A Critique of Lockheed Martin's Ethics Program, Essay Sample for Everyone

Published: 2022-04-12
A Critique of Lockheed Martin's Ethics Program, Essay Sample for Everyone
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Company Business ethics
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1233 words
11 min read

What do you think about the notion presented by Terris that Lockheed's ethics program does little to prevent ethical breaches at the highest level of the organization?

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The primary intention of ethics programs is to prevent and detect criminal conduct and to reinforce compliance with legal requirements. The company which currently known as Lockheed Martin Corporation was founded in 1995 when Martin Marietta and Lockheed Corporation which was world's premier technology companies merged. In 2001, the company had an interest in being a good corporate citizen to help and fight for those who fight for freedom. Thus, the corporation developed and refined a model of ethics and corporate citizenship proposed by Martin Marietta (Rendtorff, 2007). The approach was based on sound corporate citizenship and exhibited traits of a value-driven plan with a very stout focus on corporate ethics.

Daniel Terris developed a rich case study of the Lockheed Martin ethics program by spending two years researching the powerful global corporation materials and interviewing its ethics officers and ordinary employees. Although Terris praises the program as a "gloriously democratic" in its effort to focus on every employee's' responsibility in every dimension of his or her work and actions, his major concern is that this focus is used as a tool to divert attention from senior management's ethical responsibility and the moral complexities of collective decision making. His primary concern reveals that the ethics focus on the individual behaviors rather than the impact of the policies of the corporation on a local level, national and global societies. The programs ultimate effect is creating a business that has ethical practices at the cost of the public good.

Conquering with, "Terris notion that ethics program does little to prevent ethical breaches at the highest level of the organization," there are traits that come out from his study that reveal the loopholes in the program. The program fails to accurately and efficiently address the misbehaviors of unethical leadership and any possible misconduct among its executives. Secondly, the program does not take into account the dangers of the corporation mischiefs as much as it emphasized those of individuals. Thirdly, how the program handles the rank-and-file employees of the organization is not convincing enough, and lastly, it fails to tackle the full range of issues that it lays on its external environment in a global, national, regional or local environment (Terris, 2005)Are the efforts put forth-such as making sure higher-level executives participate in training-enough to help executives navigate what Terris calls the 'ethical minefield' faced by leadership in such an organization?

What are some things that could be done to address the issue related to ethics at higher executive levels of the organization?

The programs show most gaps when it is examined in the light of what most Americans expect of a good cooperate behavior. Although its executives are supportive of the program during their yearly essential etic awareness activities, the evidence to show that the program offers enough attention to those who are in power and authority is very little or dim. The leaders are awarded privileges and control during the yearly programs leading to a creation of vulnerabilities for the future. The fact that it emphasizes more on the personal responsibility, collective innocence by encouraging that employees exhibit a strong sense of personal investment in the organization's ethical performance, it fails to look at the corporation's ethical performance. This loophole can lead to executives corporate ethical practices but on the other hand, often as a group they can slide into habits of misconducts often unintentionally. This form of misconduct will not be blamed for individual fault but as a corporation. This may consent the conglomerate exposed to fresh kinds of indignities and civic atrocity.

By the nature of their position, high-ranking officials have extra command, access, impact and less answerability, very few people oversee them, and those who do are often powerless to question their misconducts. With these factors in mind, it would make more sense if corporation's ethics program placed more emphasis on issues of leadership and power. The program should be in a position to put safeguards to address challenges facing the people in leadership posts. Leadership requires skills that are more special, it makes particular ethical demands, therefore instead of Lockheed Martin leaders going through the same training, and modules as the rest, their ethics curriculum should be more suited to their level of complexity.

Terris points out that the company's program is overly focused on individuals and that it does not address group dynamics that can impact ethical situations. For instance, there can be a tendency for groups to 'go with the flow' of the group decision-making process and overlook ethical issues in the process. What would you recommend that Lockheed Martin do to address this situation?

Company executives contribute to most of the company misbehaviors in several ways. Through ethical leadership, the executives are an essential part of developing a strong ethical culture and climate within an organization. In this program, CEOs are in a not so unique position to devote their corporate or personal resources to this effort. These leaders tend to go with the following of a group's decision due to their close personal identification with the organization, usual corporate communication patterns that block the flow of info, and they have weak interaction choices that prevent information that is available from their subordinate (Trevino, 2005).

The corporation can develop a program that addresses specific problems with the level of complexity that the executives face so that whenever they are faced with a group ethical dilemma, they can have an idea of what to choose in such situations. Secondly, a formal role for the ethics office could be vital to the CEOs whose primary objectives would be to advise and monitor the actions of the top leaders in the corporation that would act as an opportunity to head off problems before they happen. Thirdly, within the board of directors, the corporation can appoint professional expertise in corporate ethics. The appointment can mainly act as strength to the appearance of the board and as an independent oversight for the ethics of the corporation. Lastly, specific issues such as executive compensations tint the organization's public image. Therefore if the company becomes more courageous and transparent in how it tackles such emerging problems, it can help in bolstering confidence among the public in how it shows a willingness to handle these problematic questions (Argandona, 2016).

The Lockheed Martin ethics program has been successful in ensuring that individual within its internal environment is accountable to their action. The program fails to identify the impact of the corporation to the rest of the world. It compartmentalization of an ethics program will only appear to be unsatisfactory to the broader community. Therefore, to be fully capable the organization needs to address issues that deals with it senior executives and the organization ate large in its program. These are such as "mutual decision-making, the line amongst integrities and social responsibility and the ethics of the core enterprise itself."


Argandona, A. (2016). Social responsibility and ethics in organizational management. Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance, 2-4.

Rendtorff, J. D. (2007). The corporation as a good citizen: A case study of Lockheed Martin. 1-15.

Terris, D. (2005). Ethics at Work: Creating Virtue at an American Corporation. Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press.

Trevino, L. K. (2005). Out of Touch: The CEO's Role in Corporate Misbehavior. Brooklyn Law Review, 70(4), 1-18.

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