General Introduction to Management Ethics

Benefits of Ethics in Management

According to Johannes J. Britz – ethics is a branch of philosophy that deals with human conduct and character. Ethics reflects questions such as what would be the right thing to to? et al. He furthers states that the process of ethical decision making consists of the identification and assessment of the problem, the choice to act and the action itself which is based on ethical norms and principles.

For the information professional such as the librarian Britz applied the concept of information ethics which is defined as professional ethics that deals with ethical issues such as professional gathering, organizing, value adding, storage, retrieval, distribution and management of information products and services on behalf of a third party (public). Thus the librarian should uphold the ethics of individual and collective responsibility towards knowledge, its production, communication and use.

Ethical Issues

  • Right to access information
  • Right to intellectual property
  • Quality of information
  • Right to privacy
  • Public funding issues

Managing Ethics in the Workplace

Elizabeth A Buchanan states it is best to have a Code of Ethics in libraries as it provides a framework of guidelines for justice, beneficence, independence, objectivity and professionalism. As such, a Code of Ethics should be viewed as a set of ‘best practices’ as it will reduce anxiety and pressure to living up to the code. The Code reflects professional ethics of obligations to society, obligations to employer, obligations to clients and obligations to colleagues and organizations. As a result, it is important that persons be educated about ethics starting at school and continuing in the workplace.


According to Hauptman (1988) self regulation can be affirmed through a set of operative ethical principles.

1. Respect the integrity of data and information.

2. Do not purposefully or inadvertently distort, fabricate, plagiarize or manipulate in order to give a false impression.

3. Do not attempt to control others’ articulations and thereby control their thought.

4. Respect professional confidentiality

5. Distinguish between personal commitment and professional obligation.

Other benefits that can redound to an organization with an ethics program are as follows:

· Social responsibility

· Maintain a moral course

· Cultivate strong teamwork and productivity

· Support employee growth and meaning

· Ethics help ensure that policies are legal

· Ethics help manage values associated with quality management, strategic planning and diversity management

· Ethics promote a strong public image.

It is said best by Donaldson and Davis, in “Business Ethics? Yes, But What Can it Do for the Bottom Line?” (Management Decision, V28, N6, 1990) ethics legitimizes managerial actions, strengthens the coherence and balance of the organization’s culture, improves trust in relationships between individuals and groups, supports greater consistency in standards and qualities of products, and cultivates greater sensitivity to the impact of the enterprise’s values and messages.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Code of Ethics: Strengths and Limitations

The Code of Ethics: Strengths and Limitations

What They Can Do

They help you find answers

They protect you against pressure to censure holdings or compromise privacy

They are a pledge to your patron about how their rights, interests and privacy will be


They tell you what the professional standards of behavior are

What They Can’t Do

They can’t force ethical behavior

They are not a panacea

They can’t give you answers


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