Ethics are one of the most critical issues in business and specifically in human resource management. The good ethical culture in an organization will provide direction and guidance in various areas in order to build united, harmonious and ethical seafarers’ seafarers. However, there is no ethics guidance or standard that is absolute, appropriate and applicable to every company. The code of ethics is a good indicator of organization commitment in accepting the need for ethical behaviors and implementing it (Wood, 2000).
Work ethics can be referred to as a cultural norm that advocates people to hold accountable and responsible for the work they done based on the belief that work has intrinsic value to the individual (Cherington, 1980; Yankelovich & Immerwahr, 1984). A corporate code of ethics is a statement of corporate principles, ethics, rules of conduct, code of practice or company philosophy regarding responsibility to seafarers, shareholders, consumers, the environment or any other aspects of society external to the company (Langlois & Schlegelmilch, 1990).
Seafarers’ perception of their organization’s ethical climate is found to be related to job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and organizational performance (Kim & Miller, 2008; Pettijohn, Pettijohn & Taylor, 2008). Performance ratings by supervisor and peer is one of the method in measuring job performance in which performance is mostly viewed from human behavior with evaluative aspects (Newman, Kinney & Farr, 2004). Employee’s behavior displayed at work is not necessarily related to job specific aspects but mostly on how well someone performs at their work (Jex, 2002). This is consistent with the definition of work ethics where individual are accountable to the work they done according to the acceptable ethical behavior.
In order to study work ethic within the context of Max Weber’s original ideas, it must be disentangled from other work-related concepts. The measure, Multidimensional Work Ethic Profile (MWEP), has seven Weber-associated dimensions: Self-Reliance, Morality/Ethics, Leisure, Hard Work, Work Centrality, Wasted Time, and Delay of Gratification (Miller et. al., 2001). The Self-Reliance dimension consists of striving for independence in one’s daily work. Second is Morality/Ethics dimension consists of believing in a just and moral existence. Third, Leisure dimension consists of premeasure attitudes and beliefs in the importance of no work activities. Fourth, Hard Work dimension consists of belief in the virtues of hard work. Fifth, Work Centrality dimension consists of belief in work for work’s sake and the importance of work. Sixth, Wasted Time dimension consists of attitudes and beliefs reflecting active and productive use of time. And lastly, Delay of Gratification dimension consists of orientation toward the future; the postponement of rewards.