Corporate ethics professor Stephen Brenner writes in The Journal of Business Ethics that all organizations have ethics programs, but most do not know that they do. A business ethics program must be made up of values, policies and activities that impact the propriety of organization behaviors. Ignoring ethical values or creating an environment of fear at the workplace can discourage employees from speaking up on ethical matters.
The Institute of Business Ethics (IBE) has published its Ethics at Work Surveys for Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The survey shows that about half of employees who aware of misconduct do not voice their concerns.
The survey showed that 61 percent of those who did speak up said they were dissatisfied
with the outcome. This percentage has more than doubled when compared with 2012. This phenomenon needs to be addressed if companies want employees to have confidence that meaningful action will be taken if they raise concerns of an ethical problem.
In Britain, 71 percent of the employees are more likely to say that their line manager sets a good example. But about 36 percent are also likely to say that their line manager rewards good results, even if ethically questionable practices are used. It implies that for some managers, results may take precedence over ethics.
Business Ethics... something I have accused The Sliding Door Company of lacking. Why do I say this about them?
1. They have a known seal-failure issue with their glass and continue to tell customers that it can be cleaned away. It can't and they know this.
2. They have their customers sign contracts and then don't do what the contract says they will do.
3. They have a known issue with door measurements over which they have been sued and continue to ignore customer complaints regarding doors coming in two inches short.
4. They are dishonest about the recycled aluminum and other components they use - claiming they have a "proprietary formula" to customers and something completely different to the engineers who stamp their engineering documents.
5. Their human resources department is geared toward punishing whistleblowers and has a support system in the form of shady investigators and attorneys. They are not concerned about spying on employees or even filing false police reports if it helps them discredit someone.
6. They have known product hazards, ADA issues and safety issues which they refuse to address.
7. Most importantly, they refuse to respond to complaints from customers and employees.
This blog focuses on business ethics and what companies sacrifice when they behave unethically. The Sliding Door Company has provided a good source for real-world examples of unethical behavior.