Contemporary organizational behavior demonstrates many trends that affect businesses and impact their decision-making.
One of such patterns is the rising importance of ethics in business decision making. This topic acquired significance in the wake of high-profile accounting scandals and under the influence of rising requirements for corporate social responsibility.
Another significant trend is the impact of technology on work-related stress.
Ethics has become important for several reasons. First, there is a perception in society that today’s business environments see “everything from insider trading to employee theft on the rise” (United States Small Business Administration, n.d.). Besides, customers and other stakeholders have become more sensitive toward ethical repercussions of the corporate decisions.
Consumers, for example, can put pressure on the company by refusing to buy its products if they think that its environmental policies are unsustainable or believe it exploits workers in developing countries. Therefore, ethics becomes an essential focus of corporate activities as more and more managers realize that promoting ethics, they ensure the stable long-term development of the company and safeguard it against employees’ harmful actions and corporate scandals.
This trend is marked by the introduction of the positions like the Chief Ethics Officer and strengthening of internal controls. Many representatives of the top management realize that “a well-defined ethics policy along with an outline of related standards of conduct provides the framework for ethical, moral behavior within [a] company” (United States Small Business Administration, n.d.). Hence the trend to introduce and enforce ethics codes, as well as train employees in compliance with ethical standards.
Ethical decision-making is an important asset of an employee or a corporate entity. Since it is not always straightforward which decision will be more ethical, this skills requires “trained sensitivity to ethical issues and a practiced method for exploring the ethical aspects of a decision and weighing the considerations that should impact our choice of a course of action” (Santa Clara University, 2006). Therefore, training in ethical decision-making becomes an important challenge for businessmen as it is a vital skill in modern business. No less important is the elaboration of the reliable ethical framework that would permit a more regulated choice of decisions.
Another topical issue in business research related to organizational behavior is the impact of technology on work-related stress. While technology generates many benefits for most people, it is also responsible for the emergence of a special kind of stress called “technostress” (Doherty, 2001). The appearance of computers, beepers, e-mails, and cell phones has made humans more accessible the clock round, and this constant flow of information can be stressful and disrupting to normal life routines. On the other hand, people can often develop almost maniacal desire to be in control through constant connection to their business through these new technological means, which can create additional stress for themselves and their subordinates.
The impact of technology on work-related stress was investigated in the Kensington Technology Group Survey released in August 1999. The investigation that “queried 501 adult U.S. full-time, traditional and home-office workers, uncovers new statistics on technology’s relationship to stress, steps employers are taking to reduce stress, and how stress affects personal lives” (Kensington, 1999). Although about 55% of the respondents reported assessing their work as more productive, 51% also stated that technology causes stress because they experience fear about losing documents on their computer because of malfunctions. An increase in stress was also registered because of the rise in the use of voicemail and email correspondence.
To counter the harmful trend, Kensington Survey reports workers need to develop better organization skills as well as get help from employers in ordering things in their workplace. The poll determined that “stress-related problems cost American companies an average of $750 per employee per year, which for a company with 50 employees, can mean nearly $40,000 a year” (Kensington, 1999). Maintaining an effective work-life balance is another viable solution for the technology and work-related stress problem.
The issues of ethics in business decision-making and impact of technological innovations on stress levels in workers are important trends in modern organizational behavior. The ability of managers to cope with these challenges and harness the potential of their employees will to a great degree determine the success of business in the years to come.
Doherty, M.J. (2001). Information Technology and Society. Retrieved May 20, 2006, from http://cw.mariancollege.edu/mdoherty/AIT%20400/Sample%20Paper.doc
Kensington Technology Group. (1999, August). Technology Increases Workplace Stress, Tipping The Scales Of Work-Life Balance. Retrieved May 20, 2006, from http://us.kensington.com/html/1393.html
Santa Clara University (Markkula Center for Applied Ethics). (2006). A Framework for Thinking Ethically. Retrieved May 20, 2006, from http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/decision/framework.html
United States Small Business Administration. (n.d.). Business Ethics. Retrieved May 20, 2006, from http://www.sba.gov/managing/leadership/ethics.html
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