Basically, a managerial role is loaded with ethics-based tasks. This is because most of the managerial decision or action may affect other people, the society or the environment (Kolb, 2008, 785). Being a manager is a role that requires the position holder to be ethical and morally responsible. At the same time, the manager needs to be accountable to his stakeholders such as the owner or investor of the company where he works for. The primary responsibility of a manager or a leader is to maximize the wealth and resources of the shareholder.
This is known as the manager’s sole ethical task, or the fiduciary obligation. The ethical and social responsibility of a manager however stretches or goes beyond this fiduciary obligation. It encompasses the consideration given to the other stakeholders of the company (employees, communities, customers, suppliers, etc), as well as the environment where it is in (Kolb, 2008, 785). Managerial ethics can be viewed in four perspectives: the utilitarian point of view; the rights; the theory of justice and the social contracts theory.
The utilitarian perspective of managerial role or leadership pertains to the decision making or action which takes into consideration of best possible opportunities for the greatest possible majority. In this perspective, the benefit or welfare of oneself, or the minority such as the shareholder can be set aside to give more consideration to such a majority. The primary question in the concept of Utilitarian Ethics is “Who will be affected by the decision and to what extent will the various parties affected by this decision be harmed or benefited?
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” (Kolb, 2008, 787). Insofar as the utilitarian view of ethics is concerned, ethical decisions are made based on their outcomes and/or consequences so that the greatest benefits are enjoyed by the greatest number (Robbins & Coulter, 2005, Slide No. 15). Another perspective of managerial ethics is the concept of justice. The primary question here is, “how does the manager’s decision impact on the provisions of justice or human rights, in particular? This concept or managerial ethics requires traits such as fairness, equity and impartiality (Kolb, 2008, 787).
The “justice” concept of ethics is also ensuring that organizational, rules and policies are just, fair and within the social and legal bounds. The implementation or enforcement should be fair and impartial as well. As they say, “No one is above the law” (Robbins & Coulter, 2005, Slide No. 15). Another concept of managerial ethics is the “ethics of care. ” This pertains to how a manager takes care of its employees, particularly those of long-term tenure.
Beyond the legal and corporate policies and rules, considerations must be given to employees because they are the ones who render the services or job outputs necessary for a manager to achieve his desired outputs (Kolb, 2008, 787). Overall, the relevance of ethics to a managerial or leadership role is that since ethics is all about what is right and what is wrong, decision making should be based on a manager’s core values and integrity. So, how can a leader or a manager manage and conduct himself with ethics and accountability to the stakeholders at the same time?
How can he be a role model to his subordinates, colleagues and even the customers? The ethical role of a manager or an organizational leader includes both being a moral person and being a moral manager. A moral person is someone who has integrity, honesty and trustworthiness. These traits are necessary for a person to be considered ethical (Kolb, 2008, 785). There are countless ways of being a moral person. It can be through adherence or compliance to an established code of conduct or practice. It also means that the person can be trusted especially with confidential matters.
On top of everything else, an ethical or moral person must do the right thing and demonstrate concern for other people especially his subordinates. He must be open but should also demonstrate a well-established set of personal standards which indicate impressive ethical standards and social values. On the other being a moral manager, requires both qualities of being moral and ethical and at the same time, being an example and a leader on this aspect. This means that he must be a role model to his employees and colleagues at all possible opportunities.
Moral leadership also involves being able to reward to discipline subordinates and employees pertaining to conduct, behavior and decision-making. A moral and ethical leader firmly establishes codes of ethical standards by recognizing and rewarding what is deemed as acceptable or impressive. On the other hand, those behavior or actions which negate such standards are meted with just and fair dose of discipline through memorandum, written warning, and verbal meeting or in some worse scenarios, suspension from duty without pay.
(Kolb, 2008, 786). A very significant aspect of moral leadership is open communication. An organization with ethical and moral leadership implements a policy of open communication, particularly concerning the corporate code of ethics and standards. Through this channel, the code is clearly established and introduced to the employees. Thus, there is a way for them to better understand and comprehend what is acceptable and what is not within the organization. Being an ethical and moral leader or manager is easier said than done.
As always, policies and theories are always in the perfect mode, it is in the practice, the actual scenarios where conflicts may arise. The issues or conflicts pertaining to ethical leadership can be found in many organizations, of different sizes, types and culture. Due to those organizational factors, ethical and moral issues and conflicts can arise on the job. An organization which is fairly large, such as a five-star chain of hotels which can employ at least 5,000 or more employees can be difficult to manage ethically.
Understanding, communicating, implementing and monitoring ethical conduct and decision making can be a gargantuan case in this case. The type of an organization or hotel can also be a factor. The ethical standards of a hotel catering to business gatherings may be different from a hotel which caters to tourists. The predominant culture in a hotel is also relevant in terms of ethics and moral conduct. The culture is of course dictated by the origin, nationalities, backgrounds and educational attainment of the employees and management in a hotel setup can quite determine the predominant culture, ethics and moral values within.
One common managerial ethics issue which can arise in a hotel is the way hotel crew responds to a guest who is complaining. One ethical requirement for hotel employees is to demonstrate respect and accommodation to a guest without too familiar or too privy to the latter. A hotel manager must exemplify the desired behavior on this aspect for his employees or subordinates to follow. However, there are also circumstances when hotel managers can be too familiar with guests because of repeated visits.
And of course, a manager is just human after all, so it can be quite difficult to maintain a purely business relationship. The example above is just one of the many possible ethical issues or conflicts which can arise in a hotel setting. References Kolb, R. (ed). (2008). Ethical Role of the Manager. Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society, 5, 785-789. Robbins, S. & Coulter, M. (2005). Social Responsibility and Managing Ethics. Chapter 5-Management. Prentice Hall, Inc. [online] http://www. wps. prenhall. comlbp_robbins_man_8/16/4183/1070861. cw/index. html [July 5, 2010].
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