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Managing Ethics: Methods and Results

This research paper discusses the methods and results of managing ethics. It is therefore divided into:

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  1. Author’s Statement
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Methods of Managing Ethics
  5. Results of Managing Ethics
  6. Discussion and Conclusion


Managing ethics in an organization has numerous benefits to both managers and leaders of that particular organization. The benefits of managing ethics may be moral or practical. In the beginning, business ethics was set in the field of philosophers, academics, and social critics. However, this has changed as people have realized that business ethics are not focused on the practical needs of managers and leaders but on the worker in the organization (Kivrane, 2000).

The increased crime and wrongdoings among the workers of a certain organization have led to the formation of a code of conduct and code of ethics. The problem of workers behaving in an unethical manner in the workplace was one of the major reasons why ethics were put in place (Kivrane, 2000). Even in organizations that have ethics the problem of neglecting business ethics has brought the issue of managing ethics to the table of decision-makers. Despite the emphasis by the managers and leaders of the formal and non-formal organizations to follow ethics in the workplaces, people have not taken business ethics seriously.

This has been because of the fact that to observe ethics all one needs to do is things right. This has posed a challenge to the managers and the leaders of these organizations. Managers and leaders thus have developed various methods of managing ethics in order to reap the full benefits of ethics. The managing of ethics has helped the managers and the leaders to do the right thing during the time of confusion and stress. This has helped in ensuring that the relationship between the leaders or the managers and the workers is open and good (Gandz & Bird, 1999).

This paper tends to discuss the various methods of managing ethics and their benefit to the public, the workers, and the organization at large.


Ethics can be defined as rules and regulations that govern the behavior and conduct of an employee in an organization. Ethics seek to address moral issues such as; the nature of morality, how moral outcome can be achieved, how the moral agency or moral capacity develops, and what moral values people abide by. Ethics also involves learning what is right and what is wrong and then proceeding to do what is right. Ethics can be considered as the science of conduct as it includes the fundamental ground rules by which people live their lives. Attention to ethics in a workplace ensures that even under stress and confusion managers and leaders maintain strong moral conduct (Toffle, 2000).

Business ethics in workplaces seek to prioritize moral values and ensure that employees’ behavior aligns with the values. However, in various organizations, employees see the code of ethics as superfluous as they represent the values that every employee should follow. This is not so as the code of ethics represents organization priority and focus in regard to ethical values. For instant, in all organizations all employees should be honest; but if an organization suffers from employees deceit, it should list honesty in the codes of ethics.

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Ethics in business are divided into broad categories; Managerial Mischief which includes unethical or illegal practices or behavior of the manager, the causes of the behavior, and the way to eradicate them and Moral Maze which include all the ethics associated problems that the managers and the leaders have to deal with on daily basis (Francis, (1990).

There are about ten myths that have been associated with ethics and they include; ethics are a matter of religion other than management when employees are ethical there is no need for business ethics, business ethics is a discipline associated with the academics and philosophers, and only a term for the managers and engineers, business ethics is superfluous and only assert the obvious, business ethics is for unethical people, business ethics is a recent situation, business ethics can not be managed, business ethics and social responsibility are one and the same thing, when an organization is not in trouble than it’s ethical and last but not the least managing ethics is less practical (Dean, 1999).

Managing ethics involves noting and prioritizing values to govern the behavior of the workers and coming up with policies and procedures to ensure that the behavior is conducted. It includes coming together to ensure that everyone remain ethical and sail through the demanding and confusing ethical dilemmas. This is so because it has come to the attention of the organizations that workers or the employees act unethical when under stress or when confused.

Methods of Managing Ethics

There are various methods of managing ethics used by the managers and the leaders. These include;

Ensuring that the ethical standards are clearly stated: In setting out the codes of ethics, the managers and the leaders should ensure that the ethics are clearly stated and that each and every employee can be able to read them. The core ethical standards and principles of an organization should be clearly stated. The employees also, should know the ethical standards that are supposed to apply in there organization and the boundaries of their behavior. For instant, there should be a shared understanding between the employees and the employer (Dean, 1999).

Another method of managing ethics is ensuring that the ethical standards are reflected in the legal frame work. Legal frame work forms the bases for controlling the behavior of every citizen of that particular country. It also provides the guidelines for investigations, punishment and prosecution. Thus all ethics should be reflected in the legal framework of that particular country so as to ensure that the employees of that organization get punished in case of unethical behaviors. Also legal preceding and investigations can be carried out if the ethics are reflected in the legal framework.

Another method of managing ethics is ensuring that ethical guidelines are available to all the employee of the organization. When all the employees of the organization have the access to the ethics, they can be able to read and understand them much more clearly. The manager also should ensure that the employees are trained on the business ethics of the organization. This enable them to develop skills that are necessary for ethical analysis and moral thinking which will help them to act ethical despite stress and confusion in the work place. Also the manager should create an enabling environment for consultation to help the workers attain basic ethical standards (Akaah, 2000).

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Another method of managing ethics is by educating workers or the employees on their rights and duties when behaving unethical. The managers should educate the workers on the consequences of their unethical behavior; there should be clear rules and regulation that will govern the investigation and the chain of responsibility. The employees should be aware of the protection offered when caught acting unethical. When the employees become aware managing ethics will be much simpler (Posner & Schmidt, 2000).

Another method of managing ethics is by ensuring that political figures act in an ethical manner in executing their duties to the public. By so doing the other employees on various organizations will try to emulate the political figures in acting or behaving in an ethical manner. Political figure should also ensure that legislative and institutional arrangements that support ethical behavior and promote penalties against unethical behavior are put in place. They should also ensure that there in no exploitation of ethical rules and regulations for political purposes (Gandz & Bird, 1999).

Another method of managing ethics is ensuring that all decision- making process are clear, transparent and open to criticism. The managers should ensure that all decisions made are clearly stated, transparent and open to discussion by the employees or workers. The workers of an organization have the right to know all the decisions that the manager or their leaders are making. They should also be involved in the making of these decisions. By so doing the workers follow the set code of ethics as they have a sense of belonging to the organization. If the workers or employees are not involved in the making or drafting of the ethics they may tend to reject them and often behave unethically intentionally. Thus this method of managing ethics is very essential and efficient (Francis, 1990).

Setting clear rules and regulations for interaction between the employees, the public and other employees from different organization is another effective method of managing ethics. There should be clear rules that govern the interaction between the employees of the organization and other member of the public. This ensures that the employee do not disclose classified information of the organization to the public. Penalties and other sanctions should be clearly stated to ensure that the employees understand the consequences of their behavior. This also ensures that when the employees are outside the organization they behave accordingly (Akaah, 2000).

Demonstrating and promoting ethical conduct by the managers and the leaders of the organization is another method of ensuring that the ethics are well managed. When the managers and the leaders of an organization behave well, the employees of that organization are encouraged to behave well too. To promote this, the managers and the leaders should give incentive to the employees who have conducted themselves ethically. For those employees who have neglected the ethical conducts, they should be punished accordingly. This ensures that all the employees or worker strive to act in an ethical manner so that they can be awarded or be given other incentives (Francis, 1990).

Another method of managing ethics is by ensuring that all management policies, procedures and practices enhance ethical conduct. This can by achieved by ensuring that all the management policies, procedure and practices reflect ethical conduct. In all organizations there are compliance systems that if followed by the employees they may end up acting unethically or having misconduct arguing that they are acting according to the law, thus all the practices of the organization should reflect ethical conduct so that the employees may feel obliged to act ethically (Gandz & Bird, 1999).

Another method of managing ethics is by ensuring accountability of every action by the employees. For every action in the organization, someone has to be accountable for it. Accountability should include the compliance, ethical conducts and results. All the employees regardless of their status in the organization should account for every action that they undertake and their consequences. However, even when promoting accountability, flexibility in the management should be encouraged so that the employees can feel free to carry on with their duties regardless of the consequences (Brenner, 1999).

The final method of managing ethics is by ensuring that the procedures and penalties for unethical conduct are well stated. There should be clear guidelines on how to conduct investigation in case of misconduct of an employee. This ensures that there is fairness when penalizing employees and that there is no discrimination. This method of managing ethics ensures that the higher employees are not favored when penalizing them (Kivrane, 2000).

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Results of Managing Ethics

There are various results reaped from managing ethics. These may include;

When ethics are managed the society is improved. In the beginning before attention the ethics was there, children who were underage were forced to work for a period of 16 hrs and disabled workers were forced to poverty, starvation and eventually death. He prices of goods were controlled by the big businesses and the often the small business were crushed down. Worker and the public were coursed to agree to certain principles. When ethics were adopted fairness and equal rights prevailed (Francis, 1990).

Ethics management helps maintain a moral course during times of stress and confusion. When there is confusion and stress in the organization, ethics help maintain a stable environment and moral values. Ethics also help leaders and managers have clear guidelines through ethical problems. This enable then deal with the penalties and investigation one matters that are ethical. When there is pressure in an organization, the employees tend to be confused and stressed thus they may sometime act in unethical manner. But when the ethics are managed the managers and the leaders can be able to understand and help the workers maintain a moral course in such stressful environment (Posner & Schmidit, 2000).

Ethics management helps in building teamwork and improves productivity. When employees have ethical conduct they can be able to relate with one another and thus building strong teamwork. This then promote openness, integrity and community within the organization. Also when they follow ethical conduct their productivity improves because they they have the will to work and this adds the benefits to the organization (Brenner, 1999)

Ethics management helps the employees grow in their line of work and also find meaning to their work. This is because they face reality of what is good and bad about the organization and themselves. Ethics management also ensures that organizations’ policies, procedures and practices are legal. This is applied when dealing with sanctions, penalties and investigation procedures.

Managing ethics also help avoid criminal acts. Managing ethics helps to realize the possibilities of an ethical violation early enough and thus avoid its occurrence. This minimizes the fine that an organization or an employee can be fined due to unethical acts (Posner & Schmidit, 2000).

Managing Ethics also assists in the management of other values that are associated with management and planning. The effort of identifying values to be observed by the workers, training them to behave within the set values and offering penalties and incentives in case of following or not following the required values, help in strategic planning, quality management and diversity management. Thus if the ethics are managed well, all planning and management activities will highly succeed.

Ethics management has helped in promoting the organization public image. When employees from a certain organization behave in an ethical manner the image of that organization is highly promoted in the public. This also promotes the market and public relation between the organization and other organization. Managing ethics also help in building commercially successful and responsible business and this improve the profits to the organization. When all the employees of an organization behave in an ethical manner all other people both in the public and in other organizations will like to be associated with these employees.

Also all other organizations will want to do busin4ss with an organization which have a good reputation. Investors will also like to be associated with such kind of organization that uphold their ethics and this is a benefit to the organization in that this adds more profits (Kivrane, 2000).

Managing ethics also help in legalization of managerial actions, strengthen the togetherness and balance an organization. Managing ethics also help in promoting better relationship between the individuals and groups and also improve the quality of the products. When ethics are managed, all the actions of the managers sand the leaders of an organization are regulated. This means that if a manager or a leader in that particular organization behave in unethical manner, he us liable to investigations and punishment or penalties. This makes them act in a legal manner even when executing their duties to the organization and to the other workers (Posner & Schmidit, 2000).

Discussion and Conclusion

In order for an organization to reap all the benefits of managing ethics, an organization must follow the methods of managing ethics. The above methods of managing ethics if can be followed by and organization the worker can become more responsible and the organization can be able to reap great benefits. The managers and the leaders of an organization are at the forefront in ensuring that the ethics are followed.

They can do so if they can be able to behave in an ethical manager and the other workers can follow. If the managers and the leaders who have behaved in unethical manner are not punished to book, the workers can became immoral and this may damage the image of the organization (Francis, 1990).

For an organization to be able to manage the ethics there are various people whom are responsible. They include; the chief executive who must support the program of managing the ethics. The chief executive should fully support the managing ethics program because if not so the employees will notice and this may bring criticism to the ethics program which may eventually damage the image of the company; an ethics committee and ethics management committee. This should be in charge of all the ethical matters including implementation and administration. The committees should be formed from all categories of the organization (Brenner, 1999).

This will ensure all employees are represented in the committee; an ethics officer who should be trained on how to deal with ethical problems and finally, an ombudsperson who will assist in policies and procedure formulation. All these people should work together for the realization of ethics in an organization (Kivrane, 2000).

In conclusion for an organization to be able to manage the ethics, it must involve all the members of the organization and ensure all are aware of the codes of ethics within the organization. The manager and the leaders should also ensure that the workers are trained on the consequences of unethical conducts. This will ensure that the workers avoid unethical conduct because they know the various consequences (Brenner, 1999).


Posner,B & Schmidit, W (2000), Values and the American Managers: An update. California. Management Review.

Akaah, I (200), Social Inclusion as a Marketing Collerate, journal of Business Ethics. Trevion.

Francis, D.(1990), Prevent Trouble by Improving Ethics. Christian Science Monitor.

Gandz, J & Bird, F. (1999), Designing Ethics Organizations. Business Quarterly.

Kivrane, D (2000), Managing Values: A systematic Approach to Business Ethics. Training and Development Journal.

Brenner, S (1999), Ethics Programs and their Dimensions. Journal of Business Ethics.

Dean, P (1999), Making Codes of Ethics Real. Cambridge University.

Toffle, B (2000), Doing Ethics: An Approach to Business Ethics Cconsultation. Moral Education Forrum.

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