10 Steps To Spot Unethical Leaders

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Have you seen the number of scandals in today’s organizations?  Government! Business! Non-profit organizations! Religious entities! No institution is exempted.  But—followers of these organizations deserve better!

Sadly, many employees chuckle at their bosses when they lecture them about ethical behavior in their organizations (typically because their management is not…ethical).  With the continual unethical behavior patterns of several leaders, today’s workers are more cynical about their leaders than ever.  In today’s discussion, we will evaluate how to spot unethical leaders in organizations. Continue reading

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Valuing Servant-hood for Today’s Leaders

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When I was growing up, my mother was the youth director of our church.  In elementary school, there are pressures about being cool.  I was an active church member (and yes, a choir boy in the literal sense).

My mother expected her children to be the model young person, which involved participating in church required activities.  For me, that meant participating in morning worship where the youth were required to lead devotion periodically. A call for volunteers would go out to the youth.  Of course, most of my peers felt comfortable rejecting those requests to participate. Continue reading

Ethical Decision Making

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Ethical decision-making is important for businesses. Trust and integrity must not be lost. There are three ethical concerns for the sales organization, which are (1) cheating, (2) misuse of company resources, and (3) inappropriate relationships with other employees.  

In fact, losing a customer or client’s trust is fatal stroke for businesses. Famous management expert Stephen Covey suggests that trust is the cornerstone for productivity in the market. Once customers lose faith and trust in an organization, that organization has lost ground in the market. 

Employees are motivated by different stimulus.  In fact, different employees have different motivations.  Motivation produces psychological forces that determine the direction of a person’s behavior in an organization.  In my technical field, there are few things that are impossible to accomplish; it’s a matter of time versus money. 

However, finding these solutions depend on a personal drive.  In many organizations,  supervisors search for the magical ingredient to improve employee performance so that the organization can be successful.  This initiative isn’t easy!   

For example, a salesperson might be motivated to earn high commissions at any cost. He knows his management is only concerned with the bottom-line. At the end of the year, his sales manager responses in anger to this salesperson, “You’ve committed the company to something to which we cannot commit.” Therefore, being promoting selfish behavior can cost a business in the long run.

 

Organizations must train and create a good ethical environment.  Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, further argue effective managers fully utilize their human resources to gain a competitive advantage.  Developing the desired behavior in employees is invaluable. 

In many cases, employees exist in a transactional relationship (if you do this, you will get that).  For example, a sales representative for Mary Kay will get a pink Cadillac if she reaches the designated sales limit. In fact, business perks are pretty routine. 

Most people have an internal compass that allows them to distinguish right from wrong.  For example, an employee might be tempted to take a bribe from his company’s competitor.  Johnston and Marshall make a clear distinction between a gift and a bribe. A bribe is a financial present given to manipulate the purchase decision. 

In an effective ethical system, an employee would not compromise the trust with the company, including any internal customers (supervisor, manufacturing group, etc.). 

Finally, there will be numerous situations that test a person’s moral behavior in organizations.  Ethical decision making is a way of life. Businesses must create good ethical systems where employees are accountable for their conduct.  Trust must be at the center stage of the process. 

Discuss your professional experience with making ethical decisions in your industry. 

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

Ethical Systems in Marketing Management

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Businesses that are serious about good customer relationships must have good ethical systems.  Marketing and strategy are underlying principles that must be addressed for organizations selling abroad.

Mark Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, maintain that customers operating in other countries pose unique ethical concerns for salespeople and management, especially in (1) cultural differences and (2) differences in corporate selling policies.

Marketing strategist Regis McKenna explains that effective marketing is the integration of the customer into the design of the product and designing a systematic process for interaction that will create substance in the relationship. Creating good ethical systems is critical for success.

First, any meaningful ethics program must start with senior management’s behavior. In fact, ethical behavior must start at the top. Salespeople are not the only members of the sales force who face ethical concerns. Management must address significant ethical issues with (a) salespeople, (b) company policies, and (c) international customers and policies. Yet, I do think organizational culture is the cornerstone for understanding the ethical environment.

Trust is the foundation of any meaningful corporate structure.  Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, maintain that when leaders are ineffective, chances are good that workers will not perform to their capabilities. Furthermore, senior managers should lead the way by example.

Second, the organization must evaluate the current corporate culture. There are both written and unwritten rules and behaviors that come into play. For example, Enron senior management demonstrated a lack of moral and ethical judgment, which played a critical role in its decision-making (i.e. breaking laws).  Therefore, one must review the organizational culture of the organization before attempting to implement an ethics program.

Last, the organization must be committed to a win-win approach. Managers should get all employees involved. Salespeople face ethical issues all the time. Their input would be invaluable. This fact has a great bearing on ethical behavior among employees. 

Companies need to have a plan for implementing ethics. However, they need to involve the workers. Typically, executives come up with a mandate on corporate policies. HR is forced to implement them.  There is little worker involvement. Yet, ethical conduct impacts everyone. Therefore, managers will get greater buy-in on new programs, such as ethical, if they are involved upfront in the process. 

Please discuss ethical behavior in organizations as it relates to the marketing process from your own professional experience.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Ethical Decision-making in Business Operations

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Last week, we had a special guest come to our MBA class. Rev. Anthony Rodgers, author of How God Restored My Life, shared with us his personal story that showcased a lifestyle of prestige, power, and wealth.  However, this pathway was through illegal and criminal behavior that the average individual would find distasteful.

Rev. Rodger’s was transformed; his life has become a symbol of how individuals can be redeemed and changed.  His lifestyle of drugs and crime are demised.  In the same vein, some business managers act immorally, unethically, and participate in illegal activities that can get organizations into trouble.  Do you remember Enron?  BP Oil?  There is a laundry list of these organizations.

If organizations are serious about having profitable operations, they must have good ethical systems.  Operations management does not exist in a vacuum; other business areas must be considered. Marketing and strategy are underlining principles that must be addressed for organizations selling abroad.

Michael Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, argue that customers who reside in other countries pose unique ethical concerns for salespeople and management, especially in (1) cultural differences and (2) differences in corporate selling policies.[1]

Regis McKenna, author of Relationship Marketing, further suggests that effective marketing is the integration of the customer into the design of the product; to design a systematic process for interaction will create substance in the relationship.[2] Creating a good ethical system is critical for success.

First, any meaningful, ethical program must start with senior management behavior. In fact, ethical behavior must start at the top. Salespeople are not the only members of the sales force who face ethical concerns. Management must address significant ethical issues with (a) salespeople, (b) company policies, and (c) international customers and policies.

I do think that organizational culture is the cornerstone for understanding the ethical environment. Trust is the foundation of any meaningful corporate structure.  Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, maintain that when leaders are ineffective, chances are good that workers will not perform to their capabilities.

Johnston and Marshall further suggest senior management style (do their actions match their words), the established culture of the organization, and external forces can create a climate where unethical or even illegal behavior is tolerated.[3] Therefore, senior managers should lead the way by example.

Second, the organization must evaluate the current corporate culture. There are both written and unwritten rules and behaviors that come into play. For example, Enron senior management demonstrated a lack of moral and ethical judgment that played a critical role in its decision-making (i.e. breaking laws) policies.  Therefore, one must review the organizational culture of the organization before attempting to implement an ethics program.

Last, the organization must be committed to a win-win approach. Companies need to have a plan for implementing ethics. However, these plans need to involve the workers. Typically, executives come up with a mandate on corporate policies and HR is forced to implement them.  There is little worker involvement.

Yet, ethical conduct impacts everyone.  Employees at various levels face ethical issues all the time. Their input would be invaluable. This fact has a great bearing on ethical behavior among employees.

Discuss your professional experience on how ethical decision making can impact business operations.

 © 2013 by Daryl D. Green


[1] Relationship Selling by Michael Johnston and Greg Marshall

[2] Relationship Marketing by Regis McKenna

[3] Contemporary Management by Gareth Jones and Jennifer George