Business ethics Essay Example
Title: Imagine yourself in a situation of being encouraged to inflate your expense account. Do you think your choice would be most affected by your individual moral development or by the cultural values of the organization for which you work?
Ethical decisions making involves one being able to look at the implication of the choices made. This involves looking at the complex, ambiguous and incomplete facts to make a decision. Ethics are the principles that are used in determining what is wrong or right. One has to decide on a solution after evaluating a list of competing options. Ethics are used in determining the way in which a moral person is expected to behave. The decision on what is right or wrong is based on the norms, beliefs, family background, laws and habits of a person. In order for one to make an ethical decision, they have to put their principles in action. The reason for being ethical varies from person to person. There are inner benefits, personal advantage, peer approval, religion and habit among others. Despite the benefits associated with being ethical, there are several obstacles that are faced. Some of the obstacles that are faced are self interests and the pursuit for happiness (Roth, 2005). This essay will look at an ethical dilemma in which I am involved in. the situation involves a case where I am supposed to inflate my expense account. The essay will give the explanation whether my decision will be affected by my individual moral development or by the organization cultural values.
Ethical dilemma occurs where we are faced with an ethical issue in which our choices have an effect on interests of others, community or corporate. The dilemma is complex and no model can sufficiently explain it. In this case, the dilemma involves a case where I have to lie so that I can benefit from the corporate. This can be regarded as misuse of the powers and assets of the company. According to this dilemma, if I inflate my expenses account, I will benefit from the corporate. I will also be able to gain peer acceptance from my seniors who are advising me to inflate it. If I refuse to inflate the expense account, I will face rejection from the seniors but I will have protected the company assets (Vardalis, 2010). I will have acted to protect the company interests as well as my morals. This shows how complex such an ethical issue is. Every decision has a consequences and one have to decide at the end.
Every organization has a code of conduct. These are meant to protect the individuals from themselves and others who may want to abuse the power of their office. As a professional, one may decide to follow the codes or defy them. This is due to fact that their authority does not rise higher than the moral authority of an individual. The corporate culture uses code of ethics that are based on ideal behavior which in some cases can not apply in real situations. For the employees, the code of ethics acts as a goal which they determine what is acceptable in the organization. In most cases, after the employees attain the set guidelines on the code of conduct, they rarely try to improve on them. Their motivation is reduced and they become less aggressive. This shows that the action to decide in an ethical dilemma cannot be based on the company culture but on the morals of an individual (Vardalis, 2010).
Codes of ethics which define the ethics culture of a company are not possible to include every scenario of a dilemma. The code gives vague guidelines which the individual have to interpret in their own ways. There are many dilemmas in which the organization culture cannot help in solving. This is due to fact that the dilemmas come in different situations hence not specific. The individual has to act by seeking solutions from different areas. If I am faced with such a dilemma, I will not rely on the code of ethics since this is a complex issue. The guidelines given may not well fit into the solution for the dilemma. My moral judgment will lead to my final decision (More & Webley, 2003). This is due to fact that the morals are vital in situations where any decision made have dire implications.
For one to make an ethical decision, there are six main pillars. These pillars are trust, respect, responsibility, care, fairness and citizenship. The decision that we make in such an ethical dilemma will determine the trust that others will accord us. When we are trusted by others, we do not require to be guided in our work. Honesty involves communication and conduct of an individual. This is expressing the truth as we see it and giving it in a way that is clear. This involves being truthful, sincere and candor (McLaren, 2002). This is going with the set rules and ensuring there is honesty. As employee, our integrity is required so that we act according to our beliefs. Loyalty as a pillar involves promoting the interests of others and organization. According to the six pillars, I would base my decision on them. I would not inflate my account as this would be against the six pillars of ethics. This shows that individual mortality plays the biggest part in making the decision (Maxwell, 2003).
A decision can only be considered ethical if it is able to meet the six pillars of character. For one to make an ethical decision there is need to listen to our consciences. This is the awareness of the implications of one’s conduct both morally and ethically. Conscience has the ability to prefer the right from the wrong. My character will determine my ability to follow, my conscience. It’s important to know that nobody is born with the character. Character is developed through training and life experiences. The development of our characters depends on the mentors, family and other people we interacted with during our life (Kahaner, 2003). This determines our morals. If my morals are not good, I will make a decision to inflate the account and take advantage of the corporation. The morals instilled on the employee will determine the action taken but not the corporate culture (Howard & Korver, 2008).
Making unethical decisions can occur if one follows the corporate culture without looking at the morals. This is due to fact that if the corporate culture is wrong, the employee will make unethical decision. The corporate culture can be affected by many valuables such as interpretations and the environment. The actions taken against those who go against the corporate culture can also determine its effectiveness. If the repercussions are lenient, the employees may not observe the code of conduct fully but if the consequences are strict, the code will be followed fully. Acting according to the environment one is in or according to the culture of the corporate may lead to collapse of morals. Following the corporate culture without assessing our morals may lead to making the wrong decision. The ethical behaviors which are practiced by the organizations are from the workers acting from their morals (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2005). The culture of the organization should not be used to when it conflict with morals.
Using the organization culture implies following what the authority have set to be followed. The decision made by an employee who is following the organization culture is based on avoiding the repercussions of disobeying the order. In this case, the authority in the organization is the one involved in asking me to inflate the expense account. If I act according to the corporate culture, I might find myself accepting his advice (Trevino, Hartman & Brown, 2000). This is due to fact that he has also disobeyed the ethics code of the organization. As an employee, I have to look beyond the organization culture and do according to my morals. This involves acting without depending on what others will think of me. This is through following my principles and acting. Principled individuals are hard to be influenced by the decisions of others. The organization code of conduct can be misinterpreted but the morals always stand out during ethical dilemmas (Bowie & Werhane, 2005).
In conclusion, morals are what determine the decisions that are made in ethical dilemmas. This is due to fact that morals define who we are. I cannot inflate my expense account irrespective of the authority that is pressuring me to do so. The organization culture can be misinterpreted but the morals of a person cannot be changed. The decision that I take is influenced by understanding the implications that inflating my expense account can have to me and the firm. I can lose my job and face legal actions. There are also moral consequences that I have to face by making the wrong decision. It’s important to understand that we carry the consequences alone. The authority that may be pressuring to inflate the expense account cannot help when the consequences are dire. The organization should ensure they have an environment where the workers develop good morals. This will ensure that they are capable of making good decisions during ethical dilemmas. Facing ethical dilemmas helps us to develop our morals through our actions. The actions that we take should always be centered in taking care of everyone interests as well as organization.
Bowie, N & Werhane, P 2005, Management ethics, Malden, MA, Blackwell Pub.
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J & Ferrell, L 2005, Business ethics: ethical decision making and
Cases, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co.
Howard, R & Korver, C 2008, Ethics for the real world: creating a personal code to
guide decisions in work and life, Boston, Mass, Harvard Business Press.
Kahaner, L 2003, Values, prosperity and the Talmud. Business lessons from the ancient rabbis,
New York, Wiley.
Maxwell, J. C 2003, There’s no such thing as business ethics: there’s only one rule for making
Decisions, New York, Warner Books.
McLaren, D 2002, Corporate Engagement by ‘Socially Responsible’ Investors: a practical
paradigm for stakeholder governance? UK, Ashridge.
More, E & Webley, S 2003, Does Business Ethics Pay? London, Institute of Business Ethics.
Roth, J 2005, Ethics. Pasadena, Calif, Salem Press.
Trevino, L. K., Hartman, L. P & Brown, M 2000, ‘Moral person and moral manager: How
executives develop a reputation for ethical leadership,’ California Management Review, Vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 128-142.
Vardalis, J 2010, Issues and cases in law enforcement decisions, ethics and judgment,
Springfield, Charles C Thomas Publisher.
More Important Things