values into their staff.
Microsoft does mention their Standards of Business Conduct (Microsoft,
n.d., para. 1), which then connects you to another link. This link contains a fifty eight-page
document that explains how they work towards an ethical environment. In these standards they explain how employees
are responsible for their ethical behavior and that of their fellow
employees. It then goes on to list how
to report any questionable behavior, as well as the appropriate hotline phone
numbers and corresponding email information.
organizations take the time to express their concerns for ethical behavior, as
well as provide the appropriate methods to educate, report, and monitor corporate
compliance so as to adhere with government guidelines. But making statements are that alone, just
words that are written to meet a requirement.
It is not until you write additional plans that you are able to show how
an organization is going to attack the issues around ethical behavior. Most employees will look towards leadership
to set the pace and tone of how to act and behave at work. Ethical and moral decisions need to be made
and modeled so others can see what is expected.
Having reports and information published with the correct information is
the beginning. Also, having quality-organized
goals will help employees understand what is expected of them. Training and education in compliance matters
will help further their understanding.
Together, staff and leadership can become the ethical voice for an
organization once they realize that all have the same responsibility in the
end. Audit and compliance teams are in
place to ensure that the workplace is following policies and procedures. Sony needs to further show how they are
working with their staff to advance their knowledge and awareness on compliance
matters. Posting additional plans and
information on how they maintain their requirements with employees will help
ease consumer or investor concerns. Microsoft
has a well-developed plan that explains their program on how all individuals
within the organization are responsible for ethical and moral behavior. However, it is not quickly apparent. In order to get to this information, the individual
has to go through multiple website layers to find this great plan. Having it more visible and understanding what
the true meaning of their standards are will help see the lengths they go
through to obtain ethical compliance for their teams. Morality and ethics are individual choices
that are learned behaviors. Having
additional methods of education and examples to learn from will help staff
better understand their role in achieving and maintaining these standards. Everyone within the organization is
responsible for working in a professional and ethical manner.