The need for ethical leadership in a global and capitalist world
Topic: Ethics, Leadership
Publication: Journal of Business Ethics (2010)
Article: Ethical leadership and global citizenship: Considerations for a just and sustainable future
Authors: Deborah C. Poff
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock
In a scathing critique of global capitalism and its effects on social, economic, and environmental justice, Poff (2010) lays out the argument for a realignment of values. The problems associated with global capitalism, Poff argues, are numerous. It threatens the environment in order to support the massive production of material goods, its problems are being used by charismatic extremists to win over the populations of developing nations, and the tenets of consumerism are distorting values towards possession of material goods over quality relationships and meaningful pursuits. How, then, is the world to shift away from such a destructive course? Through a massive realignment of values; championed by ethical leaders in business, education, and government.
According to Poff, we are at war with our current value system. This system tells us: “that we are what we wear, what we drive, where we live and that what we own reflects what we are worth” (Poff, 2010, p. 10). She warns that these values have been reflected in business, where recently leaders of organizations like Enron and Worldcom have chased the drive for profits to an excess that breaks with ethical norms. Given that leadership to a large extent influences organizational culture and normative behavior, it is important that global leaders have a strong moral and ethical compass.
Wanted: Company that is Well-Endowed, Reputable, and Ethical
Topic: Diversity, Recruiting, Staffing
Publication: Journal of Business Ethics
Article: Social desirability response bias, gender, and factors influencing organizational commitment: An international study.
Author: R.A. Bernardi, S.T. Guptill
Featured by: Lit Digger
Given today’s economy, job openings are drying up. However, for those companies that DO have open positions to fill, recruiters may still find it valuable to emphasize the aspects of the company that prospective applicants are looking for. So what are some key factors that job interviewees are seeking from potential employers?
Bernardi and Guptill (2009) examined the following five factors that have been found in previous literature to predict an employee’s willingness to stay committed to his/her company: the amount of resources available from the company, fairness at work, the amount of care and concern that management has for employees, the degree to which employees are trusted by management, and the company’s reputation in the community. So are ALL of these also considered important by people interviewing for a job? Well, the degree of importance may depend on the applicant’s country of origin.
The authors found that respondents from Ecuador, Columbia, and South Africa regarded the above five factors as more important than respondents from Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, and the United States. They also took out the effects of gender and for social desirability bias in their study, which was a notable contribution for ethics research.
Okay, so there were differences across countries. But were there any differences between males and females overall? Apparently, yes. Males didn’t rate any of the five factors as highly as females – but at the same time, females were generally more likely to answer in socially desirable ways than males. So, maybe recruiters and interviewers should keep in mind the country of origin and gender of each job candidate while deciding what points to emphasize in their attempt to attract and retain the best talent. Of course, these findings do not generalize toeveryone, but they still may provide some helpful hints along the way.
Doing what Simon Says Regarding Safety
How do you know that you won’t trip on the telephone cord your coworker has stretched across the entryway of your cubicle? You don’t (until the inevitable happens). How do you know whether or not workplace safety behaviors are actually practiced in your organization? A study by Parboteeah and Kapp (2008) says that the company’s ethical climate may provide some clues.
Although the link between safety and ethical climate hasn’t been examined to a great extent in previous literature, Parboteeah and Kapp found some evidence suggesting this link may exist. The authors measured three different types of ethical climate: egoist (Edgar acts ethically because he knows it’s in his self-interest to do so), benevolent (Brittany acts ethically for the sake of the common good), and principled (Pete acts ethically because of the laws, rules, or professional codes surrounding him).
So which type of ethical climate did the authors find to be associated with workplace safety? Of our three exemplified employees, we can aim our laser pointer on Pete. Workplaces with stronger principled climates were more likely to have lower injury rates and higher safety-enhancing behaviors than workplaces with weaker principled climates.
Surprisingly, no significant relationships were found with egoist climate and safety (the authors initially expected organizations with this type of climate to fall on their faces when it came to safety, which didn’t come out either). But we CAN throw a cookie to our friend Brittany because benevolent climate was negatively related to workplace injuries. (She only gets one cookie, not two, because the hypothesized positive relationship between benevolent climate and safety-enhancing behaviors was not supported.) I guess you can say that genuinely loving your neighbor (in the form of caring about their well-being) may lower work-related injuries. What you learned in pre-school prevails.
Savor it. Given the findings around principled climates in terms of workplace safety behaviors, it may be a good idea to make your organization’s rules regarding safety visible and talked about regularly. Lead by example! This may start with removing that loose phone cord lying across the beginning of this blog. Oh wait, that’s my job.
Publication: Journal of Business Ethics
Article: Are men always picked over women. The effects of employment equity directives on selection decisions.
OK. Touchy subject time. Ever thought about the influence of the company’s employment equity directives? Research by Ng and Wiesner (2007) shows that such directives may matter – especially if you’re a female applicant. Who dislikes employment equity directives? Is this because you are in the majority group (ah hem, white, males) and you believe that you could lose out to someone who less qualified because of their demographic background? Or are you in an underrepresented group at work and feel like people see you in a position, not because of your skills, but because of some demographic group you ‘belong’ to? Whichever side of the coin you are on, let’s smash this right now: employment equity directives don’t lead to less-qualified hires (according to Ng and Wiesner).
Ng and Wiesner found that employment equity directives DO help hire more people of underrepresented backgrounds, but only to the extent that the new hires are actually qualified for the job.
And, yes, it still sucks being a girl (besides that whole childbirth thing); the researchers found that underrepresented men are more likely to be hired when less qualified for the job than are underrepresented women (who are qualified?).
But wait, there’s more . . . when employment equity directives were strong, the researchers found that a bit of a backlash occurred against hiring women (but not men — shocker). A possible explanation for this could be that decision-makers were resisting coercion. So be careful about how your employment equity directives are delivered to employees that hire for your company. If they are too strong or overbearing, you may be doing more harm than good.