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Managing to be Ethical

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Summary

In the twelve page article “Managing to be ethical: debunking five business ethics myths”, Linda Trevino and Michael Brown respond to five common myths related to business ethics. They argue that there has been an increase in corporate ethics scandals which have had adverse effects on both the investors and employees. Consequently, a number of myths have been developed to explain the scenarios.

It is Easy to be Ethical

Most people imply that ethics is an easy issue that does not need to be managed. However, Trevino and Brown disagree and argue that it is a complex issue especially for business organizations (69). A number of normative frameworks are required to make decisions when faced with dilemmas on conflicting values. Moral awareness is also needed to understand the ethical dimension of an issue.

“Bad Apples” are the Causes of Unethical Behavior in Business

The myth argues that sacking bad people in an organization would make it better. Trevino and Brown disagree and argue that people are only but a product of the working environment they find in an organization. They must therefore be guided towards ethical behavior (72).

Codes and Programs can be Used to Manage Ethics

Although the codes and programs can improve ethical management, their presence, by itself, cannot guarantee ethical management. Employees should therefore understand and implement the programs.

Ethical Leadership Mainly Depends on the Integrity of the Leader

 Although good leaders are important, they must lead others to behave ethically. Trevino and Brown argue that it is useless to have an integral leader who does not guide others to also behave in the same way. Leaders should instill good character to their juniors.

People have become less Ethical than Before

The authors oppose this myth by stating that unethical behaviors have been practiced for a while. Organizations should therefore come up with a long-lasting solution as opposed to a short-term solution of unethical behavior (Trevino and Brown, 79). To achieve this, executives should understanding the current ethical culture, address the importance of business ethics, adapt reward systems, and promote ethical leadership.

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