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Share with us your perception of the ethical climate in your organization.

How does
that climate affect employee and organizational outcomes?
Trevino, Butterfield, and McCabe (1998) define ethical climate as, the prevailing
perceptions of typical organizational practices and procedures that have ethical
content or those aspects of work climate that determine what constitutes ethical
behavior at work (p. 448). Victor and Cullen (1988) explained it in terms of those
things that help an employee answer, What should I do? in various situations or
scenarios (p. 101). Prescriptions, prescribers, and permissions help employees know
the right or wrong ways to respond.
Victor and Cullens (1988) study used a two-dimensional theoretical typology of
ethical climates; the first dimension represents the ethical criterion used for
decision-making, while the second dimension represents the locus of analysis used
in ethical decisions. By cross tabulating these two dimensions, nine different, yet
most common ethical climate types were identified.
Wayne State College, specifically the Office of Admissions, has a couple different
things influencing the ethical climate. First, the College itself has a certain set of
rules and procedures that are utilized in making decisions. Likewise, things within
our mission, such as the fact that we are an open enrollment institution, motivate
the types of decisions we stand by. Second, within our office, we have a sort of
unwritten set of rules and procedures, sort of an ethical culture, that definitely
influences our actions. For example, we stand by recruiting students with a very
pressure-less approach. While we want to present ourselves and all that our school
has to offer to students, we will not badger students with communication and we
will never second guess the enrollment decision they make, whether that is to go
elsewhere or not. We also NEVER speak negatively about another institution. We
know that the college search has students shopping around, looking at us and
elsewhere. We are okay with that and we will cheer a student on whether they
choose us or not, as long as they choose higher education, we are satisfied. I
believe these factors would define our climate as a Principle-Local climate.
On the other hand, our office also has some laws and professional codes through
outside organizations, like NACAC (National Association of Collegiate Admissions
Officers) and AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and
Admissions Officers) that we follow. For example, NACAC has a Principle of Good
Practice that member institutions agree to follow. One of those principles does not
allow institutions to admit students for a new academic year (Fall 2016) until after
September 15th. This is to ensure institutions arent pressuring students to apply
and/or commit too early in their senior year. In this sense, we may also have more
of a Principle-Cosmopolitan climate. In many regards, our office is very team
oriented in our decision-making. At the start of an academic year, we determine our
recruitment goal for the year and things we might implement to help us reach that
goal. While each Admissions Rep is responsible for a respective territory and the
numbers produced out of that territory, we are all responsible for the overall goal.
So while there may be a group of students on campus that is not from my territory, I
am still going to look after whats in the teams best interest and go show those

students the absolute best time on campus. This may mean our climate is one of
the Benevolence-Local type.
Regardless of how our ethical climate is defined, I feel very lucky to work in a field
that I feel is quite free of ethical tug and pull. Helping a student through the process
of higher education to me is an easy sell. I know that no matter where the student
chooses, their life will forever be changed by higher education. Likewise, working for
an open enrollment institution that is among the lowest in terms of full sticker price,
removes many of the situations that I feel could lead to ethical compromises in
higher education recruitment. I love that I work for an office and a leader that I
believe puts ethics in the forefront of what we do. I am comfortably able to do my
job, to sleep easy at night, and wake up each morning excited to do what I do.
Works Cited
Trevino, L.K., Butterfield, K.D., & McCabe, D.L. (1998). The ethical context in
organizations: Influences on
employee attitudes and behaviors. Business Ethics
Quarterly, 8(3), 447-476.
Victor, B. & Cullen, J.B. (1988). The organizational bases of ethical work
climates. Administrative Science
Quarterly, 33, 101-125.