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Organizational Behavior Trends: Ethics and Technology Influences

Essay by   •  February 21, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,279 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,670 Views

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Abstract

Managers must be concerned with questions such as how do ethics influence the decision-making process and how is work-related stress affected by technology. Ethics in business is not a new issue. In 1550, Charles V of Spain contemplated the status of the natives discovered in the New World. Should they be slaves or be assigned a higher status? As of today, management is still affected by business ethics and needs to be aware of ethical expectations and the ramifications that a lack of ethics can cause (Boyd, 2004, p. 35). Another concern for managers is how technology impacts work-related stress known as technostress. Both of these areas influence the behaviors of employees, customers, and managers, and therefore impacts how a company operates, profits, deadlines, and reaching goals.

Organizational Behavior Trends

Organizational behavior is a multiple disciplinary field, covering a variety of items pertaining to businesses including the influence of ethics on decision-making and the impact of technology on work-related stress. The decisions that managers make affect the company internally and externally. Therefore, managers must be concerned with questions such as how do ethics influence the decision-making process and how is work-related stress affected by technology. Both of these areas influence the behaviors of employees, customers, and managers.

Ethics in business is not a new issue. In 1550, Charles V of Spain contemplated the status of the natives discovered in the New World. Should they be slaves or be assigned a higher status? As of today, management is still affected by business ethics and needs to be aware of ethical expectations and the ramifications that a lack of ethics can cause (Boyd, 2004, p. 35). That is why many businesses have developed and adopted a code of ethics for all employees to follow, especially the managers, and mandatory annual training. Businesses and managers have established procedures for reporting ethical violations, involving employees in identifying ethical issues, monitoring and rewarding ethical behavior, and publicizing efforts in this area (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2005, p. 445). Today in the post-Enron era, a vast majority of Fortune 500 corporations and the Big Four accounting firms have gone a step further by appointing an ethics officer. An ethics officer is an individual who helps foster positive ethical values and standards, and assists management and staff in living up to such standards (Daigneault, 2002, p. 38-9).

At Ames Research Center (ARC), there is a very strong ethics program since has been in existence since 1958 and revised in 1978 to adopt the Ethics in Government Act (Feick, 2004, p. 1). In fact, there is a whole department of 23 people at ARC that devote all their time to ensuring that the managers and employees are aware and practicing the approved Code of Ethics for ARC. The ARC's ethics department holds annual training for all employees and tracks the attendance. There are repercussions for those who chose not to attend. The ethics staff periodically performs audits to ensure that procedures are followed. Based of the results of the audits, some people will be publicly rewarded for their ethical contributions, anywhere from a certificate to cash awards depending on the nature of the contribution (Feick, p. 1-2). However, since the Enron incident, management has tighten the procedures and tolerance for deviations of any type has disappeared. The rule to day at ARC is "if the action looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, then the action is a duck", which means if the action being considered even has a hint of being unethical, then the manager is to make another choice.

Another concern for managers is how technology impacts work-related stress known as technostress. Technostress is a combination of performance anxiety, information overload, role conflicts, and organizational factors, as well as reliance on technological devices, panic when the device fails, a state of near-constant stimulation, or being constantly "plugged-in" (Brillhart, 2004, p. 303). Here is an example of technostress:

You are late for work, your cell phone is ringing off the hook, and your pager is going off every five seconds. The time is 7:30 am and you are virtually already at work although you are stuck in traffic trying to talk on the cell phone and drive your vehicle. You worked half the night from home on a key project that is due this morning. The company has provided you a laptop to allow you to work from anywhere as needed. A virtual private network that you can access from anywhere provides access into the company network if you have an Internet connection. In essence, your workday from yesterday never really ended (Brillhart, 2004, p. 302).

Many of us have been in the position mentioned in the example. However, like any other stressors, a person can change how he or she perceives the stressor and choose to adapt to the technology, or a person can choose to stay overwhelmed, irritable,

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