As opposed to the goals often organization—where the organization is headed, ethical culture determines how it gets there. We have been seeing cases where ends seems to be justifying the means, as the population increases and the fight for the limited resources on the planet intensifies such cases are only going to get more and more common.
Elizabeth Towne has said in one of her novels that just as a smile on a face is indicative of the happiness of the soul twitching the corners of your lips and forcing one’s self to smile has a reverse effect—making the soul happy. An organization’s ethical culture has a similar effect. An organization has as much effect on its ethical culture, as the culture has on the organization. Let’s just say the nobler the culture, the harder and longer the road to success is. It could be said that maintaining strong ethics would be like carrying a huge mother-ship through thick and thin, caring for everyone onboard, a cruise ship. Whereas cutting corners and taking the short route to success brings an image of a lean, mean pirate ship which moves very fast and is certainly very effective.
There is merit in believing in ethics. Somehow it is very apparent that in most journeys it is not arriving, but the getting there part which makes it worth the while. It is very apparent—everywhere around us in the world that the hare still loses to the tortoise just as it has always.
For the sake of this paper we have singled out a third tier educational organization, Temple University, located in Philadelphia, US. We will examine this organization’s code of conduct, its policies on equality and diversity, analyze its demographic data and draw conclusions about its success or failure in all of these realms.
2.1 CODE OF CONDUCT
Since its establishment in 1888 Temple has reflected the social and moral undertones prevalent in the society of Philadelphia. Before the civil liberation movement of the 1960s there was segregation in every aspect of student life at Temple. Today, in the 21st Century with a new awakening we see a change in focus. The university places a strong emphasis on academic honesty and its importance in student culture on the campus. It vociferously mandates integrity and condemns dishonesty of all kinds and at all levels. The handbook gradually elucidates the most common forms of academic dishonesty: falsifying research data—by faculty or students, using another person’s labor without acknowledgement (plagiarism), stealing ideas, words, or assistance in general. The literature goes into great detail enumerating the various activities of student curriculum like papers, examinations, homework exercises, lab reports, oral presentations etc, making a point to perfectly state the university’s position on every aspect.
In a much milder tone students are encouraged to cite and reference all sources (“Student responsibilities,” 2010). The note wonderfully ends with a link safeguarding student’s rights, which is a very positive thing, and allows students to file grievances who may have been unfairly accused. The good note towards the end instills confidence in a student’s mind toward the university and makes it perfectly clear that even in the most unlikely of situations; broaching one of the most uncomforting subjects the university has the good of the student in mind. It suggests that all else in the document is also geared toward the well-being of the student, something which may not be so apparent.
The code book places emphasis on regularly attending classes. The note begins on a common sense reason behind mandatory maintenance of attendance—a presupposed intention. The note is also lucid in that it makes it clear that every instructor chooses the attendance requirements.
Students are also advised of adhering to a disciplinary code of conduct. The university lays it very succinctly its reason to protect itself from any acts that threaten its normal operations. We see an absence of a blanket ban on a certain kind of conduct at all times—and holds the university in a higher light, being as reasonable as it is.
There were times that university rules and regulations used to look like a chapter out of the draconian book. With time and experience, with years of operations an intellectual body like a university has come to incorporate greater transparency, percolating it to the most basic level—that of students. It used to be not that difficult for people to cheat and collaborate on proctored projects in universities until very recently this new mix of ethics in university life are a first grade proof of how important ethics are for the well-being and functioning of an organization as simple as a university. It will be very easy to find almost Spartan university cultures in many civilizations and countries even today. Of course, universities everywhere, whether funded publicly or not, aspire to contribute as greatly as possible to their region’s success and well-being. Such universities exist in Canada and the US as well—but hardly ever do they take center stage in achievements (Dylan, 2010). In my opinion most of such universities exists to fulfill a need in their patron’s minds for a need of rigor and orthodox discipline. This is a clear demonstration of how a university can demarcate its self and preferentially absorb a progressive, likeminded clientele—many of them from abroad. This way a university’s choice to incorporate transparency also resulted in direct success.
Likewise a progressive university would have not just an all-inclusive diversity policy but a progressive one—demonstrating an aggressive approach toward ameliorating all sections of its diverse student and faculty bodies (Klay, 2007). Temple’s approach to diversity included funding a comfortably staffed office of multi-cultural affairs, quite an achievement in its self for a relatively small university. Temple’s added emphasis on establishing campuses outside of the United States—in Italy and Japan endeared it to many of the bigger sources of international student populations. Their emphasis on minority advancement have resulted in an impressive and eclectic student populations, one third of which was African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American, or Native-American (“Temple university -,n.d.,”). Its efforts culminated in getting the small university a huge recognition by the Princeton Review in 2008 for having the most diverse undergraduate student population among 366 colleges nationwide. The recognition came with an editorial touting Temple as a “great place to learn and live” and a “full cultural experience.”
Organizations—the progressive ones have finally realized the importance of maintaining, over and above safeguarding a transparent system of ethics. The ones that realized this early on are now leaders in their fields. Whereas the ones still held up in a dilemma appear rudimentary no matter where they are situated. A positive code of ethics may make you a little slow but it is also a wonderful opportunity for likeminded, progressive people to get on the bandwagon with you sharing in your success and a party to your celebration. Once again, it is not arriving but getting there that matters.
- Temple university – diversity. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://collegeprowler.com/temple-university/diversity/ on 9 November 2010.
- Student responsibilities. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.temple.edu/bulletin/Responsibilities_rights/responsibilities/responsibilities.shtm on 9 November 2010.
- Klay, Denise. (2007, February 21). Diversity discussed, celebrated at temple. Retrieved from http://www.temple.edu/temple_times/february07/Diversity.html
- Dylan, Sharpe. (2010, August 17). Dylan sharpe: such absurdly draconian rules do nobody any favours . Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/dylan-sharpe-such-absurdly-draconian-rules-do-nobody-any-favours-2054540.html