With regards to the corporate scandals that have plagued society in the past few years, there are many that say not to worry, because most college students know the difference between school and real life and they will “do the right thing when it really counts.” This statement could not be further from the truth, because a student that cheats on a test would likely cheat people when they enter the work world. They may not necessarily cheat the public out of their money (Bernard Madoff), they may actually bend a few rules to help the average person gain some type of financial advantage. A person that is comfortable with taking risks, regardless of the rules, and accepting the consequences will most likely do so whenever the opportunity arises, whether they are at school or at work.
Those that take shortcuts in school when pressured may do so because they feel that is the only way out. It’s like the old saying goes “pressure bursts pipes”. The pressure they feel to perform gets so intense that their thinking is clouded and that shortcut seems to be a blessing to them. The problem is they haven’t come up with a constructive solution to dealing with the pressure and they will most likely take that shortcut, or another, every time they are faced with pressure. All that cheating and taking shortcuts is bound to catch up to them sooner or later and they will end up losing. Plus, if they continue to cheat what have they truly learned.
This unethical behavior can be eliminated, in part, by college professors. They can possibly do a better job of teaching ethics just by following a few of the actions a team of management researchers came up with for improving on-the-job ethics. The three actions that come to mind are behave ethically yourself, develop a meaningful code of ethics, and reinforce ethical behavior. Since most college students are at the age where they are just starting to figure themselves out (who they are or what they want to do), professors have the perfect opportunity to shape their young minds. Practicing these three actions everyday could go a long way to creating a work force that practices good ethics.
Anyone that is caught behaving unethically on the job should be held accountable for their actions and punished within the law. There punishment could be anything from being fired from a job to jail time. As stated earlier, those that do unethical acts are aware that there are penalties and punishments for their actions and they risk facing them if they are caught. Regardless of their position or status, unethical behavior should be punished.
There is an old saying that goes “if you lie, you will steal, and if you steal, you will kill.” This may not be true of absolutely every person that lies or steals, but it does make sense the one unethical behavior could lead to another. Unethical behavior in the workplace has become second nature. Most people don’t think twice about going into the supply cabinet and taking supplies home or having a friend clock them in when they are running a little late. The problem is sometimes that “small” action could lead to any number of unethical actions that could cost someone their job or their freedom. Ethics is often overlooked in the workplace. But if we bring good ethical behavior and practices into work with us each day, we could build a more honest and trustworthy corporate America.