In the 1987 classic Movie Wallstreet, America witnessed a growing trend of the American Dream. Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), a Wall Street stockbroker, wanted to get to the top at any cost. This short track path to riches led him to broker Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Gekka was shrewd and dangerous; his philosophy was built on “Greed is Good.” Fox soon became engulfed in the glamorous life of the powerful. But—it was at a high moral cost.
Scandals may drive media ratings and turn the trivial into the most critical. However, moral decay does not help companies compete or make society a better place. We’ve discussed the socio-technical system as it relates to global markets. In building effective socio-technical systems, one needs to focus on (a) value modeling, (b) technology relevancy, and (c) human factor buy-in. With the continual ethical failures of government officials and business executives on Wall Street, many workers view ethical policies of today’s organizations with some cynicism. Do you?
A high performing organization must model its values to both first line supervisors and managers in a socio-technical system. Many organizations expect employees to understand its culture, values, and principles by attending new employee orientation or by reading a company brochure. This is simply not going to happen.
Vince Adams, who has over 19 years as senior environmental manager, understands the delicacy of balancing a socio-technical system. Adams has extensive experience with both government and private organizations that are find themselves neglecting to outline and demonstrate their value systems to employees. Adams states, “Companies must build values into their employees so that employees know what the expectations are for that organization.”
James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, have researched over several thousand businesses and government executives and they outline setting the example as a critical attribute of effective leadership. Kouzes and Posner argue, “Once people are clear about the leader’s value, about their own values, and about shared values, they know what’s expected of them and can better handle the conflicting demands of work and personal affairs.” Therefore, employees expect leaders in organizations to model the way in their organizations, and this is also true for socio-technical systems.
Is it possible for today’s managers to regain the confidence of workers on the ethical front? If so, how
© 2010 by Daryl D. Green
33 thoughts on “Value Modeling”
I do not believe it is possible for workers to regain confidence in their manager after he or she has failed them on an ethical issue. A manager can spend a lifetime earning the confidence of employees but can lose that confidence in a matter of minutes. As a manager it is vital to “develop a reputation for justice, fairness, and honor that is applied without respect of persons” (1). Once that reputation has been established the worker will look to that manager for guidance and will be confident that the decisions being made have the employees and the company’s best interest in mind. Unfortunately, for the manager that loses the confidence of the employees he or she will always be surrounded by doubt.
Hill, Hallerin, H. (1999). The Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
“The need for trust. Expecting the company and management to deliver on its promises, to be honest and open in all communication with you, to invest in you, to treat you fairly and to compensate you in a fair and timely manner” (Branham, 2005).
Employees (and humans in general) do and should expect a level of respect and trust in people they have contact with on a daily basis – whether it is at work or in their personal lives.
I do believe someone who has made a mistake – following an honest proven track record – could regain trust to a level (however not the same as before). However, if a manager/leader/friend has been found acting on self-serving behavior over any real period of time, the individual probably will not (and should not) regain any level of respect.
Branham, L. (2005). The 7 hidden reasons employees leave. New York, NY: AMACOM.
I strongly agree that an organization must express clearly what the company culture and core values consist of. It would be useless for the managers to state in meetings to follow the covenants or values of the company without having a place for employees to go to find them. When managers and supervisors can lead by example the employees can see what is expected by their company. Where I work I have a good example of what I feel a company should do (1). The vision, values, and covenants are laid out clearly for all to see and follow. Saying this and having these resources does not guarantee ethical behavior. That decision is made by each and every employee on a daily basis. I have many opportunities to take a short cut to get something done quicker but I decide not to do something that might be seen as being unethical. Companies could even have ethical forums where cases are handed out ahead of time to employees to review and discuss in small safe groups later that week. This promotes a healthy communication of the values and beliefs a company wants its employees to follow.
I would have to agree with Jeff and say that I do not believe that employees can regain confidence in managers if they have chosen to partake in an unethical decision. The purpose of managers and leaders are to provide a strong example for those that work under them and when a manager chooses to act unethically then they are obviously not setting a good example. Management and leadership are defined as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to a common goal (1). From this definition one can see why employees may no longer have confidence in their managers if they choose to make unethical decisions. If the common goal that a team or a company is trying to reach is being done illegally or unethically employees are more likely to turn their back on their superiors because they no longer trust these people. Trust is the most important part of any relationship; this principle also reaches into the workplace because when managers lose the trust of their employees by acting unethically it is hard for them to regain it.
It, Forces Affecting. “Concepts of Leadership.” Colocation | Broadband Wireless | Dedicated Servers | Web Design & Development | DocSTAR | DSL | Web Hosting | Infinity Internet. 2010. Web. 31 Aug. 2010. .
Jeff, Debra , Eric, and Matt—outstanding points!!! This is a great beginning for the thread. Everyone should follow these critical thinkers.
Trust! If trust cannot be regained from unethical leaders, what happens to the organization, especially the workers?
It is important for both sides to understand each others positions before any situation occurs. Of course if your manager has done something to harm you, it would be close to impossible to trust them. We have become a society full of greed and mistrust, whereas we enter any position with the mentality of “to each his own,” yet we can’t realize how much we need people daily, especially those who work with us.
It is vital to remember that when things are done without ethics or morals, the outcome of the action will be a lot uglier in the future, leaving everyone in ruins because of one person’s lack of integrity. I do believe both sides must work on this issue together, employees must have faith in their superiors while superiors need to not take advantage of the people that work under them and especially their trust.
I can speak from personal expierence that as an elected leader of a not-for-profit organization, trust is the key element in keeping the members happy and working toward the commom goals of the entire organization. The members must trust you to do as you say you will, as well as you trusting the members to continue to do as they have been doing. I think Gary L. Davis, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources and Administration Officer for J.C. Penny stated it best in his presentation on “Business Ethics:Oxymoror or Necessity, delivered at Ohio University on September 26, 2003. There are five key elements to change, rebuild, or keep the trust of your employees, customers, and the public.
1. “The power of the wolf is in the pack. The power of the pack is in the wold.” in other words, Trust must be part of a culure within an organization, just as integrity must be inside the individiual person.
2. Employees Emulate Leaders – remember to practice the golden rule
3. Fixing the rules, does not fix the problems.
4. You Must Walk the Talk – do as you say, and say as you do.
5. We must become the change we want to see.
All of the five key aspects is what really builds trust, and if a leader does not practice them within the corporation, the employees will not practice them either.
Davis, Gary L. (2004). American Business Journal -Executive Viewpoint. Business Ethics: It’s All Inside. Spring 2004: Vol. 19 No. 1. Retrieved on August 31, 2010 from http://www.AmericanJournalofBusiness.com
I agree with Angie in saying that “Employees Emulate Leaders” when it comes to dealing with values within an organizations culture management should always set the pace, if both management and workers have an understanding of future goals and clear expectations are set forth, this builds company morale and a conscious working environment placing the cornerstones for trust. Companies that practise unethical behaviour usually never make it back to their full working capacity, workers are less productive an management becomes more vague in stating future plans. Once this happens the circular exchange of trust is broken and distrust sets in, Bruce Katcher states 3 characteristics for distrust:
1.Distrust is self-perpetuating. – When employees distrust management, management becomes less trusting of employees. Employees perceive this lack of trust and on it goes.
2.Distrust is like a virus. – It gains strength as it spreads. As new employees join the organization, they learn from more seasoned co-workers that management cannot be trusted.
3.Distrust is very resistant to change. – A senior manager of one of my unionized clients once lamented to me, “The only way we can stop this distrust is by moving our operation to a different part of the country and hiring all new employees.”
So not only is is hard to regain trust of employees but in most cases it is the end of the company.
“How to Improve Employees Trust in Management”
I agree in part to Matt’s trust comments. In response to Dr. Green’s question, “what happens to the workers?,” I have seen workers act out and distance themselves from the company entirely in response to only perceived unethical conduct. Productivity declines as an “I could care less” attitude evolves in response to the perceived or real unethical conduct. But managers who are at the center could regain trust by becoming more transparent, eliciting open dialogue and building relationships with front line workers emoting empathy for the scenario in an honest display of emotional intelligence. “Self-awareness wins as probably the most important skill good bosses must have because, aware of their flaws, these bosses work not only to overcome them and reverse the resulting damage, but involve others to help compensate for whatever their own weaknesses might be-and the organization as a whole is stronger as a result.” (O’Brien, 2010) So I am curious to know if you think “moral” unethical conduct (i.e. cheating on a spouse) will produce more or less worker distrust in a leader than “business” unethical conduct (i.e. improperly dumping toxic waste)?
O’Brien, G. (2010, September 1). The Ethics of Emotional Intelligence. Business Ethics, Retrieved from http://business-ethics.com/2010/09/01/4748-the-ethics-of-emotional-intelligence/
I agree with Jeff Hancock’s posted first sentence on 8/31. Management will not regain worker’s lost confidence on ethical situations. The Board of Directors will make sure the worker’s do not have the time or need to regain that confidence.
Most organizations clearly state what their values are, and hold each employee responsible for following those values. At the same time, most experts contend that the responsibility of a firm’s management team should focus solely on the shareholders. But when decisions go against the firms values and have a negative effect on the stakeholders (i.e., employees), the trickledown effect can be severe. Employee’s lower morale level could be the least of the firm’s worries. Management’s actions have a direct correlation to the reputability of the firm. With the media outlets in existence, a firm cannot risk leaving managers in place that reflect poorly on the firm.
Actions reflect leadership. Managment that cannot follow their own values should not be with the company.
McMurian, R. 2006. Journal of Business & Economics Research: Building Customer Value and Profitability With Business Ethics
I agree with that it is really hard for a manager / leader to regain confidence to employees once they lose the trust to them. We typically think that a leader is a person in a position of authority who is responsible for the result of those under his or her direction. However, it is stated that “True leadership has nothing to do with one’s level in the organization” in the book of ‘The Secret’ written by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. It says that being leadership has two components which are “Being and Doing”. And it weighs more to being than doing. In other words, people make mistake whether it does intentionally or not. A leader or manager is also human, they could possibly lose employees confidence as it related to unethical way. However, we should not judge them by what they have done, but we should see what the leader’s being was. And eventually trusty would be accumulated based on a leader’s true being and character.
“The Secret by Ken Blanchard, Mark Miller, 2004”
As Matt said, Trust is the most important part of any relationship. In the workplace this goes along the same path as integrity. These two work hand in hand to build respect. It takes time to build respect between both managers and employees. But, when respect is lost, it goes in a split second. Typically, a void in trust or integrity is what causes this loss in respect. I personally think that when trust, integrity or respect is lost, it is tarnished forever. It will never be the same as it once was. In many cases when trust is lost for managers, it is best to replace that manager to regain complete confidence in the company from its employees. It would be like a fresh start. And even though employees will still be affected by the previous manager, this new manager stands a better chance of regaining their trust.
I do not believe it is possible for management to gain back employee trust after it has been violated. Granted it is also difficult to give a specific answer with such a broad scope of ethical issues that face today’s top executives. In addition, advances in technology have made it more difficult for individuals and companies to maintain privacy. When you are in the public eye and responsible for the welfare of numerous stakeholders, it is important to maintain a reputation for outstanding moral character. Everyone has their own unique moral compass. Do we make management decisions on the basis of right versus wrong, serving our own interests, or the perceived interest of the shareholders? (Bell, 2009) I believe the business world is much less forgiving in regaining trust than in our own personal lives, as well as it should be when careers and money are involved.
Bell, M. (2009). Introduction: on evidence, ethics, corruption, and values. Introduction: On Evidence, Ethics, Corruption, and Values, 8(2), Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lmunet.edu/ehost/detail?vid=10&hid=10&sid=eb5f831a-6f10-4fd9-ac92-17b59c44e927%40sessionmgr104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=buh&AN=41788847
I believe that employee trust can be regained after it is lost, but perhaps not to the degree to which is once was. The first, most important step a company can take is to tackle the lack or loss of trust head-on and openly(honestly) with good communication, and a commitment to start “walking the walk”.(Hall 2009). I think it begins with management saying “What did we do that you percieve as wrong, and how can we fix it?”. This is true for both employee and customer trust issues.
Using the Wall Street movie video can be a little misleading, because not all loss of trust issues are to that extreme. Less extreme issues could be: Employees receiving less than optimal pay raises, a poor choice of medical insurance coverage for its employees, a product being released to the general public with known quality issues, poor hiring decisions, etc. All the above are differing levels of offenses, but still can effect employee trust to certain degrees.
Trust can affect everything an employee does: from how hard they work, to the number of extra hours they are willing to put in, to how they communicate with outsiders/customers about their company. It is such a delicate issue in the workplace, mostly arising from the fact that employees are hinging their livelihoods and the financial comfort/security of their families on the success of the company they work for. Trust is not easily won, and is even easier to lose, so companies need to make every effort to not only gain trust, but to continue to validate the trust given to them by their employees.
I also agree with the previous comments that once the employees’ trust and respect has been violated, regaining confidence in the management is unlikely. If leadership fails to abide by the mission statement or moral code set forth by an organization, then the foundation of the employees are working for and to accomplish is gone. The beliefs among the employees then turn into “if management doesn’t believe in the organization then why should I, or if management was distrustful once, can they be trusted again?”
For executives, the first step to regaining employees’ lost confidence is to understand why employees are mistrustful. The next step is to improve their standing with managers and staff by setting an example of honesty and trust. Finally, corporate leaders must build a culture that respects employees and values their contributions. This may require a fundamental change in the way corporate executives view employees and the nature of work (Tech Republic,10/02/02).
I believe that if it is at all possible to regain employee trust and confidence, a fundamental change from top down must occur. Management must understand the areas in which employees have mistrust and continually reassure them that it will not occur again.
resource:TechRepublic, 10/02/2002, David Southgate
Unethical behavior by managers not only hurt the company in the aspect of trust, but it also has other unsavory consequences. Mangers behaving unethically not only run their reputation into the ground but also the reputation of the company as a whole, Recovery if it ever happens is expensive.When bad business practices are exposed, a company is likely going to take a heavy beating in the media. As a result consumers will be less interested in doing business with a business that has a poor track record and engages in risky decisions that are considered to be structured with bad moral fiber. Typically consumers pay attention to negative backlash, especially if the story is heavily covered in the media. Businesses executives who have crossed the line and made choices that are illegal, immoral or just plain bad do an injustice for their companies. Chances are people will not want to do business with an organization that isn’t practicing corporate responsibility. The company that has been exposed as unethical and committing acts not socially acceptable are going to be hard pressed keeping and finding investors. With this backlash how can employees place trust in maintaining their lively hood in a manager that can leave them jobless, just to make extra money. The love of money is the root of all evil
Integrity by Stephen L. Carter
Obedience to Authority by Stanley Milgram
Published on the CNN.com website following the airing of an April 4, 2004 program, the following “honor” students had this to say about cheating:
“I actually think cheating is good. A person who has an entirely honest life can’t succeed these days.” (1)
This student has a point. Think about marketing and sales and how these entities use perks to sell their product. Think about how executives use company assets to their advantage. These types of activities are seen by employees. So for manager’s to expect employees to be ethical, while executives and upper management are displaying a picture perfect example of bad ethics, is a stretch for most organizations.
To gain confidence on the ethical front in a business you have to be willing to look at upper management and create a top down approach slowly filtering your belief in ethics down to your employees.
1. Cheating, Lies, and Employment
Chris, thanks for this insight!!!
I would like to believe that it would be possible for workers within a firm to believe that management is operating ethically. Indeed I believe that it is possible for a manager to receive buy in from its workers on the ethical nature. I think this can be achieved in demonstrated behavior of the firm in little things as well as more important things. I think the most prevalent issue is the nature of the industry to which the firm is party. In another class this issue came up and it could be equated to the tragedy of the commons. If you are in a healthy common, an industry where firms are actively ethical it is possible. When you are in an unhealthy common, like most firms are currently, you dont want to be the farmer who plays by the rules and has nothing in the end. Your are better off playing by your own rules, grabbing as much as you can, and hope that you get out in enough time. Case in point, the Enron film, The Smartest Guys in the Room
Isaac, what happened to the rest of your message?
Trust in corporate America has been severely blemished after such crises as the current subprime mortgage bubble meltdown. However, companies facing adversity do have a fighting chance of redemption if they properly execute a reemergence plan of action including full disclosure and integration of corporate culture. After a leadership letdown, it is important to regain confidence in the entire corporation starting with management. First, companies must become transparent and fully disclose the unethical activities that transpired. BP is successfully meeting the needs of employees by disclosing details of the recent spill in an effort to ease fears of future problems. Charles Kerns stated, “Managerial leaders can facilitate information exchange or be an obstacle to the process.” Secondly, successfully integrating corporate culture is key to reduce the occurrence of unethical behavior. Training workshops must extend beyond the new hire training process and must involve every level of manager and employee within the company. Top level executives play key roles and are ultimately responsible for the successes or failures of a company. However, they often times forget the importance of training refresher courses throughout their tenure to keep up with changes as they occur and to bridge the gap among all levels of the organization.
Kerns, Charles. (2005) The Managerial Leader as Linker. Value Centered Ethics: A Proactive System to Shape Ethical Behavior (pps. 127-146). Amherst: HRD Press.
We all have moments where our ethics escape us. Take for example former-President Bill Clinton – with his deviant like sexual behavior – he not only embarrassed himself but he humiliated the entire nation. And, yet, the people forgave him, and he went on to make numerous long-lasting contributions. He now heads one of the globe’s most influential and compassionate charities, The Clinton Foundation. Lesson learned: People should not be judged based upon a solitary action. They should be measured in accordance with their long-term behavior. So, yes, I believe that managers can regain the confidence of their workers on an ethical front. The key to such a success lies in an acknowledgement of the fault, a demonstration of corrective action, and sincerity – followed by meaningful behavior to the contrary.
Institutional ethics, whether implicit or explicit, have a direct impact on the health of an organization. As we all know, parameters have to be crafted internally to ensure long-term sustainability. Hand-in-hand with this notion is independent accountability. Unfortunately, however, many of us have witnessed the fact that managerial level employees – because of their stature – often operate with virtual impunity. Management protects management, right? Naturally, this is not always the case, but it is the perception. This would lead me to suggest the implementation of a managerial culture that weighs itself by the same standards they project onto their employees. By doing so, employees will be more inclined to extend their trust and offer forgiveness in cases where management demonstrates inappropriate behavior.
Singhapakdi, A., Sirgy, M., Dong-Jin, L. and Vitell, S. (2010). The effects of Ethics Institutionalization on Marketing Managers: The Mediating Role of Implicit Institutionalization and the Moderating Role of Socialization. Journal of Macromarketing, 30(1), 77-92.
I agree with Daniel today manager can get confident from workers because we know that with no trust manager and workers can not do any good job. It is all about ethical. Operations management is the area concerned with the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation in support and development of the firm’s strategic goals. Other areas of concern to operations management include the design and operations of systems to provide goods and services. To put it succinctly, operations management is the planning, scheduling, and control of the activities that transform inputs into outputs. Operations management is also an academic field of study that focuses on the effective planning, scheduling, use, and control of a manufacturing or service firm and their operations. So after all that workers should get some confident from managers but they have to show them that they are the one for the job and they are here for a company not for themselves.
Employees learn by example and leaders should lead by example. An employee cannot simply read a mission statement and then be expected to follow those values if the manager does not follow them as well. “Managers do things right. Leaders do the right things.” If you are a leader, you motivate and inspire your employees and you do that through doing what you say you are going to do and doing as you tell your employees to do. If that leader’s example is an unethical one, respect will be lost and as others have said, there will be several consequences of how employees will be affected and I do agree that once trust and respect is gone, it is impossible to regain.
In reference to Chris’s statement on marketing perks and using company assets, if a manager is using company assets or marketing perks for personal gain then that in itself is unethical and should be seen that way. These types of items should be used for employee incentives, customer relationship building, and other ways that benefit the company, not the person. Any other use of company assets or marketing perks is wrong and unethical.
Leading by Example. Making Sure You “Walk the Talk”. http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_60.htm
I agree with Mark’s comments that it is possible to regain the confidence of workers but not at the same degree as it once was before the unethical behavior. Trust is key component in regaining confidence and it takes time and proof of change to show otherwise. Lack of trust can have significant effects on productivity and cause the expertly planned business initiatives to fail. The solution many say can be found in bringing employees and managers together in the right setting – through meetings. The meetings however must be combined with other channels of communication, and senior executives must be sincerely committed to meaningful dialogue with their employees. With more and more companies coming under investigation for potentially illegal behavior, businesses that what to ensure employee confidence should act sooner rather than later. Good and honest meetings to restore confidence should involve senior management, encourage dialogue, include everyone and create a comfortable environment. Managers should also realize that building trust can’t happen through one event or a one-time project.
McMaster, M. (2002). Let the Healing Begin. Successful Meetings, 51(11), 67.
The severity of the violation of trust that is forgivable is inversely proportional to the level of the two party’s relationship. A manager violating trust between a colleague of close relationship will have greater struggle in winning forgiveness, but a manager that violates trust between a colleague that isn’t close has the potential to regain to the same depth, the ethical trust more easily.
It certainly depends on the core values that the workers themselves are being held accountable to. A member of the mofia certainly doesn’t expect his boss to be an ethical person, but as a member of the parish council at your church the expectancy is very high for ethical behavior amongst the other members. This same theory tested by Professor Ghosh has also shown that “the ethical value of managers are not relevant in those organizations where the corporate values are very profit-oriented” (Ghosh 2008) So one would then have to agree that without corporate initiatives that are supported by an equally emphasized moral and ethical values we are destined to escalate to the behavior seen in the Enron scandal, again.
Ghosh, Dipankar., 2008, Corporate Values, Workplace Decisions and Ethical Standards of Emplyees. Journal of Managerial Issues, 20(1), 68-82.
It has been said that a great leader can’t lead until he knows where he is going. In the corporate world, this is the enlightenment many high-level figures fail to reach because they never step outside themselves and explore how others feel. One can’t be a leader without a strong support group – the employees who do the work to make sure the company stays consistent. Employees are the direct reflection of their employers. When the boss is having a bad day then most likely his employee will have a bad day, and when the boss takes his anger out on the employee, then the employee will take his anger out on the customer – the domino effect of ethics – this negative attitude is potent in losing confidence. Mistakes are infectious. A great leader will utilize means as to how cure these mistakes; how to restore confidence lost.
The first step concerns why employees are questioning their confidence. Author James Kouzos of the Leadership Challenge, affirms that the fundamental glue of any relationship is trust. Therefore, corporate leaders must exhibit trust. They cannot be fragile or uncertain. Their confidence inspires confidence in their employees. Subsequently, the most effective means of distributing this confidence is by coordinating a staff meeting that includes the executive. Mangers need to understand who they are leading. Improve their employees standing by instilling examples of honesty and trust. Once managers have exhibited signs of honesty and trust, employees will be more responsive. The final task is to simply keep their attention by being respectful and valuing their contributions.
When the said conditions are met, managers have the potential to regain the confidence of their employees on the ethical front.
Today manager can get confident from workers because we know that with no trust manager and workers can not do a good job. It is all about ethical. Operations management is the area concerned with the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation in support and development of the firm’s strategic goals. Other areas of concern to operations management include the design and operations of systems to provide goods and services. To put it succinctly, operations management is the planning, scheduling, and control of the activities that transform inputs into outputs. Operations management is also an academic field of study that focuses on the effective planning, scheduling, use, and control of a manufacturing or service firm and their operations
I agree with Jeff that trust is an issue that can take a lifetime to build and in a moment it’s gone. Starting over is a very long-term process. Trust is an ethical issue that can have fundamental, altering impacts on an entire organization and/or industry. Trust is mixed with morale values such as respect, honesty, fairness and responsibility. Values are the principles that shape our behaviors; however, these values are often ignored during times of stress and confusion. Since leaders often have to deal with potential conflicts of interest, wrongful use of resources, mismanagement, false promises, and demands on resources, these situations may very well fit within times of stress and confusion. According to David Gebler, “the problem is that many leaders don’t appreciate the nature of the ethics risks they face and what is in fact needed to restore trust”. Leaders take risks that enable us to move forward in terms of economic and social progress. It is the organization’s and leaders’ responsibility to determine how much risk is appropriate to retain their image and reputation.
http://managementhelp.org/blogs/business-ethics/2010/05/25/why-leaders-have-trouble-restoring-trust/ Why Leaders have Trouble Restoring Trust By David Gebler on May 25, 2010
I feel that it is possible for today’s managers to regain employee confidence on an ethical front. While American’s workers might feel battle worn due to famous corporate scandals such as Enron; workers want to feel that they are part of an ethical business organization.
In a recent interview posted by the Markkula Center for Ethics at Santa Clara University’s website guest speaker Mike Hackworth Chairman of the board for Cirrus Logic, Inc. discusses criteria for ethical business decisions:
1. Does it optimize the bottom line for the company?
2. Is it legal?
3. Does it comply with the contracts with: customers, employees, partners and the like?
4. Is it ethical?
While it might not be easy to regain employee confidence after an ethical breech it can be achieved with the work of talented management who focus on building a strong business model based upon strong corporate ethics. “Ethic builds trust and trust is the ingredient that allows us to work together.” -Mike Hackworth
I agree with those who believe managers can regain the confidence and trust of workers on the ethical front. Like some have said, everyone can make mistakes; we are only human. If a manager makes an unethical decision, employee confidence and trust can be regained depending on how the manager handles the situation after the fact. Integrity is an essential quality successful and influential managers and leaders must possess. “For leaders with integrity, the needs and activities of the people they lead must transcend their own needs” (Stefano & Wasylyshyn, 2005). A manager with integrity will be honest and forefront about the unethical decision or action he or she has made no matter what consequences lie ahead. A leader must have integrity to be worthy of trust (Christenson, 2007). By being honest with his or her employees, the manager may not receive forgiveness right away but will begin the process of regaining employee confidence and trust.
Christenson, J. (2007). Leadership and the issue of trust. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 87(4), 26.
Stefano, S., & Wasylyshyn, K. (2005, October). Integrity, courage, empathy (ICE): Three leadership essentials. Human Resource Planning, pp. 5-7.
In order to get people to act more ethical they need to see how profitable it can be. Most of the time people act unethical and the bottom line is money. So if you can show executives that being an ethical company is as profitable or more profitable than being unethical you would have a chance in lowing the number of unethical people in business. The company I work for is currently going through company wide training on the book Speed of Trust and in the book Stephan M.R Covey talks about a business deal between Wal-Mart and Warren Buffet that took a meeting and a handshake instead of the normal business practice of numerous meetings, lawyers, and contracts saving the companies significant amount of money. So if executives could see how much money they could save by being ethical companies then you could have less unethical practices.
Speed of Trust by Stephan MR Covey
I think that it is possible for a firm to gain the confidence of its workers. I think it is more difficult today than it ever has been in light of the recent scandals of Enron and Worldcom and current economic conditions. I believe it all begins with the firm’s real corporate culture not what is communicated to the media but the culture that the employees deal in everyday. An example of a trusting environment can be seen in an article from INC: “So internally with your partners and employees, you have to be able to let loose the paranoia and trust your direct reports and your partners to do something, rather than freaking out over performance or not being in control. On the other side, obviously, you need to be trustworthy (How to Build, 2010).” If managers can operate in an environment of trust and confidence among each other, confidence will be their gift from their workers
How to Build a Corporate Culture of Trust. (August 2, 2010). Retrieved Nov. 27, 2010 from Inc.: http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/08/how-to-build-a-corporate-culture-of-trust.html