Ethical management and the management of ethics is really two sides of the same coin. Both describe the actions of an organization’s management. In a nutshell, ethical management relates to the decisions made by a manager, while the management of ethics describes the process of directing the behavior of the members of the organization.
Ethical management is the practice of making managerial decisions based on ethical standards. Freedom to Care (1999), a support group for whistle blowers in the UK, describes ethical management embodying the principles of Openness, Performance with Integrity, Accountability, and Leadership. Boatright (2007) relays the story of Johnson & Johnson’s use of ethical management in response to the Tylenol tampering case of 1982 (p. 10). James Burke, CEO for Johnson & Johnson at the time, used the ethical standards put in place by his predecessors to guide his actions and make decisions based on ethics rather than economics (Boatright, 2007, p. 10-11).
The management of ethics is the intentional practice of guiding the ethical decisions made by a group. Johnson & Johnson’s Credo is an excellent example of defined ethical practice set down by management (Boatright, 2007, p. 11). Another example of ethics management (not to be confused with ethical management) can be found at the Korea Gas Corporation. KOGAS clearly defines their ethical standards so that all employees will have a “clear direction” to follow (Korea Gas Corporation, 2008).
As you can see, ethical management itself is really just a result of a prior practice of management. Although ultimately the decision to follow a pre-set standard of ethical management is upon the manager, taking the time to properly set expectations can have positive results.
Boatright, J. (2007). Ethics and the conduct of business, 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Freedom to Care. (1999). Four principles of ethical management. Retrieved on May 26, 2008 from http://www.freedomtocare.org/page12.htm.
Korea Gas Corporation. (2008). Management of ethics. Retrieved on May 26, 2008 from http://www.kogas.or.kr/moral/eng/chung/chung04_01.jsp.