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Microsoft вЂ" Motivations, Ethics, And Conflict Management

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Microsoft вЂ" Motivations, Ethics, and Conflict Management

Like a snowflake, no two people are alike; human beings may be the most complex organisms on the planet earth. Successful organizations such as Microsoft are filled with hundreds and sometimes thousands of these unique beings, each with his or her own unique personalities and behavior. How does an organization like Microsoft find the delicate balance between enforcing, guiding, and motivating their people while achieving phenomenal results? The authors of this paper will discussion the motivation policies, ethics program, and conflict management approaches of the Microsoft organization and analyze how its standards in these areas make it a high performance organization.

Motivational Principals


Microsoft finds potential growth through the eyes of the employees and the eyes of the customers. Innovative ideas to keep Microsoft’s reputation afloat will forecast areas of growth. “At Microsoft, we’re motivated and inspired everyday by how our customers use our software to find creative solutions to business problems, develop breakthrough ideas, and stay connected to what’s important to them.” (, 2008).

Employees at Microsoft operate on serving the world. Microsoft’s mission is to “enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential” and typically takes the form of developing technology to make peoples’ lives and lifestyles easier from the beginners to the advanced computer users. Applying technology where needed, Microsoft programs organize, store, and present information to better assist individuals.


From the floppy disk to upgraded computer systems and from businesses to schools and homes, Microsoft technology is used and valued by a variety of consumers across the world. Programs such as Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel, and Outlook help people with writing forms, homework, resumes, and calendars. These technologies are continually updated, improved, and constantly in high demand. The achievements over the past 30 years include: the Universal Design Award in Recognition of 12 years of Accessible Products and Technologies in 2000, 100 Best Corporate Citizens вЂ" Business Ethics in 2003, Working Mothers Magazines- Top 100 Companies for working Mother’s in 2006, Number 1 in the Great Place to Work survey, Microsoft Japan, the Great Place to Work Institute and Nikkei Business in 2008, and many more. Achieving 30 years of accomplishments and growth, Microsoft will continue to be known for excellence in technology (, 2008).


“Just as we constantly update and improve our products, we want to continually evolve our company to be in the best position to accelerate new technologies as they emerge and to better serve our customers” (, 2008). When satisfaction is earned, then the reward is greatly appreciated by the employees who have changed another customer’s life. Motivational principles are applied to the self-managed employee who agrees with the mission and strategy outline of the company.

Ethics Program

Code of Ethics

At Microsoft, the code of ethics is woven throughout each individual’s work and job role at the company. Once hired, the employees are expected to fulfill their job role and uphold all ethical standards of the company. The company has commitments to the public, laws and regulations, the workers, the shareholders, and all other stakeholders. This role is understood by the company and expected from all employees and partners of Microsoft. That code of ethics can be summarized within the following quote: “as a company, and as individuals, we value integrity, honesty, openness, personal excellence, constructive self-criticism, continual self-improvement, and mutual respect. We are committed to our customers and partners and have a passion for technology. We take on big challenges, and pride ourselves on seeing them through. We hold ourselves accountable to our customers, shareholders, partners, and employees by honoring our commitments, providing results, and striving for the highest quality” (, 2008).


Most of the ethical training at Microsoft is done online. The company has designed and implemented interactive, self-guided, and technologically advanced programs where any individual, even those who are not computer savvy can complete his or her training and have that completion recorded by the company.


In addition to the standard practice of providing the ability of any employee to report a violation of ethics privately, Microsoft also leverages technology to ensure any electric actions are traceable to a definitive identity. While the system is designed primarily for security to prevent unauthorized access, Microsoft’s use of a smart card system to validate the identity of employees also ensures that employees are accountable for their actions. The smart card system uses a two factor authentication the card “something you have” and a password “something you know” so the employee cannot deny any involvement with work done.


The enforcement of ethical practices, while in many ways similar to other corporations, has a particular importance at Microsoft. Microsoft was the subject of a very public antitrust trial where a great many internal details and ethically relevant behaviors were discussed in detail public. In May of 1998, 20 states filed charges alleging “Microsoft abused monopoly power in its handling of operating system sales and web browser sales” (Wikipedia, 2008) The issue at the heart of the case was that Microsoft bundled their Internet Explorer web browser software with the Windows operating system. By doing this, Microsoft used a monopoly in one market to unfairly dominate another market. Microsoft enforces a strict code of business ethics on a daily level.

Conflict Management Approaches

The software industry is a rapidly evolving and competitive marketplace; Microsoft people tend to be very smart, very motivated, and very confident in themselves and their work. Microsoft employs many passionate people that bring many good ideas to the table and all of them cannot see the



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