An Organizational Challenge


An organizational challenge that has taken on renewed importance relates to ethics and social responsibility. An individual’s ethics are his or her beliefs about what is right and wrong or good and bad. Social responsibility is the organization’s obligation to protect and/or contribute to the social environment in which it functions. Thus, while the two concepts are related, they are also distinct from each other.

Both ethics and social responsibility have taken on new significance in recent years. Scandals in organizations have made the headlines around the world. From the social responsibility, increasing attention has been focused on pollution and business’s obligation to help clean up our environment, business contributions to social causes, and so forth.

Leadership, organization culture, and group norms—all important organizational behavior concepts—are relevant in managing these processes. And because employees know the organizational culture so well that they know they would be expected to respond.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Compliance and Integrity


In the earliest stages, organizational ethics centered on the narrow perspective of ethics—the notion of compliance. Are we following the laws? Are we at risk from litigation? If so, how do we minimize that risk?

Ethics programs matured and ethics officers, most of whom are selected from the managerial ranks with little, if any, special preparation, developed increased sophistication regarding the challenges facing their organizations. Both the ethics officers and their organizations began to embrace personal and corporate values in decision making (value-based decision making) as the logical expansion of the definition of what it means to be ethical. What has emerged is what many ethics officers today characterize as the “best practices” model of the ethics office and of a values-based corporation.

But change continues. What is emerging today is a more holistic definition of what it means to be a “good” corporation. This new, global view will again help to reshape the responsibilities and focus of the ethics officer.

The shift to a global perspective means another broadening of the definition of ethics. “Global Integrity” is the latest descriptor, and it embraces both compliance and ethics. It also adds concern for rule of law, human rights, good governance, labor/child labor concerns, anti-corruption/anti-bribery, concern for the environment, safety, social responsibility, good corporate citizenship, and respect for the whole diverse array of local cultures to the definition. This increases the organization’s obligation to reach beyond traditional company boundaries to consider how decisions would affect the surrounding community. One consequence of this new global definition of the organizational ethics is increased scrutiny by stakeholders, especially advocacy groups and the media.

Corporate ethics officers, especially those in multinational corporations and/or corporations with global suppliers/markets, are being challenged with fundamental questions in this expanded integrity area. Perhaps the most common, and most challenging, is how the corporation will balance the desire for global standards (consistency) against the need for local application of standards.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The Stewardship Principle


Many of today’s corporate executives see themselves as stewards, or trustees, who act in the general public’s interest. Although their companies are privately owned and they try to make profits for the stakeholders, business leaders who follow stewardship principle believe they have an obligation to see that everyone—particularly those in need—benefits from the company’s actions. According to this view, corporate managers have been placed in a position of public trust. They control vast resources whose use can affect people in fundamental ways. Because they exercise this kind of crucial influence, they incur a responsibility to use those resources in ways that are good not just for the stockholders alone but for society in general. In this way, they have become stewards, or trustees, for society. As such they are expected to act with a special degree of social responsibility in making business decisions.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The Contract Theory


The contract theory holds that when a person buys a product or service, he or she is entering into a contract with the manufacturer. The manufacturer (and by implication the employee representing the manufacturer) has four main obligations:

  1. To make sure the product or service complies with the contract in several respects: it should do what its advertisements say it can, it should operate a certain period of time before needing service or maintenance, and it should be at least as safe as the product information states and the advertising suggests.
  2. To disclose all pertinent information about the product or service, so that the potential consumer can make  an informed decision on whether to purchase it.
  3. To avoid misrepresenting the product or service.
  4. To avoid coercion.

Critics of the contract theory argue that the typical consumer cannot understand the product as well as the manufacturer does, and that consumer ignorance invalidates the contract.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Mistake


The term mistake is used in contract law to describe the situation in which one or both of the parties to an agreement acted under an untrue belief about the existence or nonexistence of a material fact. In mistake cases, unlike fraud and misrepresentation cases where the victim is also acting under a mistaken belief about the facts, the mistaken belief about the facts is not the product of a misstatement by the other party. Mistaken in this sense does not include errors of judgment, ignorance, or a party’s mistaken belief that he or she will be able to fulfill certain obligations under a contract. The things that were said about materiality and fact in the law misrepresentation hold true in mistake cases.

In deciding mistake cases, courts often seem to be trying more obviously to do justice than in other kinds of cases. This is why decisions in mistake cases sometimes seem to depart from the announced rules of law dealing with mistake.

Mistake cases are classified as mutual or unilateral, depending on whether both or only one of the parties was acting under a mistaken belief about a material fact. Mutual mistake is always a basis for granting rescission of the contract at the request of either party. Clearly, no meeting of the minds took place and therefore no true contract was ever formed.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Corporate Stakeholders


Stockholders are a critically important group. By providing capital, monitoring corporate performance, assuring the effective operation of stock markets, and bringing new issues to the attention of management, stockholders play a very important role in making the business system work. Corporate leaders have an obligation to manage their companies in ways that promote and protect a variety of stakeholders. Balancing these various interests is a prime requirement of modern management. Although stakeholders are no longer considered to be the only important stakeholder group, their interests and needs remain central to the successful operation of corporate business.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Employee-Employer Contract


Employees and employers are engaged in a stakeholder relationship that includes numerous expectations by both parties. The employer, for example, has assumed various duties and obligations. Some of these responsibilities are economic or legal, others are social or ethical in nature.

The relationship is clearly more than simply paying a worker for the labor provided. Cultural values and traditions also play a role. In most Western countries, employers feel they have a duty to include workers on the board of directors to assist in forming company policy. For many years, Japanese employers have offered their workers lifelong employment, although this practice has become less widespread in recent years.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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