Managers' Moral Accountability

Managers are accountable for encouraging a healthy environment and their behaviour largely determines the atmosphere at the workplace.

A position of authority must not allow a manager to use ‘forcing responses’ such as ‘I’m the boss, so we’ll do it my way’ (Carlopio & Andrewartha 2008, p. 344). The ‘forcing responses’ may be perceived by leaders as being strong and imposing, however Carlopio and Andrewartha (2008) described the consequence of this approach as producing resentments and lower morale. Additionally, O’Neill (2002, Lecture 3) mentioned the importance of being ‘intelligently accountable’ through ‘more attention to good governance and fewer fantasies about total control.’ Finally, as with the ‘forcing response’, all ‘competitive’ approaches lead to the frustration of the team members, a sensation of unfairness and denigration from the managers (Coetzer & Trimble 2010).

I will continue further arguing that, according to the Stephen Darwall’s concept of a ‘Second-Person Standpoint’ (2006), the ‘forcing response’ does not respect the ‘equal moral authority’ and instead involves the commanding of one party over another. Rather, the concept of ‘equal moral authority’ presents the idea to avoid two clans, ‘them’ and ‘me’, and oppositely, introduces the respect of ‘us’ allowing growth as a team. Furthermore, the cooperative approach is based in this respect of human being’s dignity to handle the conflict enquiring: ‘This is my position, what is yours?’, ‘How can we resolve it?’ (Carlopio & Andrewartha 2008, p. 347). In addition, according to Coetzer and Trimble (2010, p. 25), the election of a conflict management approach corresponds to a ‘high or low concern for self with high or low concern for others’. Therefore, a high concern for self and others will lead to a cooperative style which intends to satisfy the needs of all parties, respecting their dignity.

Carlopio and Andrewartha (2008, p. 352) cite research concluding that the ‘forcing response’ is the most common way to manage conflict. This approach aims to ‘get my way’ and to remove dignity from the employees, leaving them with feelings of defeat and humiliation. In the context that the ‘forcing response’ is the most common approach, I may conclude that the use of a cooperative approach would introduce a change of culture in the relations between managers and employees, a welcome for a mutual ‘visit’ to each other’s thoughts, interests, and preoccupations.

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