ETHICAL LEADERSHIP — C206
PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT: EHM1 – TASK 2
As an MBA student at Western Governors University students are evaluated on competency. Ethical Leadership coursework requires submission of multiple tasks that evaluate student aptitude of ethics and leadership acumen utilizing various resources.
Ethical Leadership – C206
Performance Assessment: EHM1 – EHM Task 2
A: Purpose of CSR
James Chen defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as “…a self-regulating business model that helps a company be socially accountable—to itself, its stakeholders, and the public.” Additionally, Chen adds that “By practicing corporate social responsibility, also called corporate citizenship, companies can be conscious of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society, including economic, social, and environmental.” CSR is not one single action or program that an organization participates in. An organization that practices CSR encompasses a multitude of actions and values and is a stakeholder in local, regional, national, and/or global communities. Organizations that are committed to CSR generally have strong ethics, moral convictions, and a sense of the greater good/betterment of our communities.
A1: Primary and Secondary Stakeholders
Primary stakeholders include owners and employees. The primary stakeholders are directly affected due to the simple fact that they are directly involved with, have a vested interest, and are affected by the organization. Secondary stakeholders include financial institutions/analysts and the community/interest groups/media. The secondary stakeholders have an interest in the organization however are not immediately and/or directly impacted by the organization.
A2: Responsibility to Stakeholders
Two avenues for the organization to meet their CSR for both primary and secondary stakeholders include implementation and yearly training of a code of ethics and a yearly external audit of the organization.
Trevino writes “You can learn the rules in various ways. First, read your company’s code of ethics (if it has one) and policy manual. Since most policy manuals are huge, you obviously can’t memorize one. If you skim the contents, some of the rules will sink in—you may not remember the exact policy, but at least you’ll probably remember that one exists and where to find it.” Implementing and yearly training of a code of ethics serves multiple purposes. A code of ethics lays the groundwork as to what values the organization finds important. Additionally, it enables and assists the all stakeholders in guiding decisions as well as what they are to expect from the organization during the course of business.
Secondly, an annual audit of the organization would benefit all stakeholders. External audits provide an independent non-bias narrative regarding the organization as a whole. Audits would allow primary and secondary stakeholders an opportunity to share the organizations successes, failure, and areas for improvement. The audits will assist the organization and it’s CSR in benchmarking and improving the quality of its CSR program.
B1: Importance of Ethical Culture
Trevino considers ethical culture “to be a significant organizational influence on individuals’ ethical awareness, judgment, and action, along with the individual differences and other influences…” Ethical culture is part of an organization’s culture which is necessary when striving to succeed. It’s necessary for an organization to develop and implement an ethical culture as it sets an expectation and identity as to who the organization is and what is expected. Ultimately, the establishment and guidance of ethical culture is reflective upon who the organization strives to be and the processes and procedures vehicle that assists in obtaining goals.
B1A: Fostering Ethical Culture
In the article The Five Levels of an Ethical Culture, Taylor suggests organization can affect change regarding ethical leadership at the individual, interpersonal, group, intergroup, and inter-organizational level. Taylor draws a parallel that on an interorganizational level the organization ensures sustainability commitments are incorporated into strategic decisions, meaningful commitment to doing the right thing, understand and improve stakeholder trust and relationships, and improving reputation and rights-aware decision making. Implementing these values will enhance the organizations ethical culture and overall propel the organization forward.
B2: Ethics Audit
Krell suggests that “An ethics audit is a comparison between actual employee behavior and the guidance for employee behavior provided in policies and procedures.”. Simply put it is a method and tool to evaluate the effectiveness of ethical procedures and policies in an organization. As a result of the audit suggestions and recommendations to improve the overall effectiveness of an organization’s practices as they relate to ethics may be defined.
B2A: Value of an Ethics Audit
Krell also suggests that an audit may bring metrics to an organization, create a cross-functional team, look for other issues, and improve communications and consistency across the organization. In short, the value of an ethics audit is multi-faceted and beneficial in multiple ways. Not only does an ethics audit reveal deficiencies and violations in the code of ethics, it has the potential to reveal other non-ethical concerns that otherwise may not have been addressed. The audit may also assist in creating an effective team with clear and efficient communication.
C1: Ethical Dilemma
A few years ago, when employed as an EMS Service Director I had an EMT employee disclose federally protected health information and subsequently violated the Health Insurance and Portability Act. This employee was gossiping with a local volunteer firefighter when the subject of a request for service at a local residence was mentioned. The employee began revealing specifics regarding the medical emergency to an individual that while a volunteer firefighter, was also a relative of the residence in question. The willful and grossly negligent act of revealing information to an unauthorized party is a serious breach of confidentiality, trust, and ethics.
C2: Potential Solutions
As the department head of the ambulance service all personnel matters involved me. I felt I had two options regarding the incident: reprimand and re-educate or terminate his employment. If his employment was maintained I had the opportunity to provide education. This would allow him to fully understand all the regulations pertaining to protected health information, as well as give the employee and opportunity to ask questions and understand the seriousness of his actions.
Alternatively, I could terminate the employee. Terminating the employee would ensure the ambulance service would not risk another disclosure by the employee in question. The employee did in fact violate our code of ethics, our standing operating guidelines, and federal law.
C3: Explanation of Choice
Ultimately, my decision was to terminate his employment. While unfortunate, I felt as termination was necessary to maintain to integrity of our organization. A violation of protected health information opened the ambulance service to legal ramifications as well as sanctions and fines by the federal government. In addition, I felt as if retaining his employment, if made public, would violate the public’s trust in our organization.
D1: Key Topics
When developing an ethics training program, the following three topics would be covered: Diversity/Inclusion, Psychological Safety, and Trust.
D1A: Explanation of Key Topics
Diversity/Inclusion is perhaps one of the most important ethical values to an organization. The organization, our customers, and the world is a wild and wonderful diverse place. In order to succeed as an organization, we must embrace our differences and collectively come together to treat all fairly, with respect, and with inclusion. Not only is it the ethical action, discrimination may have legal ramifications.
Safety is perhaps the most important ethical value to reinforce in an organization. Safety takes many forms such as physical and emotional. It’s legally required to maintain a level of safety in our organization as required by federal, state, and local laws and regulations. In addition, ethically we must ensure that all stakeholders both in and outside of our organization feel safe.
Trust is an ethical value that may be difficult to quantifiably measure but it is important to the ethical success of an organization. The value of trust is utilized internally and externally. It’s important that the shareholders trust the organization’s management, the organization’s management trusts the employees, and the employees trust the management. Trust is a never-ending revolving door that must be properly addressed and regarded highly.
D2: Delivery Method
To implement an ethics training program, I would rely heavily on technology-based learning (E-Learning).
D2A: Justification of Delivery Method
Online learning would allow the organization the opportunity to train our stakeholders the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective way. Technology is ever present in our society. The organization’s current infrastructure will allow immediate deployment of the ethics training program. Online learning will allow our stakeholders to take the ethics training from any location with access to technology in which they feel comfortable. Lastly, an online learning platform would allow the organization to implement the ethics training program in the most cost-efficient route possible.
Chen, J. (2019, November 27). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Retrieved January 14, 2020, from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/corp-social-responsibility.asp.
Krell, E. (2018, April 11). How to Conduct an Ethics Audit. Retrieved January 14, 2020, from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/0410agenda_social.aspx.
Taylor, A. (2017, March). The Five Levels of an Ethical Culture. Retrieved January 14, 2020, from https://www.bsr.org/reports/BSR_Ethical_Corporate_Culture_Five_Levels.pdf.
Trevino, L. K., Nelson, K. A. Managing Business Ethics: Straight Talk about How to Do It Right. [Western Governors University]. Retrieved from https://wgu.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781119298519/