Factors influencing an organization’s development of an
ethics and equality strategy: HSBC.
Factors influencing an organization’s development of
an ethics and equity strategy: HSBC.
Success of any organization in the world today depends highly in the way the organization formulates its policies in terms of ethics, diversity and equity. Investments by an organization in strategies aimed at promoting ethics, equality and recognition of diversity in organizational planning benefits not only the employee, but also the employer. Policies with a positive action towards ethics, equity and respect for diversity have been seen to have a direct relationship with organizational performance. Organizations which have drafted comprehensive ethics and equal opportunity strategies have recorded a positive impact in their growth and performance. In lieu of this, it is paramount for any organizational manager to understand the factors that influence ethical and equity decision making in an organization. HSBC is a high ranking organization that respects the legal, business, demographic and ethical aspects of its employees, customers and all stakeholders in order to maintain and better their performance. This paper seeks to outlay a critical analysis of the influencers of strategy development for ethics and equity in an organization.
The drivers influencing equality and ethical behavior in an organization can be looked at in different aspects: legal, business case, ethical wise and demographic changes among other factors. All these are geared towards creating an all-inclusive work place, where skills and talents of different employees are valued, where everyone is treated with the respect and the dignity they deserve, and most importantly, where a happier workforce is the result of increased productivity. HSBC in its dealings with stakeholders has set policies to inform its treatment of all the stakeholders for the general good of the organization. The aim of the organization, says Stuart Gulliver (n.d) the Chief Executive Officer of HSBC is to make sure that all employees and customers remain proud of the business. He reiterates that this will only be achieved by setting high standards of behavior.This points to the organization’s commitment towards promotion of organizational ethics.
When developing a high quality strategy for equality in an organization, it is of importance to consider the diversity of the people involved. Diversity can be defined as having a positive approach towards equality in the workplace. People need to be treated fairly regardless of their gender, disability, age, race and opinion. People will tend to be different in the way they do things at all times and in all places. Because of this unique feature, there is no place that will be like the other. A good manager will establish close contacts with their employees in order to understand how well they are gifted so as to draw equality strategy from an informed point of view. The benefits of ensuring and promoting equality in the workplace includes among others, maximizing outputs, increasing commitment of employees and tapping new talents (Equity and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), 2010).
In setting strategies on equality, the management will have the facts that, human teams are usually different in their make-up. EHRC (2010) asserts that the diversity of human beings will make them provide a wider range of solutions to the challenges the organization may be facing. A manager who is able to take advantage of diversity will consider the different gifting of every employee yet assign them duties with the principle of equality in consideration.
Jones and Clements (2002) direct that for positive steps to be realized in organizational performance, diversity must be considered special. Jones and Clements (2002) agrees that embracing diversity is not just a good thing, but there are benefits to tap from it and that most businesses across the globe are failing to realize their potential because they have not realized the magic that recognition of diversity can bring. Most of the world organizations have for many years been ignoring the power of diversity thus turning on the negative perception on diversity. It is the high time that such organizations realized the dangers associated with institutional discrimination.
HSBC outlines one of its co-values as being open to different ideas and cultures: communicating openly, honestly and transparently; welcoming challenge, and learning from mistakes; listening to people, treating them fairly, being inclusive and valuing different perspectives. This is a statement of equality in diversity. The HSBC portrays promotion of equality in diversity. From the statement of the co-values as outlined above, the HSBC shows recognition of the diverse views that people may have, but it states clearly that it is open to their views. This is a portrayal of an organization that considers diversity in its formulation of its ethical and equality strategy. Emerging trends in consideration of diversity in formulating equality strategy has seen organizations publish their existing strategies on equality in order to attract a pool of talents.
In the formulation of a quality strategy on equality and ethics, a serious organization must look at the issue of changing demographics. No organization can exist without issues demographic playing center-stage in its day to day operations. Manfred Kumra (2012) notes that legislation in a business, especially due to economic recession, needs to consider the different social groups that form the environment of the business. EHRC (2010) agrees that the latest economic recession in the United Kingdom has hit some groups harder than others. The analysis further shows that men were more affected than the women, and on the other hand, children were more affected than the elderly. Manfred and Kumra (2012) further advise that statistical analysis and surveys, though they are important in studying diversity and equality in order people, they cannot provide adequate information on causes of social segregation. It is therefore paramount that an organization comes up with measures to determine how different social groups fare in the labor market. Occupational segregations and labor market inequalities are among the happenings that hamper organizational progress.
Theories have been developed in the circles of academic literature a bid to explain the labor market inequalities and occupational segregation (Manfred & Kumra, 2012). Neo-liberal theories which include the human capital theory, focuses on the side of demand. The neo-classical theory postulates that allocation of resources and jobs, in a labor market that is free, is influenced by the powers of demand and supply. This brings about discrimination in terms of stereotyping and prejudice on some social group, rendering the functioning of a rational and efficient market noncompetitive. In lieu of this, it is important for mangers to consider the unique groupings of the employees working for them and understand their wholeness and their needs, if they have to promote equality. Discriminating against any of the groups will be unethical. In the same way, ignoring any of the groupings will be going against the demands of fairness and justice, and thus killing the principle of equality.
HSBC, A reputable organization in practice of ethics and equality, has made it clear even in their website for all to see, that they value different perspective and that they are all inclusive. A close examination of their employees reveals an institution of all and sundry in terms of demography.
Religion is another big issue that business organizations struggle with as they set their policies for equality and ethics. Discrimination of employees or any other stakeholder in a business because of their religious background is unethical and professionally unacceptable. An organization will most likely have employees who profess different faiths. It is the responsibility of the management then in this case to come up with a draft for ethics and equality that does not undermine anyone on the basis of the faith they profess. Webly (2011) observes that personal faith or religion, and the way it is expressed in the public, generates strong opinions and emotions and that the workplace is not an exemption to this. No organization can be in line with the principles of ethics and equality, if it does not reflect in its strategy the diverse religious backgrounds that its employees are likely to come from.
The business case or aspect is vital to be considered when drafting an ethics and equality strategy for an organization. The Department for Business Innovations and Skills (2013) asserts that many businesses have reaped heavily from the benefits of equality and diversity. The organizational and economic context of a firm influences how it will gain from diversity and equality. A firm in drafting its equality strategy needs to consider its supplies, the markets it is dealing with, and the labor market. Organizational strategies and the actions of managers and other employees also are important factors to be considered. However, it is important to note that there is no single way defined for businesses to follow so as to accomplish a quality strategy for equality. Each business ought to consider its state as per its uniqueness.
In its co values, HSBC indicates that it is connected to its customers, communities, regulators and each other. The organization is determined in building connections to reach its stakeholder base. The organization goes far beyond; to make sure that it is aware of external issues and forming partnerships that are across boundaries. The organizations management checks about individuals to care about them, be supportive and responsive, as well as showing respect to them.
Equality and ethics strategy cannot be complete without incorporation of the legal aspects. Complying with the law is practical demonstration of business ethics. Legal aspects cannot be ignored because, in violation of business ethics and equality, the law sets in to protect the victims. Mistreatments such as victimization, harassment, direct and indirect discrimination will all be addressed by the law. When gender issues arise in the organization and violation of rights arises, the law is needed to settle disputes. An organization that does not abide by the law will be setting a bad example for its employees and the business community. Its relations with the internal and external business environments will be strained, and the end result may see the firm being forced out of business.
Gender issues cannot be left out when setting out the equality and ethics strategy in an organization. A business cannot operate in a vacuum. The modern culture and society has discouraged in practical terms, any inequality on the basis of gender. A business operates in the environment of, and therefore, the culture of the society. The organization, therefore, must show responsiveness by addressing gender concerns as per the demands of the society. On the other hand, a business can take advantage of the prevailing gender situation in order to benefit from it. Reports indicate that institutions governing markets usually reflects the holders of the most power bin the society. In the inequitable market situations then, organizations can institute practices that make them benefit from the gender inequalities in the society.
Ethical considerations cannot be left out in the formulation of an equality and ethical strategy for a business. The management has to have in mind the factors that influence ethical behavior. The person aspect with personal needs, religious preferences, personal interests and family issues need to be considered at large. Incorporation of such issues in the strategy will make sure that the business respects an individual as a whole being with rights and privileges. The organization itself as a separate entity has to be put into consideration: the supervisory, policy statements, written rules as well as peer group behavior and norms.
The environment of the business also has to be considered in the formulation of the ethics and equality policy. The competitive climate in that particular industry needs be considered. The societal norms and values cannot be ignored. Government policies, rules and regulations needs to be considered fully. An organization cannot set a strategy that contravenes government regulations. A business thus ought to check whether its strategy reflects the four views of ethical behavior: the individual view, the moral rights view, the utilitarian view and the justice view.
In conclusion, adherence to the principles of ethics and equality are very beneficial to a business. A business should, therefore, operate under an equality and ethical strategy that favors its growth. For a business to achieve this, a business must conduct research basing o the ethical, demographic, legal and business factors that affect the development of a quality strategy for ethics and equality. Any business that will make a strategy based on research is likely to benefit. On the other hand, a business that does not put into consideration the factors impacting ethical and equality strategy is doomed to fail.
Equity and Human Rights Commission. (2010). An employer’s guide to creating an inclusive workplace. England. Equity and Human Rights Commission.
Jones, J. & Clements, p. (2002). The diversity training handbook: A practical guide to understanding and changing attitudes. London. Kogan Page Limited.
Manfred, S. & Kumra, S. (2012). Managing equality and diversity. Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.
The Department for Business Innovations and Skills. (2013). The business case for equality and diversity. London: Department for Business Innovations and Skills.
Webly, S. (2011). Religious practices in the workplace. London: Institute of Business Ethics.