Saturday, 3 May 2014

5 key questions for Business Ethics in your Organization Roffey Park's session on Ethics for business and HR. #cipdLDshow 2014

 The Individual's role in Organisation Ethics

Helene Donelly was awarded the OBE by HRH The Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace last week. She was  given the honour in recognition of her work to support hospital staff to raise concerns and improve care for patients.

The former nurse at Stafford Hospital from was a key witness during in a public enquiry into reports of poor care and abuse at the hospital.

During her time as an A and E nurse at Stafford, Ms Donnelly raised almost 100 complaints about patient treatment

Ethics has featured much in the news in the last few days. Court cases have included Public Relations’  Max Clifford, The Law’s own  Barrister Briscoe.

( For once questionable  ethics in MP’s Expenses, Banking scandals and Insider dealing were off the front pages for the time being.)

 Mr Justice Baker in his summing up of the Briscoe Case today said if Briscoe and Pryce shared anything in common it was

"arrogance by educated individuals who considered respect for the law was for others”.

The judge's summing up in the Clifford case gave much stress on Mr Clifford’s mimicry antics of a the Sky reporter outside the Southwark Court  during the case,  as disrespectful behaviour to the seriousness of the case.

The Organisation and Business Ethics 

Steve Hearsum and Alex Swarbrick from Roffey Institute ran an interesting two handed  Ethics session at The Learning and Development show on Thursday  and set out some ideas and practises on how HR, Land D and OD could shape ethical organisations.

No it's not a face off !
Steve and Alex from Roffey Park
 get focused before
the start of their stimulating session #cipdLDshow
on Ethics and the role of L and D, HR and OD

Of course there are the legal and regulation aspects of ethics but all of  us have to also consider our own personal conduct.

It was heartening to see how popular the Roffey session was and how seriously the attendee from the world of L and D consider their responsibilities in this area.

One of the most interesting conclusions from Roffey’s research was the cost of losing talent :-
The cost of poor ethics in business:  
Employees will more often walk and not report .

One of the definitions of ethics is “ the moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour.”
The principles of right and wrong behaviour.
Steve and Alex’s ethics menu covered
1 .The ethical landscape
2. The ethical dynamics at work external, internal and individual
3. Ethical leadership
4. Challenges and Opportunities for HR / OD/L and D
5. Top five questions

Steve and Alex shared some of the data from Roffey Park's latest research on Ethics in Organisations.

Here is some of the startling data they shared:-
The Management Agenda 2014 Roffey Park report - authors Dan Lucy, Meysam Poorkavoos and Julia Wellbelove

 49 % of the managers surveyed report  having observed misconduct in their organisation.

Alex and Steve outlines the ethical dynamics
the external , internal and individual landscape
32 % chose not to report the observed misconduct, often, it seems, because they
thought corrective action would not be taken or they did not wish to get involved (even more worryingly, one quarter of managers feared that action would be taken against them if they reported misconduct

53 % of managers who had observed misconduct in  their organisation expressed an intention to leave their organisation in the near future.

The comparative figure for managers who had not observed such misconduct was 41 %

 56 % of  managers  overall report that their organisations provide training on ethics, the comparative figure in the not-for-profit sector is 37 % and the public sector 47 %.

Roffey asked  managers to rate their line manager according to a construct of ethical leadership comprising six dimensions
  1.       fairness;
  2.     power sharing
  3.     role clarification;
  4.       people orientation;
  5.       integrity;
  6.     and ethical guidance.

Some Ethical dilemmas outlined by Steve
More than half the managers surveyed rated their line managers positively on each of the six dimensions.

However, this was only marginally the case with respect to ‘fairness’.
 ‘Fairness’ was the dimension out of the six that was least likely to be rated positively.

 37 % of managers agreed that their line manager was ‘focussed mainly on his or her own goals’, and 21 % agreed with the statement that their manager ‘holds me accountable for problems over which I have no control’

See links to Roffey at end of this post

In the model process they showed the audience some of the complexities.

Ethical dilemmas are a cat's cradle of  polarised positions that make business ethics challenging and complex ( and interesting !). e.g.

Truth v loyalty


 Shareholders v customers


Employees v regulators


 Suppliers v society

Short term v long term


Individual v organisation

To guide the audience in how to consider their engagement with business ethics they left us with 5 questions

Model proposed for OD, HR and Land D
5 Questions to consider regarding Ethics and your organisation

1. How far reaching ( from an ethics perspective) are the terms  by which your organisation defines it purpose ?

2. What are the main ethical challenges ( both internal and external) of your organisation ?

3. How clear are OD, HR, L and D in the ethical responsibilities in your organisation

4. What successes have you had currently in Policies, influencing Ethical  Culture in your organisation

5. What might your next most significant next step be in the ethical culture of your company ?

Finally ,back to the individual - You and me!

Clearly regulation, compliance procedures etc. will help in better business ethics but the individuals' contribution and responsibility are key also.

The NHS is probably one of the most regulated and compliance rich cultures of any organisation in the UK but regulations, sanctions and compliance procedures are not enough on their own to ensure ethical behaviour in management.

 As individuals in public, non for profit or private sector ,we need to pay attention to our own moral compass and the map of regulations to plot our ethical journeys  and when necessary be inspired by the courageous example of the likes of Helen Donelly OBE.

Related links

  Roffey Park Management Agenda 2014    Link to  Roffey Park Research

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