Ethics as a Component of Organizational Culture

Introduction

Ethics is derived from the word the Greek word Ethos, which means character. Character in an organization is the decisions that employees or management have to make when under pressure especially when no one is looking at them. Character is not about how people behave, but in the context of an organization, it is part of organizational culture. It is a culture developed by a group of people that determines how they deal with problems both externally and internally. These people must adhere to a code of ethics which are standards of behavior that tell people how they ought to act, be they citizens, professionals, parents, family or friends (Bart, 2011).

A fire department has ethical rules which are behavioral guidelines on how all firemen are expected to conduct themselves. Firemen must promote an organizational culture of ethical integrity, high standards of professionalism, compassion, loyalty and honesty. Most fire departments have a code of ethics that includes the ethical rules or ethical conduct, medical code of ethics and an oath. The ethical rules define the Fire department’s values, moral duty and obligation of the firemen.

The following are some of the ethical rules that fire departments follow in their line of duty. Firemen must conduct themselves in a manner that creates respect for themselves as public servants. Fire fighters must always maintain public trust as they always have access to citizens’ homes and possessions while on the call of duty. Firemen are always in contact with the public, and should therefore show respect, courtesy and be impartial at all times. Firemen should not perform their duties while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Firefighters will be expected to take an oath of service to show their commitment to providing high levels of customer service, and to place the safety and welfare of the public above everything else.

The ethical rules are reflected in the culture of the fire department through the respect of the profession. The citizens of any country hold the Fire department with very high esteem. Firemen are highly respected by the public because of the trust the public has entrusted in the firemen. This in turn leads to professional ethics and morality. The leadership of the fire department also reflects the culture of the department. The Fire Chief must lead by example by making ethical decisions. A fire department that is led by an ethical leader always leads to the success of that department. A fireman may make an ethical decision but fail the loyalty test when asked to do something unethical by the boss. Ethical leaders must ensure that they do not corrupt their legacy and whole organization by ensuring they do the right thing. Firefighters are faced with challenging situations everyday which test their character. Sometimes they must decide between loyalty and ethics, hence the importance of the ethical rules in a fire department (Bart, 2011).

The code of ethics reflects the culture of the fire department, and all members of the Fire services must adhere to it. It is referred to as the minimum standards and outlines the expected behavior and performance of the firefighters. The code of ethics also defines the way the firemen ought to act within the fire department. For example, it states that all firemen must be responsible for the actions and the consequences of the same. They must act in a professional manner exercising respect, competence and loyalty.     They must recognize that they serve due to public trust which requires honesty. The firemen must sign a code of ethics which becomes an acknowledgement of acceptance of their responsibility as firefighters.

The ethical rules of the fire department are not in conflict with my personal ethical rules because the ethical rules for firefighters are based on trust, honesty, integrity and team work. However, personal ethical rules may sometimes come into conflict with professional ethical rules. It is therefore important to understand the difference between personal ethical rules and professional ethical rules. For example, a judge is required to follow the law while exercising judgments on various cases. A judge may give the death penalty while following the law, but this may be in conflict if his personal ethics are against the death penalty. A doctor may prescribe the morning after pill professionally, but personally may be against it as he views it as terminating a life (Dion, 1996).

The easiest way to reduce the conflict between professional and personal ethical rules is that a person must always follow their professional code of ethics when acting in a professional capacity, even though it conflicts their personal ethical rules. In the case of ethical rules of firefighters, their ethical rules are first and foremost based on public trust. The public trust firefighters to come into their homes to save them irrespective of their possessions. Personal ethics are broad in nature, as every human being will want to be treated with respect and therefore will treat others with respect. People value honesty and courtesy on a personal level whether it is among friends or family members. In this respect, the ethical rules in the fire department are not in conflict with personal ethical rules (Dion, 1996).

The ethical rules for the fire departments are reinforced by particular expectations or behaviors reflected in the fire department culture. The ethical rules of the fire department are based on public trust and respect for the profession. The national firefighter code of ethics is a document that was developed for all fire service organizations regardless of size, type or position. It outlines the standards of behavior required of firefighters, and is designed in an effort to maintain the high level of respect the profession wishes to achieve. It is based on the expectations of the fire department. The code of ethics encourages all fire service organizations to support the standards in order to maintain a consistent organizational culture among all fire departments. The national firefighter code of ethics distinguishes the firefighter’s profession from other professions, and at the same time removes any behaviors that might compromise it in future. It is the minimum standards of expected behaviors of firefighters. It acts as a guide for all fire departments towards high levels of ethics and integrity.

In conclusion, the ethical rules in the fire department are reflected in the organizational cultures of all fire service organizations. The national firefighter code of ethics is based on particular expectations and behaviors reflected in the fire department culture. The ethical rules creates a legacy for all fire service organizations and ensure that all firefighters who leave the fire department, leave it in a better condition than they found it. Ethics is a component of organizational culture based on ethical integrity, professionalism, loyalty and honesty.


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