Assessing some aspects of managerial ethics within the South African business environment
Barnard, Lukas Daniël, 1983-
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Since the early 2000s there has been a growing awareness of the indivisible link between ethical conduct on the one hand and business practice on the other. A spate of corporate scandals, due to poor ethical management and deficient ethical decision making, has increased public scrutiny of organisational conduct. This indivisible link between ethics and management warranted investigation; consequently some aspects of managerial ethics in the corporate environment of South Africa were analysed and the role of training in sensitising managers to ethical decision making was examined. Both a comprehensive literature review and an empirical investigation were conducted in order to satisfy the objectives of the research study. The literature review provided insight into some of major concepts relating to managerial ethics, while also providing an overview of the global and South African ethical situation. It also revealed some pertinent current issues regarding managerial ethics training and ethics training in general. The empirical investigation was based on a quantitative research approach and was conducted through a questionnaire. A diverse group of managers who are all furthering their managerial studies at an accredited South African business school formed the study population. A total of 108 respondents completed the questionnaires, which were then statistically analysed, by the North-West University’s (NWU) Statistical Consultation Services. Both the literature review and the empirical investigation indicated a growing perception that ethics and ethical leadership is deteriorating, while the prevalence of ethical conduct breach has been on the increase. On a positive note there are strong indications that a favourable climate is being created in South African organisations, by the establishment of formal ethical codes and the development of business values. However, further investigation revealed that while formal policies and codes are in place, the implementation of these policies is lacking. A lack of understanding of the importance of ethical management was also identified, along with indications that current managerial training does not provide managers with the practical tools for real world application of ethical codes. Recommendations regarding possible action steps to start bridging the gap between the stated business values and ethics codes and the physical implementation of these guidelines are made, along with suggestions for further research.
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