Wasta

Listen to this postWasta is a small city in south Dakota with a population of 75 people. But “Wasta” is whom you know in Kuwait or how strong is your social network. The equivalent of wasta in English would be “Cronyism”. In Cuba it is known to be “Sociolismo” but in Russia it is called “Blat” and in China called “Guanxi” and finally in Germany has a longer word that I can not even pronounce “Vetternwirtschaft”.  So what is “Wasta”? Wasta is your social network and how you can maximize the use of your relationships. Wast is calling somebody you know to do you a favor that you have to repay back sooner or later. It is a way to overcome bureaucracy and unnecessary delays in the routine work. But like everything useful in life, you can misuse wasta to get what you are not entitled for. You have to “Pull some strings” sometimes to get what you deserve, but some people pull “stronger” strings to get what you deserve before you. Some of my friends says that they use wasta just to make sure that they are getting what they should get. But the question is: how did they know that whatever they got by wasta was meant for them?

The Personnel Policy

Listen to this postMost of the medium and large organizations has a written personnel policy. The size and effectiveness of such policy depend on the organization size and culture. The bigger the organization the more detailed is its policy. The policy start small and simple but grow up and get more complicated with time. New procedures or rules are written frequently to cover the organizational needs. Expansions and new ventures require new rules and regulations; however, most of the new procedures are written to regulate or organize new situations that led to or going to lead to a problem. This fact explain why most of the personnel polices are complexed and confusing. The personnel policy was written in a reactive (or firefighting) mode. Some of the rules in policy are not applicable now or could cause more damage that it can regular and prevent. Some internet sites offer a ready-made “cookie cutter” policy that the starting companies can use with some customization. I doubt that a policy written for specific culture in a specific industry would be useful for anther culture and industry, but unfortunately, sometimes this happens! The best way to write a personnel policy is to have a specialist in Organizational Behavior to study the organizations culture and nature of work then write the full policy. The policy would be updated as needed but the specialist or consultant should be called whenever the organization anticipate change at work. The policy would need periodic revisions to rewrite or drop some of the old rules and regulations.

My Wedding Ring

Listen to this postI got married ten years ago when I was 37 years old. Some of you would immediately ask why I was so late since the average age for marriage in Kuwait is 25. My answer would be in a future post. I am now happily married to a wonderful wife with three children. I have been through work stress, labor strikes, fire fighting, swim with sharks and raised children. Life is tough but with little patience all problems would pass way and will turn to be a distant memory. I like photograph and love to take pictures of roses and natural sites, but do not like to be photographed. I do not want to look at the pictures after 10-20 years and then say something like “Ooooh …I was so young” or “Looook how funny I was with that hair cut!”. I believe what had happened in the past should stay in the past, and we should live our lives they way we are now. It is like diving for many years then you find yourself in a place that you are happy with. The pictures form our live journey would not make much sense now. The picture on the right side shows my wedding ring which I always wear. I just took it off one day for cleaning and found the dents and beating it took through the years. The engraved artistic decoration had been wiped out through the years. The ring is a good indicator to what had happened in the past 10 years.

I Love You Soooooo …!

Listen to this postI was working on the computer when my middle son came to me and asked my for a permission to sleep with me in our bed then when he is sleep I can carry him to his room. He is a hansom 7 years old boy that you find it very difficult to say no to. So we lay down in the bed and I hugged him and kissed then the following conversation took place:

Him: ” Dad I love you”

Me: ” I love you this much” showing a small gap between my fingers

Him: ” I love thiiiiissss much” he open his arms wide open.

Me: “I love you as big as the closet”

Him: ” I love you as big as the house”

Me: “I love you as big as the supermarket”

Him: ” I love you as big as the Earth”

Me: “OOOOOhh….I love you Soooooo….” then he stopped me by saying ” please be quite I am trying to sleep!”

Preparing a Code of Ethics

Listen to this postTseng, Duan, Tung, and Kung (2010) analyzed 85,000 cited references of 3,059 articles from three business ethics related journals. The researchers found three concentration of interest in the cited references. The concentration was around the following:

  • Ethical and unethical decision-making
  • corporate governance and firm performance
  • Ethical principles and code of conduct

Comparable study was conducted by Forster, Loughran, and McDonald (2009) on a sample of firms listed on the Standard & Poor’s 500 showed similar sentences in their code of ethics. The repeated phrases are covering law obedience, acting with integrity, commitment to integrity,  commitments to treating others with fairness, exercising citizenship rights and remaining committed to the organization’s values. Messikomer and Cirka (2010) stated  honesty, respect, integrity, quality, neutrality and responsibility as the code of ethics principles for the organization (Messikomer & Cirka, 2010).

The list of important rules and principles above are a good guideline to write most of the organizational code of conduct. The process can start with identifying the organizational values and learn for the past experiences when the organizations had ethical problems or when employees violated the organizational values. The employees should be involved in writing the code of conduct, however representatives from each departments or sections would be enough when the organization has many employees that could not be assembled in one locations to discuss such intangible issue. The key stakeholders comments would be valuable for writing the code of ethics because the stakeholders are directly affected by the organizational ethics. The code of ethics history shows that the code writing was reactive to the international ethical violations (Messikomer & Cirka, 2010). Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) of 1977 was set to control the supply side corruption by imposing anti-bribery provisions and accounting provision. The act had limited success in the anti-bribery practices according to Darrough (2010), but the ethical users relatively subsided after issuing the act (Messikomer & Cirka, 2010).

Read also in this blog: Ethical Management and  Starting New Business Ethically

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References:

Darrough, M. (2010). The FCPA and the OECD convention: Some lessons from the U.S. experience. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(2), 255-276. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0219-5

Forster, M., Loughran, T., & McDonald, B. (2009). Commonality in codes of ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 90, 129-139. doi: 10.1007/s10551-010-0380-x

Messikomer, C., & Cirka, C. (2010). Constructing a code of ethics: An experiential case of a national professional organization. Journal of Business Ethics, 95(1), 55-71. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0347-y

Tseng, H.-C., Duan, C.-H., Tung, H.-L., & Kung, H.-J. (2010). Modern business ethics research: Concepts, theories, and relationships. Journal of Business Ethics, 91(4), 587-597. doi: 10.1007/s10551-009-0133-x

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Starting New Business Ethically

Listen to this postSome of us would like to start a new business or expand their business to new geographical location. The new business owner would think of most of the business related issues but forget the soft and intangible issues like ethics and culture. Three thousand managers and employees were surveyed in the U. S., stated that ethics compliance did not change as expected after implementing ethics compliance programs (Gebler, 2006). Organizational culture had more influence on ethics programs success than any other factors (Gebler, 2006). Managers who aim for ethical culture change and target long-lasting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are facing difficulty in showing the benefits of such programs to the shareholders (Grossman, 2005). The shareholders would like to see immediate results to prove the managers spending (Grossman, 2005).

The basic components for ethical decision-making are moral issues, recognition, making moral judgment and engaging in moral behavior (Ingram, Skinner, & Taylor, 2005). These components would help in setting up an ethical international operation that  account for cultural, religious, national, gender, and racial differences. We need to study the local culture and religion and how it will be affected by the new business. If the business is established in the international market then we need to assess the effect of the existing business form the environmental, religious  and cultural aspects and make sure their compliance to the findings. Deviating from the ethical standard would lead to social and economical conflict with the locals. The result would be assessed for risk before taking the action to avoid legal actions. Deviations are allowed when the deviations benefits can outweigh the losses from the ethical operation.


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References:

Gebler, D. (2006). Creating an ethical culture. Strategic Finance, 87(11), 28-34.

Grossman, H. A. (2005). Refining the role of the corporation: the impact of corporate social responsibility on shareholder primacy theory. [Article]. Deakin Law Review, 10(2), 572-596.

Ingram, R., Skinner, S., & Taylor, V. (2005). ‘Consumers’ evaluation of unethical marketing behaviors: The role of customer commitment’. [Article]. Journal of Business Ethics, 62(3), 237-252. doi: 10.1007/s10551-005-1899-0

Does Your Goals Match Your Organization’s Goals?

Listen to this postMany employees work very hard to achieve their personal goals thinking that these goals would help them to excel in the their careers. Sometimes, personal and career goals are a perfect match because the individual had planned it that way. We all have needs and wants that appeal to us. We would like to achieve them but they do not help us to climb that steep professional ladder to reach the desired promotion or salary increase. Reading the following pages would help identifying your personal strength and weakness and guiding in converting the weakness to a strength to reach your challenging goals. The last page would help the reader to compare his or her personal goals with their organizational goals. The reader is asked to match his or her goals with the career goals and try to aim for a common goal that develop him or her and to achieve the organization’s objectives.

Many employees work very hard to meet their personal goals thinking that these goals would help them to excel in the their careers. Sometimes,personal and career goals are a perfect match because the person had planned it that way. We all have needs and wants that appeal to us. We would like to achieve them but they do not help us to climb that steep professional ladder to reach the desired promotion or salary increase. Reading the attached pages (by clicking here) would help identifying your personal strength and weakness and guiding converting the weakness to a strength to reach your challenging goals.


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Life Without The Internet

Listen to this postIn the past two weeks I had to experience few days without the invisible wireless service of the internet. One of the reasons was my personal vacation and I wanted to stay away from my daily routine, the 24 hours connectivity and the virtual social network. I tried to stay away from the internet but could not. Many of us are addictive to the internet. Most of us use the internet for work and professional uses but we socialize from time to time on the Internet even during the working hours just to break out from the stressful work environment. During my stay in the hotels I had to pay the expensive and unrealistic internet fees just to stay connected. What I paid for few days in the hotel is enough to get me connected on a high-speed internet at home for a month, but again I am addicted to the Internet. The second reason I need the internet is to continue my commitment to the readers of this blog. I maintained my “three posts per week” through my most difficult times and tried to make up for the days I missed if that rarely happened. The third reason I need the Internet is my daily access to the digital libraries for my researches. I usually use this third reason to justify my need for the Internet but actually I need the Internet for the other reasons also. I have internet service on my mobile phone, on my iPad and I got wireless serves at home and at work just to stay connected all the time. I do not know about you, but I am hooked on the Internet.

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How Does It Help Us!

Sharing information in an organizationListen to this postTeams or departments acquire skills, experience and knowledge while doing their daily work and overcoming the new challenges they meet occasionally. The knowledge and experience are learned by the team members or the department employees only. Other employees in the same organization will not learn that important experience or knowledge if it was not documented and shared. However, “knowledge is power” as they say, and many department managers or leaders would like to keep the knowledge or experience confined within their teams or departments. The new knowledge might speed up the work process, prevent mistakes, save money or do these advantages and that’s why some people avoid sharing them. The team is afraid that they might lose there competitive advantage if they share what they have learned. If you approach the team leader or the department manager and ask him or her to share with you that knowledge, they would say something like “how does it help us!” and they mean that they will consume their valuable time and give their competitive advantage when they share their advantages without feeling any direct benefit to them. Not knowing that sharing the information will benefit them indirectly especially if they are working in the same organization. They will benefit a lot when they share. They will have better support from the supporting staff, they will have less mistakes and fewer wrong deliveries and they will have smoother supply chain. The organization will do better and will be more profitable which will generate more capital to invest and grow. When somebody tell you “how does it help us!” you tell them that everybody will serve and cooperate better with them when they share their competitive advantage.

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Are You Changing Your Work-Space?

Listen to this postMany companies had redesigned their office space from the traditional set up which have rooms designated for one or two office workers to cubicles or open space design. Some cultures would accept the new set up but others would like to  maintain their privacy in the office. According to Jones (2007), the main purpose of the organizational structure is “to control the way people coordinate their actions to meet organizational goals and to control the means used to motivate people to achieve these goals” (p. 7). The workspace is defined as an organizational resource and is designed to advance the organizational goals (Vaske & Donnelly, 1999). The marketplace especially the international market is influenced and segmented by religion (Wenger, 2004).

Organizations would attract workers who conform with the dominant religion in the organization and in the environment, employees with different religions may face glass ceiling and bear stereotype effect during promotions and salary increase. Wenger (2004) relates religious marketplace theory to the failure of communism to replace religion in China. Religion may have a positive effect from the point view of some (having the same religion) or seen as a hurdle by others. Many companies in the Middle East region are changing their work place set up to cubical or open-space set up similar the Western office layout. The new theories may support the open-space layout and “barrier removal” to enable workers to interact openly but not all agree. New researchers have found that such optimism does not continue when workers find that they lose privacy and independence with it (Chan, Beckman, & Lawrence, 2007). Another research found employees’ satisfaction decreased after they moved from the traditional office layout to the open-space layout (Chan, Beckman, & Lawrence, 2007).

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References:

Chan, J. K., Beckman, S. L., & Lawrence, P. G. (2007). Workplace design: A new managerial imperative. California Management Review, 49(2), 6-22.

Jones, G. (2007). Organizational theory, design, and change (5 ed.). New York: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Vaske, J. J., & Donnelly, M. P. (1999). A value-attitude-behavior model predicting wildland preservations voting intentions. Society & Natural Resources, 12(6), 523.

Wenger, J. E. (2004). Official vs. underground protestant churches in China: Challenges for reconciliation and social influence. Review of Religious Research, 46(2), 169-182.

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