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Cultural Values

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Cultural Values and Personal Ethics Paper

In modern society there has been a rise in business competition. This new wave of competition has called for increased quality in all aspects of business while still being able to offer a competitively priced product. This has resulted in businesses engaging in unethical behavior in order to increase profits. Though such practices have always happened, more stringent laws have caused such behavior to come to light. Recent scandals involving Fortune 500 corporations such as Enron, Citicorp, WorldComm, Tyco, and Martha Stewart have many consumers worried about the ethical standards of businesses today.

When looking at this epidemic, values described as "a belief, a mission, or a philosophy that is meaningful" (Ponser, 2005), need to be examined. Personal values, organizational values, and cultural values all play an important role when faced with ethical dilemmas in the business environment.

Personal Values

Of these values, the most important is that of personal values. The choices that guide a person through life are based on personal value or beliefs about what is important in life. Personal values may further be described as:

Whether we are consciously aware of them or not, every individual has a core set of personal values. Values can range from the commonplace, such as the belief of hard work and punctuality, to the more psychological, such as self-reliance, concerns for others and harmony of purpose (Ponser, 2005).

Personal values are directly related to organizational and cultural values. Personal values can be greatly affected by the culture by which a person is raised. Cultural values can also serve as a basis of personal values.

Cultural values have played a big part in the establishment of my personal values. Though most personal values, I have picked up form my culture were good, I have established personal values by watching and learning from the bad as well. Growing up on a Native American reservation presented many bad values, or lack of values. Being unfaithful, lazy, deceiving are some of the values I witnessed growing up. Seeing were these values got people, I made a choice to go against what I was raised in, instead opting to be loyal, hard-working, honest. I use these values as a driving force behind the decisions I am asked to make. Whether the decision is professional or personal, I always ask myself what is the right thing to do in this situation. I often try to put myself in the individual's situation and weigh their situation against my values. My personal values are my guide through life. The success I have had in my personal and professional life is attributed to the values that I live by. I do believe values can change through the journey of life as mine have. Part of this change in values has come from my last career. Serving in the United States Marine Corps has greatly affected my values. The organizational values of honor, courage, and commitment have been transposed unto me. Organizational values can have a huge impact on personal values and personal values can have an affect on an organization's values.

Organizational Values

Organizational values will usually set the accepted boundaries of behavior for the employees of the organization. Some examples of organizational values are accountability from individuals to divisions for performance to problems; communication throughout the company; teamwork; coordination; discipline; integrity; and commitment. These organizational values can provide a strong and stable base for the culture of the company. Some of the implications of strong organizational values may be explained by the following:

First, organizations that exhibit strong ethical values may benefit from having employees that are more committed to the organization. In short, employees may prefer to work for organizations that they perceive as being more ethical. Second, organizations may be able to positively influence the moral thinking of their employees through the enforcement of ethical codes and an overall atmosphere of ethical conduct. Such an environment may lead employees to believe that ethics and social responsibility issues are important. Finally, this might ultimately influence the behavior of employees toward being more ethical in their day-to-day dealing with customers, suppliers, dealers, etc (Vitell & Paolillo, 2004).

This is no more evident than in the military. Military branches establish a set of values that they instill in recruits from the first day of training to help with success in the organization's mission. As stated earlier when I entered the Marine Corps I began to live by the Marine Corps' core values, which were honor, courage, and commitment.

The Marine Corps also has a set of 14 traits which it stresses on all Marines. The organizational values were a large part of my success in the Marine Corps and my successful advancement in my personal life. Yet, as much as their values are set in place to help every service member succeed, the individual's decision to conform or adapt to these values is the deciding factor of a successful member-organization relationship. An individual's personal values can be a key factor as how he or she executes organizational values, yet both can be directly or mutually affected by cultural values.




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