When it comes to ethical organizational culture, the most crucial elements are trust and openness. Management can resolve lapses in ethical behavior only when employees can voice the issues that come to their attention. The first step to build an ethical workplace culture is by actively seeking individuals who are inclined to voice their concerns while facing an ethical challenge at the workplace. Based on findings from studies in behavioral sciences, some people can pick up on issues that deserve attention and remedial action.
The Relevant Dispositions
As mentioned, the first thing you have to do in the workplace as a business owner or manager is to search for employees who will notice unethical happenings and be vocal about it. This means looking for employees with certain dispositions.
Firstly, they have to exhibit conscientiousness. This means being careful, reflective as well as reliable. People who exhibit this trait are responsible for organizational citizens. Research has uncovered that conscientiousness is associated with people having higher levels of moral reasoning. This means conscientious people are far less likely to be antisocial, unethical, and unlawful behavior.
This is a trait that describes the extent to which a person is aware of the many different ethical issues that are present. A person who displays moral attentiveness sees ethical issues where other people may not notice any. If you want to have staff who will point out unethical issues in the workplace, you will need to employ staff who can identify unethical issues in the first place.
Building an Ethical Workplace Culture
To build ethical workplace culture, it requires that you, as an employer or manager, also ensure that not only do people employed have the capacity to identify unethical dilemmas and voice them, but also that they have the intention to take the issues seriously. This means you have to look for employees who display two types of orientations in particular.
Duty Orientation and Customer Orientation
The first is duty orientation. People who have a strong sense of duty are those who seem to be loyal and committed, mission-oriented as well as motivated to take action on perceived issues. Research as uncovered that people with these traits lead to them voicing their concerns faster. The second orientation is customer orientation. People with customer orientation are those who have strong motivation to prioritize the needs and wants of customers.
This leads to more ethical attitudes in the workplace environment. Employees with customer-orientated behavior tend to be more ethical since they value others’ needs as highly as their own. This creates fewer conflicts of interest. Customer-oriented employees trump sales-oriented employees in the regard of likelihood to display ethical behavior.
The Two Personality Types to Look For
To have employees that act on ethical dilemmas in the workplace, you have to look to hire people with these two personality types in particular: assertiveness and proactivity. Others around them may sometimes regard assertive people as ‘grating,’ but it is essential to build ethical cultures in the workplace. The pressure to conformance is high in every workplace.
Assertive people are those who question decisions and prevent ‘groupthink’ by going against conformity even under pressure. Proactive people are those who feel less constrained by situational forces than others. This is a useful personality trait in ethics because it causes people with this trait to be more active in maintaining a moral course. Proactive people are more likely to be ‘whistleblowers.’
Unethical issues are a very serious concern in the workplace. This is because issues of ethics have the potential to result in discord in the actual work environment of the company itself and to have the potential to result in a threat to the company’s integrity. This is especially a concern for companies who pride themselves on their ethical principles. It has never been more important to have an ethical culture in the workplace than in recent times. Hire a workforce that values ethics to achieve an ethical culture for your company.
At a time of crisis like now, your employees are your biggest asset to bank upon. And if they are ethical, it will help you pass through the tough times with ease. So, inculcate a culture of fairness in the team and you are sure to succeed.