- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
As the world is a global village, businesses are becoming more competive; and more business organizations are adapting to practices, that will give them an edge over their competitions. Organizations strive to adopt business ethics/code of conduct that will not only be responsive to the internal business environment, external business environment which is beyond the organization’s control.
These organizational controls can be seen as the factors that help improve the growth and development of the organization. These controls are in view of ethics which is a measure against misconduct in an organization.
A popular and simple of view of ethics is “how things are done around here “. For example, Atkinson explains organizational ethics as reflecting the underlying assumptions about the way work is performed; what is acceptable and not acceptable, and what behaviour and actions are encouraged and discouraged. The ethics of an organization is also often likened to the personality of an individual.
Maddux and Maddux (1989:5) observe, “Ethics is the name we give to our concern for good behaviours. We feel an obligation to consider not only our own personal wellbeing, but also of others and human society as a whole”.
The performance of many organizations has been impaired due to non-adherence to ethics in the course of their operations. Such ethical issue have bordered on factors such as: The timely and positive effort in handling human problems at the executive level will make for good ethics or reconciliation of the organizational and employee goals. poor attitude to work, poor customer appreciation, lack of respect to constituted authority, stealing or conversion and failure to accept responsibility are major ethical issues in managing an organization.
The result of this poor attitude to work in an organization is the reason for constant dwindling of management and poor performance in organizations (Onodugo, 2008). It is sad to note that the typical work attitude of an average Nigerian worker is largely anything near what will turn around the organization.
An attitude can broadly be defined as a settled mode of thinking. Attitudes are evaluative. As described by Makin et al (1996), ‘Any attitude contains an assessment of whether the object to which it refers is liked or disliked.’ Attitudes are developed through experience but they are less stable than traits and can change as new experiences are gained or influences absorbed. Within organizations they are affected by cultural factors (values and norms), the behaviour of management (management style), policies such as those concerned with pay, recognition, promotion and the quality of working life, and the influence of the ‘reference group’ (the group with whom people identify).
Williams et al (1989) is of the opinion that an organization exists primarily to serve the needs of its members and customer. This objective which helps in improving organizational performance is defeated when the customers are badly served. Corporate Social Responsibility according to Trevino and Nelson (1996:30) “has been conceptualized as a pyramid constituting four kinds of responsibility that must be considered simultaneously economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic”. It is within the realm of ethical responsibilities that we are treating the issue of business ethics/code of conduct and its influence on employees, motivation, job satisfaction and professional attitude to work. Many schools of thoughts have considered CSR a distraction to business. They held the view that the sole purpose of a business is to make profit and live up to its responsibility of paying taxes and levies to government of the day. The question may be asked why an organization and its employees behave ethically. Does it mean that unethical organizations and employees do not progress? Definitely evidence abounds about unethical organizations that perform well but in the short run. Many reasons abound on why the adaptation of a sound business ethics/code of conduct by an organization will benefit it on the long run and by extension its performance and profit. Schiffman and Kanuk (1994) state that: ‘Values help to determine what we think is right or wrong, what is important and what is desirable.’ Values are beliefs in what is best or good for the organization and what should or ought to happen. The ‘value set’ of an organization may only be recognized at top level, or it may be shared throughout the business, in which case it could be described as value driven.
The stronger the moral values, the more they will influence behaviour. Moral value is defined as relating to principles of right and wrong. This does not depend upon their having been articulated. Implicit values that are deeply embedded in the ethics of an organization and are reinforced by the behaviour of management can be highly influential, while espoused values that are idealistic and are not reflected in managerial behaviour may have little or no effect. It is ‘values in use’, values that drive desirable behaviour that are important.
The values and belief of an organization are manifestation of the kind of good that its members should strive to meet, as well as ideas about the standard of behaviour members should utilize in achieving these goals. From these organizational values, management will develop guidelines and expectations, prescribing the kind of behaviour deemed appropriate for employees to demonstrate in particular situations, thus guiding and controlling the interaction of all members of the organization. The effects of this will be to give an overall corporate “feel” to the internal and external interactions. This corporate feel forms the basis for the establishment of an organization. Organizations exist in various sectors of the Nigerian economy. These sectors include Agriculture, Manufacturing, Building, Construction and petroleum etc. There are also many subsectors such as Foods and Beverages, Tobacco, Solid Minerals etc.
The Nigeria Bottling Company “Coca-Cola” is one of the organizations operating within the food and beverages subsector. Factors affecting its performance are varied. How ethics affects this performance is relevant in this study.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM