Maria Pz Gabel
Tarleton State University
Employees Go Rogue
What we can learn from Mr. Larry Schafer and Ms. Sarah Thomas?
Our speaker Mr. Larry Schafer defined ethics as, “just being honest and doing the right thing”. The idea is simple, but the task itself can shed light on the difficulty of its interpretation. What Mr. Schafer discovered one day is that a trusted employee stole money from the company. We have learned that ethics can be taught and an ethics program has to be consistent (Nelson, Trevino, 2011). In the book, Managing Business Ethics chapter six states that people who they label as loose cannons are not aware of the rules of conduct and must be taught. A trusted employee made a bad decision. More than likely he knew stealing from the company was wrong, but he rationalized he could get away with it. We can assume that people who are tempted to steal will always rationalize that the action they take will not affect the company because they believe no one will ever know about the incident. However, this is not the case in business. When an employee is caught stealing they force management to reevaluate the employees position and the trust they have earned at the company. This is also a wakeup call for management to evaluate the organizations culture and its practices.
Standards for ethics have become increasingly needed and are now being implemented as mainstream practices. Programs are crucial for employee compliance. Ethics has to be taught and on a regular basis to remind employees the importance of compliance. The message has to be clearly understood. Leaders have to be the role model and the gatekeeper. They need to oversee ethics programs and they also need to be responsible for implementation of a fully integrated program. For the program to be effective it needs to overlap into the corporate culture. The lack of ethics in business has become so widespread that the US Congress created the U. S. Sentencing Commission in the 1990’s (Nelson, Trevino, 2011). Organizations have been failing to encourage ethics and the importance of compliance has become vital. The losses have been costly to reputable firms, employee’s jobs, and employee retirement funds. Our book states, “One bad apple can ruin a whole batch” and this statement has been proven to be true when top executives at prestigious firms such as Author Anderson ignored ethical responsibilities and gambled with the firm’s reputation (Nelson, Trevino, 2011). The firm’s demise was due to compromised executives who no longer represented the most valued principals that were the backbone of the organizations reputation for decades.
It has been observed that when given an opportunity employees can make very bad decisions. Chapter six states that not only do companies have to implement an ethics plan but they have to use several methods to reinforce and align it throughout their culture. While Mr. Schafer is clearly an ethical person and used ethical standards to run his business, the environment was not enough to keep the employee from doing the wrong thing. If the company had implemented a program where they spoke to employees on a regular basis and reinforced ethical practices, perhaps the incident would not have happened. Chances are if the employee had gotten the message and it was engrained into his conscious that stealing is not acceptable, maybe he would have acted appropriately. The variable of choosing the right decision is not guaranteed and that is why chapter five recommends using a very integrated program is extremely imperative in order to be effective. The book suggests the following practices contribute to an ethical atmosphere: * Ethics Training Programs * Training New Recruits * Training Existing Employees * Top Management Involvement In Training * Local Management Involvement In Training * Creating A Dialogue * A Training Model: The Ethics Game
Ethical leaders must create