In very recent years the global community has been witness to the opening of many deep ethical sinkholes. The collapse of such giants as ENRON and, in our own backyard, HIH has provoked a broad range of stakeholders, customers and media to pay closer attention the ethical behaviours of organisations and their employees. Just 25 years ago ethics did not seem to be an issue and was a word rarely mentioned in the culture of business. Now if business does not incorporate a strong culture of ethics within its key values it is destined for certain doom.
Cohesive corporate culture relies on strong business principles and ethics codes to empower an organisations employee with information to reflect a favourable public perception. If this is cultivated across all levels of the corporate sphere, from lower level employees to top level management it ensures a businesses’ high profile and marketability above its competitors. Boeing is one such company that has paid the price for its lack of ethical scrutiny within its own organisation.
Since it’s inception around 1916 by William Boeing the organisation itself has taken great pride in its family orientated culture. Every employee, customer and stakeholder was welcomed and treated as one of the Boeing family. This in turn reflected to the global community, it’s strong culture of values and code of ethics. Unfortunately as the needs of this organization shifted, distinctly different corporate cultures started to filter in and slowly began to unravel the tight knit family of Boeing.
Boeing has weathered many a crisis throughout its short history, primarily due to the volatile nature of the aviation industry. The organisation began to diversify its production offerings due to this external pressure. It also came to rely on maintaining a vital relationship with the American Government. Unfortunately with this ever growing need to ensure growth of sales to the Pentagon, in the late 70’s early 80’s scandals surrounding Boeing and it’s acquisition of classified information began to surface.
To ensure their competitive edge in this market a number of top executives from Boeing acquired budget documents from the Pentagon. This not only assisted them in putting in a competitive bid but also helped them to maximise the profit they could gain. With charges now laid against Boeing and the threat of Government suspension of contracts, Boeing was forced to restructure their ethics programs and educated all employees on the legal and ethical ramifications of the use of inside information to procure federal contracts.
They ensure ethical codes were foremost in their key business values. This beefing of ethics did work for a small period of time until the late 1990’s, when the most damaging scandal involving insider information would surface. The following report will discuss how managerial ethics and internal, external environments led to the biggest scandal between Boeing and the pentagon thus far. It will also explore how the corporate social responsibility should have been able to prevent the lack of judgement by individuals and the organisation as a whole.
Within the report there will also be comparisons made to other businesses that have experienced similar management failures. Ethics is largely shaped by internal and external influences. While at times it may seem both vital and necessary to step outside ones code of ethics, for either personal or organisational gain and growth, it is still necessary as corporate levels have a social responsibility to ensure the strong culture of key values are maintained within an organisation. Failing to do so, as we will see with Boeing, only leads to mistrust from those around you and a potential loss of a strong competitive edge.