One reason workers end up doing the wrong thing is because no-one has prepared the employees in making decisions that seem challenging to face, for example, choosing to protect an organizations interests opposed to protecting the community’s interests or being loyal to their colleagues versus telling the truth. Navran (1994) “in many of these cases the choice is made difficult by what we call an ethical dilemma, where no matter which alternative we select, we will be subordinating one or more of our values”. Many workers are fearful of conflicts if they oppose to unethical behavior taking place.
Naturally they want to help their friends more so than to hurt their friends. When their comrades are involved in an unethical behavior, it makes the choice of reporting the misconduct more difficult. Friendship is at risk when they meddle or challenge the behavior of friends on ethical grounds. Employees also fear people with power. They fear if they report, for example, the people in management engaging in unethical behavior, they may retaliate against them resulting in devastating consequences to their private or family lives.
Navran (1994) The leader’s responsibility is to give employees guidance: what values we expect/require employees to demonstrate, in what priority, and how “absolute” those priorities are. Working under pressure in the workplace may be acceptable because it can increase the productivity of an organization; however, high-level of stress in the workplace can pressure employees to resign or withhold in their work. Workers may feel as though the company they work for is not the right place for them, to work for.
Workers begin to steal equipment from the company such as toilet paper, hand towels, writing equipment, cleaning supplies, printing equipment, because financially some workers believe that they may work to many hours for very little salary to support their families. Others believe that they rate more sick and leave days than what they would receive annually because of the amount of time they put in a week, so they begin to submit falsified time cards.
Not only do employees participate in unethical behaviors that affect the staff with within the company, but with the customers whom they do business with. The issue with this is many businesses lack in ethics because they are not put into practice and to workers it is not seen as something that the organization desires. Ethics in the workplace is not very popular because most companies do whatever they think will make their business successful and focus less on what makes the community feel secured.
The focal point of these organizations is profit and success, rather than feeling good about being ethical, ethics training is very seldom a topic discussed in the workplace. Another act that is considered unethical behavior is not reporting misconduct in the workplace due to fear. “The most common reasons cited for not reporting wrongdoing were (1) fear of retaliation, (2) did not think the organization would respond, and (3) no anonymous/confidential way to report the behavior” (Verschoor, C. C, 2006, p. 19).
Fear of losing a job or getting bullied around is a reason employees do not report unethical behaviors. Embarrassment prevents employees from reporting misconduct in the workplace. Many of them do not feel comfortable addressing or discussing topics such sex, money and politics in an effective professional way. This is due to the lack of having a safe and positive environment where one can come feel comfortable giving details of an incident that goes against a company’s policy. These workers do not feel they have a place to discuss organizations ethics issues.