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This paper will identify my top five values and how they are used in business decision making. Examples will be given to explain the personal foundation of the values and justification as to why the corresponding values were place at their respected position on the list.
Values Used in Business Decision Making
Values have an influence on how we make decisions in our personal and professional lives. It is a difficult task to narrow the list of values to the top five. However, this paper will identify my top five professional values and their influences on my business decision making process. Examples will be given to explain the personal foundation of the values and justification as to why the corresponding values were place at their respected position on the list.
In the attempt to narrow the field to the top five values, I researched the definition of values so I could properly identify what my professional values were and their influences. According to Fukukawa, Shafer, and Lee (2007) values are characterized as "the determinants of specific attitudes and behavior" (p. 383). Keeping this in mind, my list became very long. After careful consideration and thought, the field was narrowed down to the following top five professional values: religion/spirituality, family, integrity, loyalty, and personal growth.
Value One Religion/Spirituality
Religion/spirituality keeps me grounded. I was raised in the church and whenever there are situations that I must address, I turn to religion/spirituality. Knowing decisions I make will affect those around me, some more than others, I try to make the decision that I can live with both in this life and the after life.
While working at my present job, I have often been given the task of making a decision that affects the employee. For example, for the pass six months, the company I am currently working for begin reorganization and downsizing. This has placed an enormous amount of stress on the employees, to include myself. Prior to the reorganization and downsizing, the managing consulting firm informed upper management that there is a possibility of this taking place within the next several months. The rumors started at that point. A training consultant that I supervised requested a meeting with me to discuss the rumor. The employee asked if she should take a position that she was offered at another company or stay with this organization and if she stayed with the company could I guarantee her position was safe from downsizing.
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Value Two Family
Your upbringing is important especially when it comes to your perception of right and wrong. In an article by Badaracco and Webb (1995), states "the most important source of ethical wisdom was the family, particularly the young managers' parents" (p. 19). I agree, for the reason that my mother was the guiding strength for me. My mother was a strong black woman, who raised nine children with the assistance of my grandparents and community elders. I was taught that you will get punished for what you have done wrong whether you were caught or not. Not only will you get punished, you will also have to deal with the consequences of your actions, right than or later in life.
I have experience the consequences of not stopping something that I knew was wrong. In 2004, as a training consultant, I was responsible for ensuring the employees received all mandatory training within the allotted time mandated by the Department of Juvenile Justice. One of these trainings was the Protective Action Response class, conducted by the Director who is the certified instructor for the class. The Director had an assistant, who was not certified assist him in conducting the classes. There were times when the Director left the class in the hands of the assistant, which is prohibited. This practice went on for about six months. I continued to discourage this practice with no success. One year later, the Department of Juvenile Justice conducted and audit which revealed the discrepancies. The company had to go back and retrain all of the employees who received this training during this six month time period. This cost the company a great amount of money, time and effort to get this accomplished. Although the discrepancies did not reveal itself at that time, but it did rear it's ugly head later.
Value Three Integrity
At the age of 18, I join the United States Air Force. I have since retired after 21 years of service. While in the Air Force, we had a basic guide to our core values called The Little Blue Book. This guide provides the military family the definition, why these core values, and the strategy. The first core value is integrity. As a military member, I was taught that integrity is one of the values in which we will live and die for. The United States Air Force Core Values (1997) defines integrity as "the willingness to do what is right even when no one is looking" (3). This lesson has carried over into my civilian life. Conversely this value is not as important to some employees as it is to others.
In the business world, I have had the opportunity of address situations where integrity was not utilized. For example, a new employee must first attend mandatory orientation training for three weeks before they are cleared to work at their site assigned. An employee did not attend the first two classes of the training. The employee stated that she had appointments that she could not change. This employee also stated that she needed the income of the job because she was a single parent and it was her only income. When asked to provide written proof of these appointments, the employee could not produce this information. Upon further investigation, I learned that not only did she not have any appointments she was not a single parent. With no regret, I terminate the employee. Being truthful is especially crucial in the working environment that I am in, which is working with juveniles. Like any young child, they will watch and justify their actions by what you do. Integrity is what we all live by.
Value Four Loyalty
Whether it is dedication to an individual, a company, or a project, loyalty plays a role. Putting forth the effort and believing in what you do takes loyalty to some degree. I have been and continue to be loyal to the military because it was the life that took care of and provided for me for so many years.
After retiring from the military, I was asked to be a part of the foundation of new company, which I agreed. I believed in the cause of helping and providing services for juveniles. I have been dedicated and loyal to the company for nine years. Although I did agree with all of the policies and procedures, my loyalty did not waiver.
The reorganization and downsizing have taken is toll on me, but I continue to be loyal to the company and it's mission of providing services to juveniles. I may not remain in this position for much longer, however, I will continue to be loyal. Loyalty does not stop just because you move on.
Value Five Personal Growth
I have been told that my military career was not enough to obtain a high paying position within an organization. I have taken this to heart. Personal growth has become a quest as well as a necessity. After working for over 29 years, both in the military and civilian worlds, I was always over worked and under paid. Now the time has come to make some changes.
Personal growth means responsibility, proper pay, advancement, and power. I have looked out for everyone except for myself. For example, during the current reorganization and downsizing, I made certain everyone had prospects for a new job or a new position with a different company. Now I have found everyone positions, I did not look out for me. There are times that you have to put yourself in the driving seat and look out for you first.
My top five values are religion/spirituality, family, integrity, loyalty, and personal growth. Each of these values plays a major role in my personal and business decision making process. Although these are the top five, there are numerous other values that are just as important to me.
Badaracco, J. & Webb, A. (1995). Business Ethics: A View from
the Trenches. California Management Review, 37(2), 8-28.
Department of the Air Force (1997). United States Air Force Core
Values, Retrieved April 7, 2007, from http://www.usafa.af.mil/core-value/cv-mastr.html
Fukukawa, K., Shafer, W., & Lee, G. (2007). Values and Attitudes
Toward Social and Environmental Accountability: a Study of MBA Students. Journal of Business Ethics, 71(4), 381-394. Retrieved Thursday, April 12, 2007 from the Business Source Complete database.