Morality and Ethics

You are strongly encouraged to review the Project 3 Step 1 Final Deliverable Expectation/Outline/Key Issues & Questions. This document will help you proceed in a logical sequence through the project and ensure you address key issues of the project. These key issues are addressed by answering with your own work the following questions:

What is organizational culture? How does it relate to my organization? How would I describe the culture of my organization? Does the culture need to be changed? How can that be accomplished? If not, why not?

What is organizational climate? (Do people enjoy working here? If so, why? If not, why not? Are our motivation, evaluation and reward system perceived as fair and equitable? What effect do such measures have on climate? Do we do climate surveys? What do they indicate as key concerns? If we don’t measure climate, should we? Why or why not? How?

What is our ethics like? Do we employ fair practices? Are we provided clear ethical guidelines? Do we receive ethics training? How do we measure compliance? Do our leaders shape ethical decision making? If so, how? If not, why not? Do we ask employees to do certain things we would not? Have there been any scandals to overcome? If so, how were they dealt with? Are they gone? What steps have been taken to ensure they do not recur?

Based on the above what are your recommendations you would make to the COO, as the assignment requires. I have provided some context and substantive guidance in my thoughts above in the prior week’s highlights regarding the various issues your Project 3 might consider for inclusion or discussion. Below is an example that integrates some of the major issues that apply, in general, to Project 3.

Project 3 Example:

Think for a moment about the recent scandal at Wells Fargo Bank. What gives rise to an unethical culture involving hundreds of employees? What must the climate be like to drive individuals to such extremes? Does unethical behavior become so commonplace — that it becomes acceptable, overlooked, or an integral part of the value system? What was CEO Sloan’s value system? What type of climate and culture did he establish and what were his views on human motivation?

The looming issue for Wells Fargo (and all organizations), is how does leadership, when required, change the culture to a more desirable one? Perhaps, current leadership forecloses that option! Think about what a changed culture means for Wells Fargo in terms of the possible effects for organization structure, reporting lines, reward systems, bonus structures, business income replacement, and so forth. How will successful changes in culture, climate and ethics be measured?

Thank goodness it is your job and not mine to examine these daunting issues: :). But, if I were thrown into the fray, I might start my examination of culture, behavior, climate, and ethics with a good general source of information on these topics. In addition to the references for the readings in class, one such work is Organizational Behavior by Robbins and Judge. This text is in its 16th edition. Any of the last 5 editions would be fine. Of course, there are many, many fine textbooks on the same topics.

A seminal work on the concept of organizational culture, Organizational Culture and Leadership (1983), was written by a founder of the discipline of industrial-organizational psychology, Edgar Schein, of MIT’s Sloan School. Schein examines culture in the same manner a psychotherapist works to understand a patient. He argues that culture manifests itself in organizational artifacts, stories, myths, legends, and behaviors. The types of individuals hired by an organization are indicative of what the organization values. At different stages of an organization’s culture, different types of leadership are needed to effectuate necessary changes and to keep the organization thriving and healthy. Schein views organizational leadership and changing culture as “two sides of the same coin.”

On the matter of ethics, we can find viewpoints stretching from 16th century Florence, as detailed in Machiavelli’s book, The Prince, to modern-day writers such as Harvard Professor Badaracco in his video lecture, Defining Moments. Where Machiavelli preached “ruthlessness” in that the “ends justify the means,” Badaracco stresses a method that acknowledges the important need for morality and ethics to underpin solutions leading to acceptable outcomes. He also acknowledges and discusses the inevitable ethical dilemmas that arise in modern organizational life stressing that these dilemmas often have imperfect solutions. His video is worth the 30 minutes of your time it takes to watch.

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