What do you do if your personal values are in conflict with organizational/interpersonal business protocols? | Reaction Paper – Week 2| Professional Development MBA-525-MBOL5| Kelly M. Mistretta| 7/15/2012| | Values are a part of each of us. Our value system is influenced from birth by family members. As we grow, our values continue to be shaped by our family, in addition to outside influences such as teachers, friends and other mentors. In our professional life, we will most likely be faced at some point in time, with a conflict between our personal values and a professional situation.
It is important to handle the conflict with dignity and to find a solution to the conflict in which your individual values are maintained, as well as your professional integrity. Personal values act as motivators and impact priorities. Examples of motivating values are achievement, happiness, advancement/promotion, and family. “To gain a better understanding of how your values motivate you to set priorities, try looking at your personal activities. (Values, 8) When making a decision based on your personal values and the activities that influence these values, it is important to realize that the priority that you place on these values will potentially have both positive and negative consequences. When choosing a career at a company, you should recognize the potential consequences and conflicts that you may be faced with. It is important to distinguish carefully between your personal values and organizational values. When faced with a situation that you feel uncomfortable with in a professional situation, you should first consult with your company’s Code of Conduct.
It is possible that the situation also is in conflict with the Code of Conduct. Although the law does not require a Code of Conduct, “company leaders see the benefit of having their ethical policies formalized. ” (Pace, 28) Codes of Conduct are beneficial to employers, because it lets employees know what is expected of them. It is important for an employer to uphold their Code of Conduct, because if they don’t, the code becomes useless. All employees should have a copy of the Code of Conduct to refer to so that they know what is considered acceptable conduct, how to handle and report misconduct and the potential penalties for misconduct.
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Relationships with employees, peers and bosses can cause conflict for management. “The dilemma is further complicated by the fact that these critical people may have contrary goals and competing needs. A misstep in handling an ethical issue may well affect a relationship, or linger on the conscience, for years to come. ” (Maddux, 7) As an employee, when faced with a situation that goes against your personal beliefs, you must make sure that regardless of the outcome, you have a clear conscience and feel comfortable with your decisions and actions.
An example of personal values conflicting with business values for me occurs on an almost daily basis with a co-worker. This person plays Christian music loudly at her cubicle throughout the day. Personally, I do not have a problem with the Christian music. In fact, I listen to a Christian radio station in my vehicle constantly. However, I do not agree that the workplace is the best place to play this music. We see a variety of customers throughout the day who have different beliefs and values than we do.
Furthermore, we work in a government office and have to be very careful not to cross over an imaginary line. I personally would be offended if I visited a government office and had rap music or heavy metal music played to me while conducting business. I think that she could offend a customer who would rather not hear about religion while obtaining a building permit. A better option for this co-worker would be to listen to her music when there are no customers and then mute or stop the music when there is someone at her desk.
Professionalism is a trait that we should maintain at all times. It can be hard to maintain your composure when a situation conflicts with your personal beliefs. An individual needs to consider how the ramifications and the severity of these ramifications when analyzing a situation that offends them personally. If the situation involves a co-worker, you should discuss the situation with them and let them know why you find their actions offensive to you. Hopefully your co-worker will respect your values and you can find common ground on the situation. REFERENCES
Frederick, William C. (1995). Values, Nature, and Culture in the American Corporation. Cary, NC:Oxford University Press. Maddux, Dorothy, Maddux, Robert B. , Sanders, Marian. (1989). Ethics in Business: A Guide for Managers. Boston:Course Technology Crisp. Pace, J. (2006). The Workplace: Interpersonal Strengths and Leadership. Boston:McGraw Hill. Values, Motivation, and Priorities. (2007). Setting Priorities: Personal Values, Organizational Results, 8-11. Trade-offs and Consequences. (2007). Setting Priorities: Personal Values, Organizational Results, 16-17.
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