A Framework for Understanding Organizational Ethics
Communications that are false or misleading can destroy stakeholders' trust in an organization and may at times even be considered fraudulent. False and misleading advertising is increasingly a key issue in organizational communications. Abuses in advertising can range from exaggerated claims and concealed facts to outright lying. Such abuses range from the unethical, which they clearly are, to the illegal.
Another important organizational ethics issue is discrimination. Once dominated by white males, the U.S. workforce currently includes significantly more females, African-Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities, as well as disabled and older workers. Within the next 50 years, Hispanics will comprise 24 percent of the population, whereas African-Americans and Asians/Pacific Islanders will comprise 15 percent and 9 percent, respectively. These groups have traditionally faced discrimination and higher unemployment rates and have been denied opportunities to assume leadership roles in corporate America.
Despite nearly 40 years of legislation to outlaw it, discrimination remains a significant ethical issue in organizations. The most important legislation is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, color, religion, or gender. This legislation is fundamental to employees' rights to join and advance in an organization according to merit alone.
Need to Discover Ethical Issues
Pressure for ethics audits to discover ethical issues should come from top managers who are looking for ways to track and improve ethical performance. …
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