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Formal Ethics Training in Organizations

Added on - 01 Mar 2020

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2IS FORMAL ETHICS TRAINING IN ORGANIZATIONS MERELY COSMETIC?Is Formal Ethics Training in Organizations Merely Cosmetic?IntroductionEthics training has gained lot of importance since past few decades. Today, most businessorganizations conduct ethics training programs with an aim of inculcating ethical decisionmaking in the organization culture[ CITATION Val04 \l 16393 ]. An ethical culture works as aroadmap for effective employee conduct, and other than ethics training organizations should alsodevelop programs and policies that would ensure permeation of ethical guidance in theorganizational culture[ CITATION Val04 \l 16393 ]. Ethics training has seen various changes sincelast decade. Globalization and technological advancements have also contributedinsophistication of the ethics programs. Ethics training programs are formed keeping in mind thedecision-making theories and empirical researches which indicate the benefits of such trainingprograms[ CITATION LeC00 \l 16393 ]. Although, many research studies suggest that ethics trainingprograms are effective in improving ethical-decision making of the employees and their conduct.However, it is argued that such ethics training program are merely cosmetic[ CITATION War14 \l16393 ]. The paper aims at studying the effectiveness of ethics training programs byconducting aliterature review. A critical review of the available literature suggest that, ethics trainingprograms induce ethical thinking, provided the organization implements policies that facilitatepermeation of ethical concepts in organizational culture. Based on the literature review andresearch findings, the paper argues that ethics training is not cosmetic, and that for long-termeffectiveness of the ethics training, organizations must work towards internalization of ethicsinto the organization value system, through cultural adaptation of ethics.
3IS FORMAL ETHICS TRAINING IN ORGANIZATIONS MERELY COSMETIC?Effectiveness of Ethics TrainingOrganizations adopt formal ethics training programs with a view of reducing unethical behavior.The ethics training program is designed to influence the behavior of employees. Warren, Lauferand Gaspar (2014) conducted a two-year study that assessed the influence of single ethicstraining session on the ethical behavior of employees[ CITATION War14 \l 16393 ]. The studyfound after first year of training session, employees showed positive effects, and by the secondyear also they showed signs of ethicalbehavior, however, after the second year the boost seemedto dissipated, which suggests that, mere ethics trainings are not enough, and cultural adaptation isrequired. Hence, to inculcate ethical behavior organizations must induce ethics in organizationalculture[ CITATION War14 \l 16393 ].A recent study conducted by Muel Kaptein (2014), examines the effects of ethics trainingprograms in organizations. The research study also focuses on the components of the ethicsprogram which induce less unethical behavior in organizations[ CITATION Kap14 \l 16393 ].Thefindings of the study suggest that organizations with ethics program face less unethical behaviorthan organizations with no ethics program[ CITATION Kap14 \l 16393 ].In this study Kaptein(2014) describes some important functions of ethics training program for the training to beeffective[ CITATION Kap14 \l 16393 ]. Firstly, the ethics training program must presenta clear ideaabout the unethical behaviour[ CITATION Kap14 \l 16393 ]. More importantly, the ethics programrequires the senior management to be the role model and demonstrate ethicalbehavior. Asuccessful ethics training program will provide resources for employees to behave ethically andfoster a commitment among employees to behave ethically[ CITATION Kap14 \l 16393 ]. A majorfunction of the ethics training program is to reinforceethical behavior among employees. Hence,
4IS FORMAL ETHICS TRAINING IN ORGANIZATIONS MERELY COSMETIC?based on the findings of the study it is evident that formal ethics training programs are effectivein reducing unethical behavior and inducing ethical organizational culture.Similarly, LeClair and Ferrel (2000) restate findings of Joe Murphy (1998) and suggest that anethics training program which only says correct and ethical things, and only designs a code ofethical conduct, and impressive lectures from senior management and company lawyers, cannotbe effective unless it does something substantive to prevent unethical behaviour, and deviationsfrom ethical decisions making[ CITATION LeC00 \l 16393 ]. The research study argues that ethicaltraining can be effective provided organizations induce an ethical culture[ CITATION LeC00 \l16393 ]. The authors base their arguments on the basis of theories behind ethical decision makingmodels, like that of Hunt and Vitell (1986) which suggests that ethical culture is an importantcomponent for ethical decision making, and that organizational culture is largely influenced byappropriate ethics training.Need for Effective Ethics TrainingGlobalization and technological changes have changed the way organizations operate and eventhink, because, today innovation and creativity is key components for organizations to competeand sustain in the competitive markets. LeClair & Ferrel emphasize the increasing pressureswhich require the organizations to undertake initiatives to develop and implement ethics trainingprograms. The study highlights the results of a study undertaken by the society of Chartered LifeUnderwriters and Chartered Financial Consultants, which states that, around 50% of USemployees have accepted committing an unethical behavior related to technology[ CITATIONLeC00 \l 16393 ].
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