Business Ethics: How to Create an Ethical Organization

Learn the 90 best practices for how to design ethical businesses and manage ethical organizations of high integrity.
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Instructed by Denis Collins Business / Management
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  • Lectures 27
  • Length 4 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 9/2013 English

Course Description

This Business Ethics course teaches managers, business leaders and corporate trainers how to design ethical organizations and manage organizations of high integrity. You will learn the 90 best practices for hiring ethical people, implementing codes of ethics, ethical decision making, ethics training, respecting employee diversity, ethics reporting systems, ethical leadership, engaging and empowering ethical employees, environmental management and community outreach. Assessment tools are provided to analyze the ethical performance of your organization.

What are the requirements?

  • A desire to learn about how to incorporate good ethics on an organizational level

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Describe best practices for screening job candidates for ethics.
  • Utilize best practices for managing ethics codes.
  • Use a systematic ethics decision-making framework to arrive at moral conclusions.
  • Conduct ethics and diversity training workshops.
  • Create an ethical reporting system.
  • Integrate best practices for ethical leadership into the organization.
  • Integrate ethics into work goals and performance appraisals.
  • Engage and empower employees.
  • Develop an Environmental Management system plan.
  • Align community outreach with the organization’s mission and assets.

What is the target audience?

  • Managers, Corporate Trainers, Organizational Leaders

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Course Introduction
05:31

This lecture introduces you to the course content. The attached documents will give you additional overview information about this course, including course introduction lecture notes, recommendations for how to use this course most efficiently to meet your learning and implementation goals, and a visual syllabus of the optimal ethics systems model.

5 pages

This best practices checklist is a risk management and quality benchmarking tool that will help you perform a check-up on the ethical health of your organization.  The checklist overviews best practices in all sections addressed in this course.  Many people find this document useful for developing corporate training plans and for engaging in collaborative assessment of the health of their organizations.

At the end of the course you will be invited to use this document to complete a comprehensive assessment of your organization's strengths and areas for improvement.  This will become a valuable planning document for your continuous improvement efforts.

2 pages
This document provides recommendations for how to get the learning and practical materials you need from this course with efficiency and ease.  An intentional plan for how you will use this course will allow you to get visible results and impact without excess input of time and energy.
Section 2: Hiring Ethical Job Candidates
19:24

Lecture Notes

Sometimes after dismissing an employee for an ethical breach, a manager might wonder: How did this person get through the hiring process? There are millions of people with good intentions, but this person was not one of them. The best safeguard against unethical activities at work is hiring people of high integrity.

This lecture provides 7 best practices for hiring ethical job candidates, including a six-step process for determining the ethics of job candidates. First, notify job candidates about the ethics job screen and then diligently gather information in a way that does not violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Potential sources of ethics information about job candidates include resumes, reference checks, background checks, personality tests, interview questions and drug tests.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices related to this topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print this file to use as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch and listen to the video.

The second file attached below provides you with an ethical candidate job screening tool.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions

This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again. Please complete the quiz before reviewing the Answer Key below.

Section 1 Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 3: Codes of Ethics and Conduct
13:44

Ethical dilemmas arise because situations are ambiguous. What bothers one person's conscience may not bother another person's conscience. A rule that one high-integrity person considers essential another high-integrity person might consider too rigid. Two people of high integrity may disagree on the appropriate discipline for a co-worker's misbehavior, such as an excellent bank teller who intentionally violated a bank's policy, or how to balance being truthful with following a directive that may mislead some customers.

An organization's code of ethics and code of conduct minimize ethical ambiguities by communicating clear ethical guidelines for employees to apply when making ethical decisions. These codes serve as the organization's conscience. This lecture provides seven best practices for developing codes of ethics and codes of conduct, including having codes, communicating and supporting codes, and using the code of ethics as an assessment tool for improving ethical performance.

The first downloadable document below provides a list of best practices related to this topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print it as lecture guide for note taking as you watch the video.

The second resource attached below will give you step-by-step instructions for how to create a code of ethics and assess that in your organization.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions

This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again. Please take the quiz before you refer to the Answer Key below.

Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 4: Ethical Decision Making
19:16

A variety of factors influence whether a person decides to behave ethically or unethically. Ethical intentions are usually formed quickly, initially defended, and then may be revised through a rational ethical decision-making process.

This lecture provides 3 best practices for ethical decision-making, including a systematic seven-question rational decision-making framework that is straightforward to use when making difficult decisions. The framework, which is grounded in moral philosophy, enables employees to independently derive a moral answer to an ethical dilemma.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices related to this topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print this file to use as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch the video.

The second resource below is the Systematic Rational Decision Making Framework, which is a practical tool for making ethical decisions in complex, ethically challenging ethical situations.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions
This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again.
Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 5: Best Practices for Ethics Training
12:57

Individuals are more likely to discuss work-related ethical issues with family and friends than co-workers or executives. A managerial challenge is to design workshops where employees can discuss ethical issues at work. Ethics training can initiate dialogue around contentious ethical issues. A well-facilitated ethics training workshop has greater impact on employee behaviors than the presence of an ethics code or memos from the boss. Researchers report that people employed in organizations with formal ethics training have more positive perceptions about their organization's ethics and greater job satisfaction.

This lecture provides 7 best practices for ethics training, including offering them annually, how to facilitate them, and assessing them.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices related to this topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print this file to use as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch the video.

The second attachment below provides you with practical tools for developing ethics training workshops.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions
This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again.
Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 6: Best Practices on Employee Diversity
10:40

Within the mind of each person is a unique set of assumptions about right and wrong behaviors. Also within the mind of each person is a unique set of assumptions about other employees, customers and suppliers. These assumptions are based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion or disability.

This lecture provides 7 best practices for respecting diversity, including assigning a specific person to be accountable, reflecting the community's diversity profile, diversity training workshops, and making diversity goals part of a manager's performance evaluation.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices for this topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print this file to use as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch and listen to the video.

The second resource attached below provides you with step-by-step guidelines for developing a diversity initiative for your organization.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions
This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again.
Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 7: Best Practices for Ethics Reporting Systems
12:05

High performance organizations depend on employees speaking honestly with their colleagues, managers and company owners when ethical problems arise.

This lecture provides 9 best practices for ethics reporting systems. Excellent managers are the type of person colleagues and subordinates can trust and confide in when personally sensitive information must be shared. But some employees remain uncomfortable sharing ethical issues with their direct supervisors. Three alternative internal communications mechanisms are an Ethics and Compliance Officer, an ombudsman, and an assist line. A failure in these internal communications systems can result in external whistle blowing, which is damaging for both the organization and the whistle blower.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices for this topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print this file to use as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch the video.

The second resource attached below is a guide to creating an internal reporting system for your organization.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions
This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again.
Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 8: Ethical Leadership, Work Goals and Performance Appraisals
13:37

Three aspects of daily organizational life significantly impact an employee's ethical performance: (1) the behaviors of organizational executives, managers and direct supervisors, (2) work goals, and (3) employee performance appraisals.

This lecture provides 13 best practices for ethical leadership, work goals and performance appraisal. Ethical leaders develop great places to work and reinforce ethical behavior among employees through work goals and performance appraisals that encourage and reward ethical behaviors.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices related to the topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print this file to use as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch and listen to the video.

The second resource attached below will help you to implement best practices for developing performance appraisals that align with your organization's code of ethics and the ethical behavior you wish to promote among your employees.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions
This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again.
Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 9: Engaging and Empowering Employees
22:28

A high performing ethical organization is a community of people where each employee has a sense of belongingness and ownership, and feels respected and accountable. Employees in high performance organizations are engaged with their work tasks and committed to achieving work unit goals. They are provided with information necessary to perform their job well, empowered to control their immediate surroundings, and have the authority to do what needs to get done. Organizations with engaged and empowered employees emphasize two-way communication and participative management processes.

This lecture provides 12 best practices for engaging and empowering employees, including employee satisfaction surveys, providing input for decisions, training in group dynamics, and sharing the financial benefits generated by their efforts.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices related to this topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print and use this file as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch and listen to the video.

The second resource attached below is a how-to guide for managing workplace attitudes and behaviors.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions
This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again.
Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 10: Environmental Management
15:12

Treating the Earth with respect is one of the greatest ethical management challenges. A growing number of mangers now realize that appropriately managing the relationship between organizational operations and the environment can enhance profits and long-term success, as well as quality of life for current and future generations.

This lecture provides 8 best practices for environmental management, including screening suppliers, adopting an Environmental Management System and the Natural Step framework, conducting environmental risk assessments, designing eco-friendly products, operating in green buildings, and monitoring environmental performance indicators.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices related to the topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print this file to use as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch and listen to the video.

The second resource attached below will guide you in the development of an Environmental Management System Plan for your organization.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions
This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again.
Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 11: Community Outreach
19:44

No organization is an island. Organizations are embedded in the communities in which they operate. The well-being of the host community profoundly impacts an organization, and vice versa. Ethical organizations aspire to be model community citizens.

This lecture provides 10 best practices for community outreach. Managers can engage multiple community stakeholders on a wide variety of issues. Organizations can donate money, products, services, and employee volunteer time. They can partner with specific non-profit organizations. The community impacts of such efforts should be assessed for quality improvement.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices related to this topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print this file to use as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch and listen to the video.

The second resource attached below will show you how to develop a Community Involvement Management Process.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions
This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again.
Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 12: Organizational Assessment
19:48

Many employees pay greatest attention to those things that are being assessed. Managers and other employees will pay more attention to ethical performance if it is being annually assessed.

This lecture provides 7 best practices for organizational assessment, including systematically examining ethical performance and benchmarking the organization with both the industry's best ethical practices and the Optimal Ethics Systems Model.

The first downloadable file you see below provides a list of best practices related to the topic as discussed in the video lecture. You may wish to print and use this file as a lecture guide for note taking as you watch and listen to the video.

The second resource attached below is the complete 90 Best Practices Organizational Assessment Checklist, which you can use to benchmark your organization's goal setting and successful implementation of all best practices over time.

Below you will also find an ethical dilemma related to this section. You may use the ethical dilemma for your own practice applying the course material to realistic situations or as part of an ethics training program.

4 questions
This quiz will help you determine whether you have retained the best practices taught in this section, or whether you should review the material again.
Quiz Explanations and Answer Key
2 pages
Section 13: The Meaning of Life
16:22

Life is limited and human beings spend most of their adult lives working. The purpose of organizations should be to support the purpose of life, not the contrary to it. In the first half of this lecture, I share my personal story of being a two-time cancer survivor (Hodgkin's Lymphoma of unknown cause), with the first experience of having been initially classified as terminal. As a result of this near-death experience, I more deeply understood that the purpose of life was to grow my heart by serving others, which includes developing ethical organizations.

The second half of the lecture provides a summary of Aristotle's perspective on the purpose of life being happiness. But what is happiness? Aristotle argued that happiness is a function of four factors: (1) health, (2) wealth, (3) intellectual virtue, and (4) moral virtue. The happiest people are those who are healthy, wealthy, wise and moral. The most important of these four factors, according to Aristotle, is moral virtue. Aristotle defined moral virtue as love of spouse, family, friends and community.

The same analysis holds for organizations. Are employees in good health, appropriately paid, learning new things and doing good deeds? If not, do something about it. You should begin by benchmarking your organization to the Optimal Ethics Systems Model. Then communally generate and implement some action plans.

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Instructor Biography

Denis Collins, Professor

Denis Collins is Professor of Business at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, where he teaches classes in management and business ethics. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. He has published six books and numerous articles. His latest books –Business Ethics: How to Design and Manage Ethical Organizations (2011: John Wiley & Sons), and Essentials in Business Ethics: Creating an Organization of High Integrity and Superior Performance (2009: John Wiley & Sons) – provide practical “how-to” examples and best practices for improving an organization’s ethical performance. He has conducted hundreds of business ethics workshops, talks, and consulting projects.

Denis currently serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Business Ethics and Journal of Academic Ethics, and has served on the board of governance for several professional organizations, as well as Edgewood College’s Board of Trustees. He is the recipient of the 2011 Samuel Mazzuchelli Medallion for empowering others, 2010 MBA Outstanding Faculty Award and the 2009 Estervig-Beaubien Outstanding Professor Award, School of Business, Edgewood College, for excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. Three times he was voted the outstanding MBA faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Business Week’s survey of alumni. Professor Collins was a finalist for the Academy of Management’s Distinguished Educator Award.

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