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Developing an Ethical Framework - A must Read in Portugal

The past few weeks has once again highlighted the need for ethical practice education in Portugal, because ethics do not apply only to large issues it applies across the board in our opinion. Its a case of an individual is either ethical or not. Its a case of facing issues and making the right ethical decision even if the end "could" be used to justify unethical methods being applied.

Any organisation, wether formally constituted or not, its good name and the trust of stakeholders are two of its most important assets. You can protect your organisation's reputation and increase stakeholder engagement by creating an environment where ethical conduct is the norm.

Reduce your organisation ethics risk 

Establish a strong ethical foundation.

This strong foundation consists of several elements key elements:

  1.     Written standards of ethical conduct.
  2.     Training on ethic standards.
  3.     Resources that provide advice about ethics and compliance issues.
  4.     A means to report potential violations confidentially or anonymously.
  5.     Performance evaluations of ethical conduct.
  6.     Systems to discipline violators.

But just having these elements is not enough. When it comes to ethical conduct and compliance, it's not enough to "print, post and pray." Implementation and integration matter.

Your ethics and compliance program must be vital, integrated element of your work and the way you do it, ensuring that everyone know how to and feel supported in their efforts to uphold ethics and compliance standards in their lives.

Building a culture of integrity -- from the top down.

People have an innate desire to get along and (long-past high school) want to fit in and conform to the norms of those around them. It may not be pleasant to admit it, but most people's ethics standards are fairly malleable. Although most people retain a desire to "do the right thing," the definition of right is significantly influenced by the company they keep. Culture matters.

Fortunately, if your organisation has diligently built an ethics and compliance program and woven it into the daily operations of the organization, a strong ethics culture is far more likely. Research proves that an effective ethics and compliance program helps build a culture of integrity in which everyone "walks the talk." In a strong ethics culture, people placed at all levels of society are committed to doing what is right and upholding values and standards.

Leaders are powerful drivers of corporate culture; they set the tone in any organization. There are several things leaders should do to help promote a strong ethics culture:

  1.     Talk about the importance of ethics.
  2.     Keep stakeholders adequately informed about issues that impact them.
  3.     Uphold promises and commitments to stakeholders.
  4.     Acknowledge and reward ethical conduct.
  5.     Hold accountable those who violate standards, especially leaders.
  6.     Model ethical conduct both professionally and personally.

When it comes to ethical leadership, there are two key things to keep in mind:

  1. Character is paramount. Ethical leaders show integrity not only in the way they conduct themselves at work, but in their personal relationships as well. In a world of social media, private behavior often becomes public knowledge, shaping employees'/volunteers beliefs about what kind of individuals their leaders are.
  2. Leadership happens at all levels. While senior leaders set the tone for the entire organization, supervisors shape the everyday environments in which employee/volunteers work and make decisions. The actions of a supervisor have a profound impact on employees/volunteers and their conduct.

Keep a "values focus" in moments big and small.

Ethics is about choices-big and small. Organizations with integrity keep their values at the forefront in both mundane and the extraordinary moments. Organisational values should come into play and be reflected in multiple processes that drive the everyday life of the organisation

On those occasions when crises occur, leaders should recognize not only the ethical dimension of the moment at hand, but the "teachable moment" it represents. Edgar Schein, the father of the study of organizational culture, noted that moments of crisis are particularly powerful culture-builders because of the intensity of emotion involved. Our research shows that employees learn a great deal about leaders' priorities and character when they show their "true colors." If leaders make values their touchstone in times of crisis, employees learn that ethics matters.

 

Text amended from the following source.Find more information about ethics on this link: http://www.ethics.org/newsite/research/free-toolkit/reducing-risk

More info about ethics - very good resource: (Photo (C) copyright http://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/series/concepts-unwrapped

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