Analysis of Open-Ended Question
The open-ended question is: Discuss in brief the benefits of the ethics training (formal as well as informal) at professional as well as at personal level. It was an optional question. Out of the 201 responses we received, 44 responses were invalid with answers like, ‘Why you are doing this research’, ‘Questionnaire was big’, ‘Why do you want my name’, ‘N/A’, ‘Questionnaire was framed nicely’, and so on; only 157 respondents gave valid response. Next, we analyze them.
One hundred and thirty-four respondents have undergone the experience of ethics training. They supported ethics training for reasons like information about company’s expectations provides clear demarcation between the do’s and don’ts, helpful to operate in diversified culture of MNCs, portrays commitment from CEO’s and top management, and so on. There was not a single complaint about the ‘control’ aspect of ethics training, but the majority expressed that until and unless the top management becomes the part of it and adheres to its guidelines, the impact cannot be realized.
The respondents have advocated that ethics training has helped them in situations of moral ambiguity where they could refer to coded rules and customs. This outcome can be interpreted in the following manner. One, employees get help from the codes in difficult situation. Two, ethics codes may be employed as escape routes by employees, rather than taking responsibility for their own choices and actions; hence employees may use them for their comfort and not for betterment of the organizational ethical health.
Respondents also expressed the boredom caused due to lengthy formal trainings. Out of 157 valid responses, 13 have not fully supported ethics training. They expressed that ethics cannot be taught and may only help to discuss the complex ethical issues that impact them and organizations. One response was crucial as it contained nearly all the negative aspects of ethics training expressed by 13 respondents. It is the following:
Ethics training is a waste of time and organizational] money. Nothing good can come from boring an employee to death. ... [E]thics usually come ... from society, a mere training programme that ... [is] highlighted in power point slides does not really help anyone.
The above views pull our attention to three issues. First, ethics training involves lot of money; hence, if not handled with utmost care, it creates negative impact on employees. Employees perceive it to be wasting their time and organization’s money. Second, training or lectures on ethics will not make a person more ethical if he or she does not have these core values to begin with. Third, boredom may be an outcome of formal training. These views of the respondents are additional learning from this research, which, if combined with the other outcomes mentioned below, can enable better understanding of different perspectives of ethics training.