When we are called upon to make decisions, several factors are taken into consideration before this decision can be made. Depending on the type of decision, such factors could be cultural beliefs, personal beliefs, and organizational beliefs. We have come to realize that there are fundamental challenges in trying to apply ethical principles in a cultural and organizational environment. Each culture has unique distinctions in values, which may or may not be considered ethical by each individual within society.
These differences in culture and personal beliefs influence any decision, whether personal or professional, of any individual. Certain cultures within the work force may decide not to adhere to organizational codes of conduct because of not only personal feelings, but also because of the varying differences in cultural backgrounds. The intent of this paper is to identify values that are important to me personally, organizationally, and culturally, and the effects that these values have on decision making in regards to my personal and professional life. Personal values are most important to me since these values define individuality. David Peters (2003) said it best when he said "an examination of our beliefs can offer valuable insights into our character and help us determine a clear pathway to a more satisfying life." Honesty, integrity, loyalty, and respect are highly valued and these values are present in my everyday life. However, this does not necessarily mean that each individual within my society share these same personal values, thus creating an environment filled with varying personal beliefs, expectations, and philosophies that may not be logically connected with the society's culture or ethics.
Non is (2001) states: "Values reflect the most basic characteristics of adaptation that guides individuals in deciding which situations they should enter and what they should do in them (Kahle 1980). According to Williams (1979), explicit and fully conceptualized values become the criteria for judgement, preferences and choices" (p. My decisions whether personal or professional, are dependent on my values and the environment that I am in. Before accepting my current position, I made sure that the company had similar ethical beliefs as myself. I believe that being honest with people, whether it is family, friends, employers or any member of society, leads to the creation of a lasting relationship based on trust and credibility. George Fol is (1996) made an excellent point when he said " Personal ethics establishes credibility, the engine that maintains the momentum for effective interpersonal and business relations in a laissez-faire society" (p.
46). Associating personal values in accordance with business values tells my employer and clients what I stand for as a professional, thus creating a positive image, strong business values, and a feeling of self-assurance. Organizational values are defined by the organization's codes of conduct and ethical principles. Organizational values set acceptable or expected norms of behavior for the individual members of the organization. Balancing individual and organizational values explores the major challenges in today's business world. Without organizational values, members will follow their individual value practices.
These may or may not promote behavior that the organization finds desirable. Organizations should establish values to provide their members guidelines for their behavior thus providing the framework for the culture of the organization. When making a business decision, I take into consideration the code of conduct, the environment, and the people my decision will affect. Sometimes, in order to be successful, we must be willing to adapt.
From my experience during Operation Iraq Freedom, adaptation was important for survival. Despite my personal values and beliefs, I had to put the organizational values first. It required me to step away from my personal beliefs to ensure the safety of my soldiers. Is it fair to use your personal values as a justifiable excuse as to why you did not ad here to the company's code of conduct? No it is not. Sometimes depending on our jobs we might be required to do things that do not coincide with our personal beliefs in order to protect others and the organization we are representing. John Gardner states: "Culture is the body of custom, ideas, assumptions, and institutional patterns transmitted from one generation to the next and are particularly powerful in determining individual behavior." Values are important in all cultures.
My perception is that most countries create their own set of values, thus generating their own cultures and beliefs. Although values may vary within cultures we can agree that without them there would be no basic direction. Within the spectrum of cultural values, decision making is mostly used when one culture is trying to instill their beliefs unto another culture. It is not acceptable for any one culture to push their ideas or values unto others.
Instead of forcing our beliefs unto others we need to respect the practices and traditions and get a better understanding why certain practices are done. Joe Wi lensky states: "many times, Westerners with the aim of stopping a practice they see as morally repugnant, have failed in their attempts because they did not take into consideration the culture and the reason for the practice" (p. 12). In relations to the work force, organizations are diversifying their workforce. They are realizing the importance of diversity and how it can benefit the organization, given that diversity brings different point of views and values to light.
As an organization, we should not simply proclaim a set of values. Instead we should immerse both managers and employees in the organization's ideology. Any disconnect in behavior between mangers and employees will strongly undermine the values of the organization. The undermining of these cultural values creates uncertainty in the minds of employees thus leading to potential conflicts..