Ethics classically is defined as a set of moral principles that govern the behaviour of a person with respect to what is right and wrong and as believed by the society . However, this is a larger definition as righteousness and morality is also culture specific and a behaviour which is morally right as perceived by a group may not be right in another group. Societies especially from the west which are mostly individual centric may not find it a particular personal behaviour of an individual objectionable while in most of the eastern societies group dynamics paves way to individual behaviour analysis.
Corporates and Organisations are subset of the larger society and hence organisational ethics mostly runs parallel to the society that organisation represents. That is why culture studies attains significance in a globalised and multinational work environment. To be more precise beef or pork in a McDonald’s restaurant may be fine in one part of the globe while it will be religiously offensive in some other parts. Hence multinational corporations give ample value to issues of cultural significance.
Agnostic to the cultural differences, there are universally accepted civil behaviours which governs corporate and organisational principles. Gender respect, Politeness in behaviour, respect for individuality is few among them which matters as part of organisational culture. Modern HR practices gives major scope for developing an acceptable behavioural pattern among employees through training and sensitising.
In behavioural psychology, when a behaviour of a person, becomes disruptive affecting another person mentally or physically we call it a behavioural disorder. A person’s behaviour crosses the limit if it becomes unbalancing. This means when one member of a group, may be a family or an organisation exceeds a behavioural norm creating distress around, then it needs to be looked as objectionable. Interestingly all such objectionable behaviours may not be legally offensive. Let us take the example of a superior shouting to a subordinate. This happens in most organisations but we don’t have a specific silver lining which defines a limit for these behaviour to decide when it is legally offensive albeit it is a physical abuse
However, as we progress ethical behaviour is investigated as a significant aspect of personality while being in employment. In that respect gender-based discrimination which was rampant in organisations are now being regulated through applied rules. Ragging in colleges which was similarly looked like routines is now legally curtailed. Very recently the education department of government of Kerala have decided to incorporate a curriculum in schools on Body Shaming to bring awareness in the society. Like wise many such ‘behaviours need assessment’ is now necessary prior to entry into organisations.
The recent incident of a senior corporate executive urinating over an old lady fellow air traveller has not just created national uproar but it has put the community of Indian corporate executives in shame. The perpetrator who is a senior official of a multinational company, entitled to travel in a business class, showing such behaviours even in an inebriated state is a classic example of behavioural disorder. While the law will take its own terms what matters to the corporate sector is to answer certain larger questions?
What governs the selection of an individual to a position. Is it just skills or knowledge. The answer is No, as what matters is the cultural and behavioural skills and to be defined as Emotional Intelligence which need to be ascertained while choosing people to any positions . This case is a classic example of a company lacking a robust mental health policy in its HR practises. It is easy to terminate the person after an episode but what is needed is whether you have the inbuilt systems which prevents psychopathic behaviours.