Ethics and moral behaviours are not discretionary for an organisation, they are part of every decision made by members, they frame what members and nominally 'it' as an organisational gorup, will and will not do and how. 
The difficult questions however are, 'What does this mean in practice?' and 'How does the situation the organisation finds itself in affect how it attains this ethical capacity?'. 

The answers to these questions do not always have a comforting simplicity either internally or externally. Add to this that organisations often have a very different view on this within, let alone the view from outside, and many of the attributes of an organisation are interdependent, and the picture becomes yet more complex, not to say confused.

Ethics and moral norms therefore not a black and white conditions - organisations are rarely devils or saints, just as people are not. Where you fall on that scale and what that means  is a pattern of perceptions and behaviours occurring over time and a place, but one that can always be better made when you know where you are.

Recent research into what conditions increase the likelihood of moral, cooperative and ethical behaviour is beginning to enable a clearer view of the major challenges for an organisation wishing to maintain or improve its ethical capacity. 

S.O.E. analysis offers an organisation wide view of what influences a transformation within an organisation that is revealed in the positivity of its social identity.

To provide a basis for this knowledge, Strategic Organisational Ethics gathers information on and links a number of important attributes of an organisation to help answer these questions: 
  • Sub-culture
  • Affect and emotion
  • Social identity  
  • Social network structure
  • Situational conditions
  • Formal systems
  • Organisational learning 
  • Organisational performance
It should come as no surprise that these are woven together within any organisation, but they are rarely treated together. The challenge for an organisational leader is how to balance each and to understand whether what you really want your organisation to aspire to, is in fact what it is really like, or indeed if it is moving the way you would like it. If not either your 'explicit' ethics are secondary, or you are likely to be unable to implement your desired strategy. If your values statement and other ethics related activity does not reflect what it's like 'on the ground', you can be sure every member of your staff knows it.

Treating ethics strategically provides a route to understand this process, to evaluate and act in a manner that reflects the organisation you want to be subject to what you can be.