Almost any person’s work is associated with communication with other humans, even in those rare professions where the employee is isolated from colleagues. These relations can be presented by teammates and work colleagues, higher authorities, and subordinate specialists. Consequently, the workplace should have its own distinctive ethical culture related to the observance of human values. This essay aims to study the ethical culture and misconduct at work, as well as ways to resolve these problems.
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There are many ways and types of violations of work ethics. In general, they can be divided into psychological and physical, depending on the nature of the offense. The first includes abusive relationships between colleagues, which creates an uncomfortable atmosphere and interferes with the workflow (“National Business Ethics Survey”). This violation in the form of conflicts between employees is the most common type of ethical misconduct, second only to lying cases. Physical abuses such as theft and personal space violations, in extreme cases of sexual harassment, are much rarer (“National Business Ethics Survey”). Nevertheless, all these categories deserve close attention since they are regularly found in the workplace.
One of the most common types of violations, according to my experience, is the lie of superiors to employees. Higher ranks intentionally hide or distort some critical information, not considering it necessary to inform the employee. I came across this at my last job, where I served as a consultant for the sale and configuration of intercom equipment. My immediate supervisor frequently misinformed me or directly lied, which often led to uncomfortable situations when communicating with clients. In one case, according to the provided information, all residents of the house were notified about the upcoming replacement of equipment. However, upon arrival, I came across customer dissatisfaction, for which the company’s innovations were a surprise. With each month of work, the conditions were tightened, as the authorities began to demand progressively ethically incorrect actions.
In almost every workplace, ethical misconduct cases can be found, but not everywhere the authorities or the employees themselves are trying to do something about it. However, these issues should be addressed, widely publicized, and discussed. First of all, the existing problems should not be hidden by the employees themselves. Often, superiors may not be aware of these cases, as workers themselves conceal them fearing revenge (Zhang et al. 1224). As practice shows, to those who talk about problems within the team, an ambiguous and sometimes even hostile attitude is formed. It is confirmed by the available statistics, which state widespread public condemnation towards informants and even cases of physical violence and harassment (“National Business Ethics Survey”). Nevertheless, implementing a policy of reporting violations is the first step to pinpointing ethical issues and, therefore, eliminating them.
However, for this policy to work in full force, the next step is to create a comfortable and safe atmosphere. One of the measures to this may be the appearance in the team of a moral, ethical leader. It can be a person who keeps the society of colleagues together, maintains and promotes close, trusting relationships between employees. Studies show that having such a leader rallies society and help colleagues report misconduct in the workplace without fear of being prosecuted (Zhang et al. 1229). It is necessary to build honest and trusting relationships in the team and raise a common culture, conducting informative conversations and confidential meetings. In other words, conditions for the emergence of friendly relations between employees should be created, and all levels of leadership should support this direction.
Thus, there are many types of ethical misconduct, which are unfortunately present in the vast majority of societies. The main problem is the suppression of offenses due to fear of conviction or revenge. It is necessary to rally the team around an ethical leader who, with the help of management, will form honest and transparent, and open relations in the company.
“National Business Ethics Survey of the U.S. Workforce.” Ethics Resource Center, 2014, Web.
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Zhang, Fa-Wang, et al. “Ethical Leadership and Whistleblowing: Collective Moral Potency and Personal Identification as Mediators.” Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, vol. 44, no. 7, 2016, pp. 1223-1231.