Ethics Audit: Key Stages of the Process
Institutionalizing ethical standards in an organization setting is an essential step toward creating the environment in which a company can not only operate but also thrive. Ethical principles are required to build a competent communication strategy, make decisions at the corporate level, and foster responsibility and loyalty in employees (Fountain, 2017). Moreover, the process of establishing ethical standards needs to be controlled to avoid any misconceptions and ensure that employees acquire appropriate qualities and ethical values. By identifying key steps in the process of carrying out ethics audits, one can determine the stages at which ethical issues occur and, thus, locate the premises for their development, designing an efficient management strategy.
Traditionally, four stages of an ethics audit are identified. The first one involves ensuring that the managers of an organization are fully devoted to the cause and vision of an organization. Afterward, a team of people that will conduct the ethical assessment of an organization will have to be built. The specified step requires a complete absence of any biases occurring in the process. Otherwise, an objective evaluation of corporate ethics will not be a possibility. The creation of an advanced communication system for fast data transfer is also needed to maintain the integrity and produce relevant results.
At the third stage of the process, the scope of an audit must be defined. The choices made by the committee at the specified point will be determined by the objectives of an audit and external factors determine a company’s choices. For example, the presence of outside threats such as increasingly high competition rates or the possibility of a cyberattack may become the key factor behind the final decision.
The identification of a company’s values, mission, and vision, as well as the following choice of tools for conducting the audit, are typically referred to as the fourth and fifth stages. They are followed by selecting a third party that will help keep the assessment impartial and objective. Finally, the seventh step will require submitting the outcomes of the evaluation to the board of directors for further consideration and approval.
An audit must be viewed as an important stage of keeping a company efficient and ensuring the active use of corporate values and ethics during decision-making processes. Furthermore, the results of an audit may inform further changes in a Human Resource Management (HRM) strategy, a leadership approach, etc. As a result, organizational performance levels and employee loyalty will remain high.
Wal-Mart Case Analysis
Ethics and Social Responsibility at Wal-Mart
Being one of the most influential companies in the retail industry, Wal-Mart has a firmly established set of ethical standards and corporate values that define its functioning in the global economy. Wal-Mart has warranted its title of an advanced and successful organization, and in no small part due to its strong ethical standards and the active promotion of social responsibility. By cementing the identified concepts as part and parcel of corporate ethics, the firm managed to build an ethical platform for decision-making to which all of its members adhere.
Ethical Issues and the Company’s Response
Wal-Mart admittedly has several dents in its current ethical framework since it has been accused on multiple occasions in infringing upon the rights of its employees. Indeed, according to recent reports, Wal-Mart has been deploying a strategy that can be characterized as dubious. Combined with the unwillingness to support labor unions, a conspicuous reduction in employee benefits that could be witnessed at Wal-Mart recently has jeopardized the organization’s further advancement in the global economy realm. Moreover, the claims that Wal-Mart neglects issues of gender discrimination that occur within its corporate environment have added to the overall change in the public image of the company (Mourdoukoutas, 2016).
To respond to the identified claims, Wal-Mart issued a statement claiming that the company had never used any human resource management (HRM) strategies based on discrimination and that the organization employs the representatives of both genders (Buss, 2015). Furthermore, Wal-Mart representatives stressed that they selected candidates based only on their professional merits and not on their gender or any other personal characteristics (Pearson, 2016). The company stressed that meeting the needs of its stakeholders, including not only customers but also employees, was one of its primary goals that they strived to attain. While this response was rather predictable, it was supported by extensive evidence. Consequently, Wal-Mart’s reputation remained unblemished.
Apart from handling the accusation of workplace discrimination with impressive dignity and efficacy, Wal-Mart has contributed extensively to the well-being of its customers and the promotion of sustainability on a global level. Particularly, the transition to the mode of functioning that required making employee-related decisions on an individual level, thus, building their loyalty levels and enhancing their performance, deserves to be mentioned.
Furthermore, the firm provided its staff with an opportunity to form a union that can serve as the platform for ensuring the protection of their rights in the corporate setting (Buss, 2015). Thus, it can be assumed that Wal-Mart has contributed to the understanding of how a company must respond to changes in the global economic environment and the need to meet the rights of its staff members.
Buss, D. (2015). A look at Walmart’s HR strategy from the inside out: Would it work for your company? Chief Executive. Web.
Fountain, L. (2017). Ethics and the internal auditor’s political dilemma: Tools and techniques to evaluate a company’s ethical culture. Chicago, IL: CRC Press.
Mourdoukoutas, P. (2016). Walmart’s outdated management style is failing customers. Forbes. Web.
Pearson, B. (2016). 5 priceless ways Walmart’s investment in workers is paying off. Forbes. Web.