Ethical Communication and Its Principles

Concrete Experience and Reflective Observation

A leader has to follow ethical principles and standards when making a decision in the workplace. The essential ethical standards that a leader has to follow when managing communication in an organizational environment include reciprocity, clarity, and speed of data transfer (Mumby & Kuhn, 2018). Therefore, it is critical for a manager to sustain the setting where information is passed from one participant to another accurately, with no pieces of data being lost in the process. Furthermore, without a moral compass, one will not be able to select the options that will benefit all stakeholders, including a company, its employees, customers, suppliers, and investor, to name just a few. Therefore, the integration of corporate ethics is critical to the effective management of organizational issues. This concern was particularly deep for me when I managed the processes at the flagships department of Bridgestone mixing at the Bridgestone Aiken plant. Because of the necessity to coordinate the processes within the areas of Personnel, Operations, and Customer Satisfaction, I had to select the ethical principles that allowed minimizing the negative impact of specific choices on every stakeholder involved and ensuring that none of them are affected negatively by the selected choices.

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Theories and Principles/Abstract Conceptualization

The process of communication in the workplace can be viewed from several ethical standpoints, which implies that the application of a combination of theoretical frameworks may be required. Therefore, exploring the notion of ethics in the workplace needs to be multilateral, with the integration of multiple perspectives and the understanding of all stakeholders’ demands. The theories to be discussed include Relativism, Stakeholder Theory, and Universalism as the basis for promoting organizational change and especially alterations in communication patterns.

Theory 1: Relativism

The principles of Relativism as the cornerstone theoretical foundation addressing ethical choices should be seen as an important part of a corporate ethical strategy. Owing to the opportunities that the Relativism approach provides for handling complex dilemmas, it will serve as the platform for increasing the efficacy of the communication quality through building trust among its participants (Mumby & Kuhn, 2018). I found the theory very helpful in understanding the significance of communication in the grand scheme of the organization’s existence.

Theory 2: Stakeholder Theory

Another theoretical framework that will provide the platform for introducing ethics to the workplace communication process is the Stakeholder Theory. The proposed approach toward maintaining ethical principles as the cornerstone concepts in decision-making allows focusing on the needs of individuals and implement a stakeholder-oriented approach, as its name suggests. Furthermore, the framework will encourage an open conversation about the challenges that participants and team members have when addressing complex projects. Consequently, the tools for managing conflicts within a team, especially regarding cultural differences, will be developed (Mumby & Kuhn, 2018). The issue of cross-cultural communication is particularly important for me as a manager to tackle in the setting of the Bridgestone Aiken plant.

Theory 3: Universalism

Finally, the framework known as the theory of Universalism should be seen as an important addition to the existing set of tools for handling ethics in interdisciplinary and often cross-cultural communication in the workplace. By integrating the proposed theoretical foundation, one will increase the extent to which employees adhere to ethical principles during the communication process (Mumby & Kuhn, 2018). According to my experience, the framework was quite effective since it helped staff members to recognize and accept corporate values by understanding their role in the corporate mechanism.


It should be noted that Universalism does not allow much flexibility in decision-making and the approach of complex ethical dilemmas. Integrating three theories, including the Stakeholder approach, Relativism, and Universalism, created the platform for collaboration through effective communication between employees and managers. Although the rigid standards that Universalism implies can provide extensive chances for preserving the fairness and integrity of an organization, it still lacks the opportunity to present a particular ethical problem from all perspectives, including even the flawed ones. As a result, the rigid structure of Universalism may demotivate employees.

Testing and Application/Active Experimentation

The integration of a combination of several ethical frameworks in managing the communication process at the Bridgestone Aiken Plant helped to improve the situation to a great extent. The Relativist approach has made it possible to integrate ethical perspectives into the corporate environment, contextualizing theoretical tenets and helping employees to accept workplace values and standards even if the values in question did not align fully with their philosophy. As a result, a range of conflicts concerning ethical choices during decision-making processes was avoided. This phenomenon had a particularly positive impact on the cases that involved ethical dilemmas, such as the choice between the control of quality and the need to assist staff members in their interpersonal conflict. For example, when incorporating the principles of Relativism and Universalism in the context of the plant, I managed to help the employees to envision themselves as the participants of an intricate organizational process. Thus, they recognized their roles and accepted new quality-related responsibilities more willingly.

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Similarly, the principles of Universalism allowed establishing the standards for corporate communication used as a template for managing most interpersonal issues. The Universalist concepts were deployed to reinforce the significance of corporate ethics and assist staff members in remembering the corporate values supposed to guide their decision-making. The approaches in question were quite successful, which shows that, with a people-oriented corporate philosophy, a firm can integrate non-incremental changes in its design and enhance the communication process successfully.


Kuhn, D., & Dean, D. (2004). Metacognition: A bridge between cognitive psychology and educational practice. Theory Into Practice, 43(4), 268.

Munby, H., Versnel, J., Hutchinson. N., Chin, P., & Berg, D. (2003). Workplace learning and the metacognitive functions of routine. Journal of Workplace Learning, 15(3), 94.

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