Ethicalbehavior is the manner in which organizations adhere their functions, since itis the thought of what is correct and incorrect practice (Lawrence & Weber,2014, p. 69).
The concept of what is right or wrong comes from manysources. Many individuals have learnedthat simple behavior from our upbringing. However in the corporate environment, these values are similarly simplebut have regulatory oversight to ensure they are being followed correctly.
In order to be a strong organization, acompany needs to follow rules that are put in place from the U.S. CorporateSentencing Guidelines and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. These guidelines and regulations explain howorganizations are held accountable to the information they report based on thepunishment and sentencing that can occur from false information, as well as theneed to have compliance officers to ensure the public is receiving accurateinformation (Lawrence & Weber, 2014, p.
73-74). The purpose of these regulations is toprotect investors from deceitful business practices that would benefit acorporation, and to have those corporations enact higher ethical standards toadhere to. These types of higherstandards would include items such as conflict of interest statements, code ofethics statements, compliance officers, compliance hotlines, and routine audits(Lawrence & Weber, 2014, p. 99-101). The statements and compliance audits help understand what work is beingconducted within the policies and procedures previously outlined by theorganization. By having a complianceofficer compare the work to policy, it will then allow that officer to verifyif it is within regulatory guidelines. Compliance officers need to develop awareness and training programs thatwill help the organization maintain their ethical practices. Realizing that all individuals have a sharedownership in this matter will ensure that an ethical culture is working withinthe organization from the employees to executives.
Success comes from a team that works togetherand does not penalize individuals for pointing out errors and omissions. That type of open communication will help anorganization transform to allow for larger growth.Whencomparing corporate ethics programs for organizations, one needs to evaluate ifthe 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 onethical scandals. The Sony websitedescribes their ethics and compliance approach.
They maintain that their organization is functioning as an establishedethical company that works within the regulations since their business valuesare put in place by their leadership team. Those values include competitive business, protection of information andproperty, as well as concerns for human rights and the environment (Sony, n.d.,para. 1). The Sony website goes on tofurther discuss how they are committed to provide ethical compliance throughtheir compliance programs and personnel.
They state they have compliance teams in all their business units andeach are collaborative in their efforts to work towards regulatoryfulfillment. They offer continualtraining and education to staff and have many layers to report concerns withoutreprisal. Lastly, they commit toproviding the necessary staffing to maintain an ethical business practice(Sony, n.d., para. 2-3).As forMicrosoft, they post their ethics and compliance statement online.
In this listing, they refer to theirresponsibility to be an ethical corporation, as well as how they haveestablished a compliance officer who has the overall responsibility but reportsdirectly to the CEO and board (Microsoft, n.d., para.
1-3). These opening statements show how they frametheir structure around trust and how they are placing the onus on thecompliance team. They list out themultiple levels of the compliance and legal teams to show the importance andlevel that this is reporting into. Theyalso show how they are looking out for the consumer, regulatory guidelines andthe shareholders. There is no mention ofhow they work within their organization on maintaining corporate ethics, or howthey 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-pagedocument that explains how they work towards an ethical environment. In these standards they explain how employeesare responsible for their ethical behavior and that of their fellowemployees. It then goes on to list howto report any questionable behavior, as well as the appropriate hotline phonenumbers and corresponding email information.Bothorganizations take the time to express their concerns for ethical behavior, aswell as provide the appropriate methods to educate, report, and monitor corporatecompliance so as to adhere with government guidelines. But making statements are that alone, justwords that are written to meet a requirement. It is not until you write additional plans that you are able to show howan organization is going to attack the issues around ethical behavior.
Most employees will look towards leadershipto set the pace and tone of how to act and behave at work. Ethical and moral decisions need to be madeand modeled so others can see what is expected. Having reports and information published with the correct information isthe beginning.
Also, having quality-organizedgoals will help employees understand what is expected of them. Training and education in compliance matterswill help further their understanding. Together, staff and leadership can become the ethical voice for anorganization once they realize that all have the same responsibility in theend. Audit and compliance teams are inplace to ensure that the workplace is following policies and procedures. Sony needs to further show how they areworking with their staff to advance their knowledge and awareness on compliancematters. Posting additional plans andinformation on how they maintain their requirements with employees will helpease consumer or investor concerns. Microsofthas a well-developed plan that explains their program on how all individualswithin the organization are responsible for ethical and moral behavior.
However, it is not quickly apparent. In order to get to this information, the individualhas to go through multiple website layers to find this great plan. Having it more visible and understanding whatthe true meaning of their standards are will help see the lengths they gothrough to obtain ethical compliance for their teams. Morality and ethics are individual choicesthat are learned behaviors. Havingadditional methods of education and examples to learn from will help staffbetter understand their role in achieving and maintaining these standards.
Everyone within the organization isresponsible for working in a professional and ethical manner.