I guess everyone should have their own professional and personal standards when it comes to ethical conducts and standards, but in an age where corporate and social responsibilities are becoming more important values to employees and customers, who is responsible for defining and maintaining the company or business standards? Who should ethical issues within the company be raised with?
closed as off-topic by Myles, gnat, Philip Kendall, scaaahu, Jane S♦ May 29 '15 at 3:18
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who is responsible for defining and maintaining the company or business standards?
Ethics are... complicated. You can't just decide for a product or process, "this is ethical" and expect everyone to believe/agree.
- Cultural factors. What is appropriate in some cultures is not in others.
- Social factors. Current trends also have a significant effect on 'what is ethical?'
- Individuals. Everyone is different. Some have very different perspectives on what is ethical.
- Company culture. Some companies have different policies that are reflective of their employees and products. For example, renewable companies probably have different perspectives on ethical behavior than deforestation companies -- at least as relates to the environment...
- Leadership direction. If executives at your company expect and enforce certain behaviors, that will craft a more specific ethic for your company.
But at the end of the day, what a company considers ethical will be a combination of the above factors.
Each company will arrive at it differently. There is no "magic formula" or one size fits all process to get to this.
Who should ethical issues within the company be raised with?
For suspected violations, many larger companies have compliance hotlines/etc. So if someone sees unethical things, there are specific processes to follow.
The responsibility lies with the ownership of the company. Effectively, that means the Board of Directors in larger corporations, or the owning partner(s).
These responsibilities may, of course, be delegated to executives.
As to who to raise the issues with? It always is the best course to start with your immediate supervisor. If the issue is with your supervisor, the escalation path from that point would depend on your company policies.
Take it up with HR. They are the ones who are charges with ensuring company-wide compliance with the labor laws and management policies. They won't debate ethics with you but they will give you an opninion as to whether a course of action meets the ethical standards as set by top management - an opinion that you should heed, barring exceptional circumstances as a top company's management gone rogue and whistle blowing is turning into an option worth going through.