Achieving ethical behaviour in the workplace is a balancing act, both for corporations and employees. Dr Abdullah Telmesani* offers a simple two-step toolkit to find out whether one's conduct is ethical or otherwise.
Achieving higher levels of ethical conduct, as is the case of achieving all optimal positions, is a balancing act. For corporations, ethical attitude and sustainable success are achieved by striking a balance between the bottom-line on one side, and the interest of the employees and the community at large on the other. Employees' ethical behaviour and success, on the other hand, are achieved by balancing their personal interest with their companies' interest.
This formula seems, according to the Deloitte '2010 ethics & workplace survey', to be partially compromised. In their struggle to survive the recession, some companies seem to have had to take drastic decisions that are not typical of their corporate cultural norms. These corporate actions and decisions naturally lead to employees' uncertainty about corporate decisions and intentions.
This feeling of uncertainty and lack of clarity shaped the responses of 46 per cent of the employees surveyed, when they indicated that a lack of transparent leadership communication would drive them to seek new employment opportunities.
Furthermore, 48 per cent of employed Americans who plan to look for a new job when the economy is more stable cite a loss of trust in their employer as a result of how business and operational decisions were handled over the last two years as a reason for leaving their companies.
While the ethical formula outlined above is partially compromised, the good news is that it did not collapse. The survey indicates that, in spite of the feelings of uncertainty about their companies' decisions and actions, 72 per cent of them still believe that their employers are responsive to their work/life balance needs. In essence, the employees, according to the survey, believe that their employers are still honouring the fundamentals of the ethics formula. Employers are, at least, attempting to balance the companies' interests with their employees' interest.
The survey does not go into the second part of the formula, which is related to companies' attitude towards the interest of their communities at large.