Last Friday AgCareers.com presented a webinar for employers, Why do Smart People Make Unethical Decisions? Ethics expert Chuck Gallagher discussed human dynamics when it comes to ethical decisions, the phases of “The Unethical Continuum” and establishing a road map to keep employees’ behavior between the ethical lines.
Gallagher said that our intentions create our behavior, but the culture of an organization should create a system to help keep people between ethical lines. He shared The Ethical Continuum:
1. Not good for the customer (i.e. not taking a customer’s phone call or not responding to an email)
2.Not good for the company (i.e. using the company printer to print something for your personal life or using work time for personal purposes like shopping online)
3. Policy violations (i.e. missing work without notice, improper dress code)
4. Unethical (i.e. lying to coworkers, bullying)
5. Illegal (i.e. fraud, theft, sexual harassment)
Gallagher said that you can never guarantee that everyone will make unethical decisions. As long as it is socially acceptable, some people are willing to do things that are potential illegal (think speed limits).
When people get out of balance by such things as divorce, financial problems, health issues, etc., they want to bring their life back in balance and can make poor or unethical decisions. They have a need, find an opportunity, and then rationalize their decisions. Reasons for 81% of unethical decisions being made include living beyond means, financial problems, close association with vendors or customers, and excessive control issues.
If bad choices are made and the offender finds out it is easy, it is probable they will do it again. Employees and employers need to understand that every choice has a consequence.
How will your company help employees stay between the ethical lines?
If you are interested in purchasing a full recording of this ethics webinar, contact email@example.com.
Find out more information about our next webinar, Women in the Agricultural Workplace.