Business managers around the globe are increasingly faced with the daunting task of responsible business management especially on the issues of business ethics and business sustainability. There is a lot more to business management rather than just avoiding missteps and following specific set rules. It completely involves creation of a development pathway, a bridge that never was in existence. Responsible business management has the following aspects:-
- Solving personality differences
One of the easiest hacks for a manager to avoid personality conflicts at the workplace is sufficient knowledge to handle the same. Despite all efforts, at some point in our life we get to meet with people whose personality we don’t like (Herzberg F, 1966). Conflicts can arise from these differences. This disrupts the whole system at the workplace, enjoyment of work suffers and stress levels shoot up. There are different types of personality conflicts.
- a) Working a style difference which is quite different in all workers, some finish given assignments at the verge of the deadline while other people are faster in delivering. These instances can cause conflicts among workers.
- b) Background differences such as gender, religion and ethnicity causes people to view situations from different angles. This difference in perception, which comes from our beliefs and personal experiences, can have a big impact on how we interact with others.
- c) Attitude differences. A thing such as arrogance and irritability all create a negative attitude towards workmates. It is very difficult to work with a person who has a negative attitude. This makes collaboration at work very difficult.
- d) Competitive and cooperative differences. Some feel at the workplace feel the need to work together to achieve set objectives while others prefer working alone to beat deadlines. Taking the competitiveness too serious can sabotage a person’s objectives at work hence poor input to the company.
Personality differences have a myriad of consequences. First it causes stress and apprehension in the workplace. This is not good for a worker as it causes immense physical and mental strain. These situations also cause lower productivity at the workplace. Stresses and tensed workers cannot perform optimally. Conflict drains energy and hence lowers productivity. The effectiveness of a tem relies on the input from every member of the team. When the cooperation in the team is altered, it can cause serious drops in productivity.
Knowledge on how to minimize workplace conflicts is paramount in responsible business management. In order to achieve this, many things should be put into consideration. They include the following:-
- a) Do not assume anyone’s personality; it is a fact that personalities are different.
- b) Your perception of things is not necessarily the right way.
One can use the following strategies to ensure that personality conflicts are minimized in the work area. Understanding and acceptance of others unique a personality is paramount in solving the problem. Staying professional in the organization (McGregor D, 1960) helps neutralize the effect of such conflicts. Being courteous and calm during such situations helps prevent confrontations from happening. If the conflicts happen it is important to find the root of the conflict and forward the same to management if you are unable to solve it for resolving in line with the organizations code of ethics. Some Organizations offer workshops or training to workers on how to build teams. Here they are taught different values which encourage cooperation. Personality challenges are currently the most daunting challenge in the workplace (Hardy C, 1994). Good news is that it can be diffused by taking steps such as acceptance and understanding, professionalism and appropriate action.
Jacques. , 1996. Manufacturing the Employee, London Sage.
Hardy, C., 1994. Managing Strategic Action, London: Sage
Herzberg, F. , 1966. Work and The Nature of Man, London. Staples Press
McGregor, D., 1960. The Human Side of Enterprise. London. McGraw Hill
- Breaching Experiments
A breaching experiment is a simple procedure that is used to examine an individual’s reaction to a violated socially accepted norm (Garfinkel, 1991). These experiments involve presenting breached or unexpected practices to people and observing the types of social reactions from the people involved in the procedure. The work of Harold Garfinkel in particular is important in establishing the breaching experiments. He is renowned for establishing the research strategy of ethno methodology which is widely used in sociological studies. An example of such is entering a bus only to find a few passengers seated scarcely inside the bus and many seats are left empty. As a human you will not be tempted to sit next to anyone rather you will find an empty seat farthest from anyone. It is not illegal to sit next to anyone but it will be against the commonly agreed behavior in the bus. I once went into a store during break to pick snacks and instead of lining up behind other people, I hopped the line and went right to the front where the cashier was; Of course I got angry stares and sneers from other shoppers since I was breaking the common norm of lining up. Social scientists believe that by studying people’s everyday life and their spoken or unspoken reactions to situations will light the way on understanding how human beings create daily orderliness in life (Goffman, 1971). An experiment described by Harold involved sending students to restaurants and sales stores and mistake other shoppers for waiters.Ofcourse the shoppers got shocked due to the unexpected behavior. Another one was tipping their parents, teachers and classmates for small acts of being kind. This elicited mixed feelings since it was against the expected behavior. In business, use of breaching experiments is one of the ways of improving responsibility and makes a framework of socially accepted ethics in the management of organizations.
- Garfinkel, H., 1991. Studies in ethnomethodology.Polity press. p 36.
- Goffman, E., 1963. Behavior in public places. Free press. p 35
- Goffman, E., 1971. Relations in Public: Microstudies of the Public Order. Basic Books
- Background resistance conversations
Some of the resistance causing aspects in organizational management is resistance to change which is driven by the following, complacency, Cynicism and Resignation. Resistant to change is evident since it threatens the status quo (Spector, 1989) or increases the fear and anxiety of the real or other imagined consequences (Beer, 1980) including threats’ to personal security and lack of confidence in ability to perform (Scherr, 1989).These real aspects known as change, and resistance usually come from the process of conversations and actions constituted in those conversations. These conversations can range from simple statements like “do it” to a broader network which constitutes arguments and sometimes conflicts. Conversations are a way of constructing realities. There can be background conversations which is an unspoken, implicit background conversion which elicits the following aspects:-
This refers to the intricate flaw in organizations and which is a limiting factor which deters organizations from going past the status quo and to achieve more success. Complacency is a great business killer and this attitude should be eliminated at all costs. It assumes the normal activities are enough so going any further is not necessary. As a result, any attempt to change things around will be met with staunch resistance. It takes careful examination of an organization past to help root out any bad vices like organizational complacency.
Cynicism also holds back organizations from performing optimally under good production conditions. Cynical people are less more cooperative and assume malevolent motives behind any actions in the workplace. The resistance could lead to low achieved financial achievements since the workplace is a social setting. Statements such as “This is just more of the old stuff,” illustrate a cynical attitude. Conversations in a cynical attitude usually tend to show deceit, misleading, being let down or betrayal by other powerful colleagues.
This resistance is breeded from historical failure .In a business where things have gone south, The resignation attitude is breeded and this includes statements such as “this won’t work either”, “I don’t have the skills or luck” among others. Usually when we meet failure, we tend to blame it on other external factors other than ourselves(Bettman and Weitz,1983).Trying to introduce a change in a resigned background usually will result in half hearted efforts, unwillingness to participate and no morale. Despite from displaying discouragedness, resigned background conversions pose the possibility that another individual might succeed apart from you.
According to the above discussion, if factors that cause the resistance are discussed at length and solved through conversations,(Ford and Ford,1995) can give breakthroughs in organizational change and overall performance(Scherr,1989).
Beer. , 1980. Organization change and management: A systems view, Goodyear, Santa Monica CA
Bettmann,J. and Weitz, B.,1983.Attributions in the Boardroom: causal reasoning in corporate annual reports, Administrative Science quarterly,Vol. 28 No.2
Ford J. and Ford L., 1995. The role of Conversations in producing intentional change in organizations, Academy of management Review, Vol.20 No.3
Scherr, A., 1989. Managing for breakthroughs in Productivity, Human Resource Management Vol.28
- Corporate Responsibility
Corporate responsibility is the way in which a business or organization takes responsibility for its actions and those of its workers on its stakeholders, communities including employees (. It also includes the manner in which your company takes care of its impact on the environment, how it supports and treats its employees and how it takes part in or supports community development sectors in the eradication of social issues such as drug abuse. The real reason for corporate responsibility is to make sure that everyone in the organization is accountable for their actions and works earnestly to earn the trust and faith of customers and investors. Being a socially responsible business usually requires some more short term input such as high material and labour costs (McGregor D, 1996) but it is worth the input.
In a competitive environment, employees and investors are normally drawn to businesses or organizations that have a good track record for responsible corporate behavior such as environmental protection. This enables an organization to get people who have crucial skills in business (McGregor D, 1996) such as leadership, ability to work as a team and leadership. By showing capability of commitment to help solve social problems such as drug abuse, or rising school dropout rates, it is a positive sign that the organization values positive societal change. By adopting or subscribing to improved environmental management practices, the organization shows its customers and employees that it cares about the planets sustainability and the future as a whole. This helps re establish a stronger customer base and loyalty and avoid environmental pollution penalties that could cause losses to the company.
Large companies usually that deal with environmentally hazardous products such as oil and chemicals can do damage to natural ecosystems. For example, some plant communities have been wiped out in the Amazon in order to make way for economical activities such as ranching, farming, mining and logging. Corporate Responsibility is therefore much needed in order to address this imminent environmental deterioration. The same much money that enables powerful companies to inflict danger to natural ecosystems should be used to effect positive societal change. These companies can also use their great influence to force governments and other corporations to be more ethical when dealing with natural resources. The organizations can also donate in good cause to charities or foundations that promote environmental cleanup. Investing in affected communities can also go a long way in compensating or offsetting the effects caused by the organization to the native communities.
The Diamond industry for instance has come under harsh criticism for benefitting from injustices within its production and supply chain.”Names such as blood diamonds” are coined from diamonds sourced from war torn areas and which also misuse young children in mining. Such issues have been witnessed in Angola and Congo. Good corporate responsibility is paramount in ensuring these effects are averted at all costs. An important shift is therefore needed in the way people view corporate responsibility (David C 2008). Some people also feign to be responsible which the case isn’t usually all the time. The situation right now in the world platform is that many large corporations are devoting large amounts of finances and time in environmental sustainability activities and other social welfare programs. These activities should be encouraged and at the same time questioned and positively criticized. In line with promoting corporate responsibility. The international organization for standardization (ISO) came up with a set of standards which are designed to guide companies and other businesses to implement corporate social responsibility. The framework was released in 2010.There are various measures a company can take to improve its corporate responsibility in society and such include, the following.
- a) Using fair and honest product or service marketing strategies. These are supposed to represent the company’s integrity.
- b) Selling up to standard goods to consumers. They should bypass the limits set by standardizing agents in the region and obey laws and regulations that ensure quality and safety of consumers.
- c) Reducing environmental impact by using green energy and reducing energy use.
- d) Regulate suppliers of materials, go through their past and make sure they meet your standards for issues such as fair pricing.
- Put up a code of ethics for all stakeholders in the organization.
- Committing to worthy causes such as environmental conservation, also develop a framework and policies that allow the organization to realize this commitment.
David, C., 2008. Corporate Social Responsibility.Ventuirs press
Hardy, C., 1994. Managing Strategic Action, London: Sage
McGregor, D., 1960. The Human Side of Enterprise. London. McGraw Hill
Hoffmann, M., 1992. Emerging global Business Ethics. Proceedings from the ninth Conference on Business Ethics, Quorum Books
- An example of Business Model
In the responsible management of organizations, applied ethics refers to the “moral conclusions based on rules, standards, code of ethics and models that help guide important decisions. It is a branch of philosophy that theoretically, logically and rationally separates right from wrong, just from unjust and moral from immoral actions. In simple terms, ethics means learning what is wrong and what is right and then doing the right thing. Renowned ethicists assert that there is ever a right thing to do basing on the moral principles while others believe that the right thing to do entirely depends on the situation at hand, so the decision ultimately depends on the individual.
Many other people such as philosophers believe that ethics is a science of conduct. Ethicists also believe that that emerging ethical beliefs are “state of the art” legal constituents that is an ethical guideline usually always translates into a law or regulation. There are many fields in the broad framework of business ethics. These include descriptive, comparative and normative ethics. The normative caption of business ethics is mainly concerned with the behavior of workers in the business and how it compares to social upbringing or cultural issues. Descriptive ethics is concerned with how you incorporate best personal beliefs into business management (Johnson D, 2015). However, incorporating ethical frameworks into business requires a huge measure of respect to other people’s viewpoint (Hoffman M, 1992). This is because your workers and consumers come from different social and economic backgrounds.
Any attempt to install or institutionalize an ethical principle must be put in line with respect for the groups you interact with .An example of the case of application of ethical values includes the following; a spy named Don is willing to deliver strategic confidential information from your competitor in a week for a fee. He truly delivers the information within the agreed time. It is true to say that Don is professing an important value; honesty. It is true to say that Don is behaving ethically right since he kept his word. He was consistent with his word to you. A year later, you ask another spy, Jot, who is a competitor to Don to get you the same information.Jod, goes ahead to profess the same values (Honesty) but fails to deliver the required information wholly but within the agreed time. He goes ahead to blackmail you for handouts and even threatens to report you to your competitor and the authorities. This can be said that Jot conducted his business unethically since he did not consistently keep his profession to you. However, the whole dealing of spying competitors is deemed as wrong and unethical by society.
In a nutshell, Morals represent professions of someone’s beliefs; Ethics is the wholesome act of delivering your professed values. Corporate ethical practices are part and parcel of daily business life and organizations and other businesses can use such forums to enhance the meaning of morality and ethics as a means of improving business performance and responsible business management. Corporate codes of ethic are not necessarily guidelines of doing what’s right but are avenues for enabling workers or staff in a business to do what is deemed morally right as stipulated by the organization. Doing so usually increases an individual’s commitment to their company hence overall goodwill for the organization. There are many advantages of good business ethics. With a good ethical platform comes a positive public image, boosts morale and individual goodwill of employees.
Financial responsibility refers to the ability to live within your means. It is the all inclusive process of managing money and other assets in a productive way considered to be of the best interest of the organization. This is especially important to companies and managers in this sector are highly expected to be at the forefront in ensuring that financial responsibility is achieved. Having deep knowledge of financial activities and money management involves making of a mindset that enables one to look beyond the present and hence plan for the future. The process starts with the in-depth understanding of the clear differences between what you need and what you want. This is paramount in ensuring that more important things are dealt with first and then taking care of the wants or luxuries later. The degree of financial responsibility depends upon the type and size of organization. It can be done in many ways:-
- a) Demonstrating self-Insurance
- b) Placing some amount of money into a trust fund run by an external party.
- c) Having the business being covered by a state financial assurance fund.
All these aforementioned tips enable one to insure the company or businesses against unexpected losses.
All these strategies are helpful in ensuring that a business is run responsibly and reasonably without hurting natural resources and all stakeholders involved and at the same time achieving its set objectives.
Johnson, D., 2015. Ethics at work, Survey of employees.
Hoffmann, M., 1992.Emerging global Business Ethics, Proceedings from the ninth Conference on Business Ethics, Quorum Books.
Hoffmann, M., 1984. Corporate Governance and Institutionalizing Ethics, Proceedings from the Fifth Conference on Business Ethics, Lexington Books