Management Ethics Essay Example

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Management ethics

Section A

According to the utilitarian theory, an act is ethical if it realizes the greatest good for a large population. Utilitarianism requires the identification of the root causes of problems that are bound to occur, the courses of action and the impact of these actions on each affected party. This theory assesses the desirability of each of the actions and performs an overall assessment of the utmost good for the majority of individuals. The assessment of whether a conduct is right depends on the consequences of the code on everyone else. The concept of utilitarianism rests on the concept of the end justifying the means, but this is logically equivalent to the notion that one should engage in projects in which the benefits exceed the costs. Thus, the effect of the code of ethics is universalistic and not egoistic. Accordingly, any rule, which promotes the happiness for the majority of individuals, is the right rule to follow and as such that the rule is of value to the involved individuals.

On the other hand, deontology focuses on moral obligation, rights, and duties, and examines the individuals act itself, not merely the outcome of the act. It provides that ethics is concerned with what these duties are, how individuals find out what they are and why such individuals must obey the rules. Kant’s argument is that the highest quality results from the good will and acting from good will is similar to acting from duty, not just to conforming to duty. Thus, it is the intent behind an act rather than its outcome that make such an action good. Therefore, for the code of professional conduct to be effective it must be made consistently universal, respect rational individuals as ends in themselves and respect the autonomy of rational beings. Similarly, an action is morally right for an individual if, and only if, the individual’s reason for carrying out the act is the reason that the individual would be prepared to have every other individual act on it in a similar situation.

Ethical rights theory provides that a right is something that an individual is entitled to if they want it. This implies that the individual’s right to something puts others under a duty to treat the individual in a manner that the right can be satisfied. These rights involve both negative and positive rights. In this view, negative rights involve the right of freedom from interference from others or to be left alone while positive rights involve the right to be provided with something or have an act done for a person. These rights arise from the basic right to freedom where individuals have the liberty to make choices and act on these choices. These are based on universal ethical principles or acts believed to be legitimate in themselves or important for human beings to live prosperous lifes. The ethical theory in this case helps in explaining the expectations that society has of a profession, how individuals can act morally while protecting what is legally theirs as well as undertaking what is best for others. Thus, the effectiveness of professional code of conduct relies on the good of the rules and the liberty of every individual to make choices and act on them.

The Rawlsian principle of justice provides that inequalities are unavoidable but can be justified and minimized with principles discoverable in the original position where individuals make decisions behind a veil of ignorance. The liberty principle advocates that every person should have an identical right to as many basic liberties as available and still permit a similar system of rights for all. That implies that everyone should have as much liberty to live and seek opportunity without infringing the liberty and interests of others. Additionally the difference principle necessitates that social and economic disparities are arranged in a manner that they benefit the least advantaged. In essence, this signifies the acceptance with the differences in wealth and social position notwithstanding as long as these differences can be shown to benefit all individuals and, in particular, those with the least advantages. This requirement of the principle is that systems should allow all individuals to have access to services and positions under the circumstances of just equality of opportunity found on both merit and need. It is imperative; therefore, that professional code of conduct is founded on the idea of a set of duties that an individual owes to both oneself and others. Thus, this code of conduct includes promise keeping, the duties of justice, helping others and avoiding harm to others as well as supporting the principles of respect for persons, fidelity, non-maleficence, and beneficence. These principles, therefore, give the code of professional conduct the desired value for conformity.

The Australian Human Resources Institute Code of ethics & professional conduct provides an effective approach to maintaining a professional code of conduct within the institution. This code provides for the key elements required for adherence to such code as it conforms to the requirements of professional ethics. However, the provisions of the code do not reflect all the values necessary for ensuring its desired effectiveness. The code ensures that the good of all individuals are met and access the desirability of these actions of the involved individuals with an aim of satisfying the greatest good of all parties. However, the code does not provide for the primary good of the client according to the utilitarian approach that provides the end justify the means and as such put the interest of the customer as the main objective of the rules. Moreover, the code does not recognize the differences among the individuals involved in view of the Rawlsian principle of justice. This principle identifies differences in wealth and social position and advocates for this recognition in order to facilitate equality based on need or merit. Without the recognition of these principles, it becomes difficult to assess the needs or prioritize such needs on merit and the code, therefore, must provide for this.

Section B

The ethical dilemma facing Rebecca is whether to blow the whistle on the improper activities of the company or keep quiet about these activities. The position of those within the company clearly indicates that such matters are not her concern, and as such, she should leave the issue for the appropriate individuals. Although she feels disturbed by these actions, she of the view that the company usually operates within the required standards and the disposed waste is not particularly substantial. The dilemma is further augmented by the view that blowing the whistle may affect her work relations with the company and subsequently lead to the loss of the job altogether. In consideration of these facts, the choice of the decision on whether to blow the whistle or not has consequences but the weight of such consequences rely on the decision; therefore, it becomes necessary to weigh the necessity of blowing the whistle on the company. The premise of her dilemma lies in the facts that failing to blow the whistle results in immorality while, on the other hand, blowing the whistle creates doubt on the loyalty of the whistleblower to the employer.

According to De George, an individual either is permitted to blow the whistle due to moral authority or is under the liability to do so as a matter of moral duty. Accordingly, an individual is permitted to blow the whistle if the harm resulting from the act of the company is serious and considerable harm to the public will result. Such an individual must have made such concerns known to the people concerned or those in authority before blowing the whistle. The individual intending to blow the whistle must have received no satisfactory feedback on the issue from the concerned individuals or those in authority and has exhausted all the available channels within the company, which includes going to the board of directors. Moreover, mandatory whistle blowing arises when the individual possesses documented evidence sufficient to convince a rational and impartial observer that the individuals concern for public safety is accurate, and the company’s activities are likely to result in serious and substantial harm to the public. This is also true when there is solid evidence that providing information to the public will prevent the threatened serious harm occurring or continuing. The argument here is that morally justifiable whistle blowing is easy safe and effective.

Nevertheless, James criticizes these guidelines and argues that De George is too lenient on the guidelines for whistle blowing. In the perspective of James, an individual is under the moral obligation to blow the whistle on meeting the first three conditions. According to him, the degree of the responsibility depends on the extent to which the person is capable of anticipating the severity and the consequences of the wrongful acts. James doubts that De George’s model provides no guidelines when individuals are confronted with cases involving violations of privacy, sexual harassment, and industrial espionage and further takes issue with the definition of harm according to De George. It is imperative that although James criticizes De George’s guidelines he does not negate these guidelines and only queries its effectiveness.

In view of De George’s criteria for whistler blowing, Rebecca should blow the whistle on Avco to the local newspaper. This is because the actions of the company in the disposal of the waste will pose negative consequences to the public. This is further supported by the fact that Rebecca has made the concerns known to the appropriate individuals and that these individuals have taken no action to solve the issue. It is also beneficial to note that given the position it is proper to infer that the possible channels available on the issue have been sought and no further channels are available apart from whistle blowing. Furthermore, Rebecca has sufficient evidence that would convince an impartial party on the issue that her views on the harm caused by the disposal are correct sands these activities pose a serious harm to the public. It is also realistic to conclude that by blowing the whistle the company’s act of disposing the waste in the inappropriate manner will cease. In this regard, it is proper for Rebecca to blow the whistle on the company.

Section C

Ethical values are a set of established principles that govern virtuous behavior of individuals. These values help in ensuring that the individual or company maintains a respectable reputation and aims at promoting sound public relations. The core ethical values include responsibility, which involves accepting responsibility for the probable consequences of an individual’s actions, choices, goals, and reactions. This also involves demonstrating an active obligation to the well-being of others. Another value is honesty this involves conducting human interactions in a fair and open manner and includes telling the truth, being sincere, and acting in a way, which is constant with individuals, professed ideals and values. Fidelity is also an ethical value, and it includes being faithful to clients, allegiance to the public trust, loyalty to the employer, and loyalty to the profession.

Another core ethical value is respect and it means treating others with high regard and being tolerant of individual differences. This value incorporates the principles of dealing peacefully with insults, anger, and disagreements, acknowledging the inherent value in every individual, honoring the rights of others for autonomy and dignified treatment. Perseverance is also a core ethical value and involves the sustained pursuit of objectives in the face of adversity while demonstrating the willingness to work and persistence. Perseverance is striving towards excellence with reliability in spite of opposition.

In resolving ethical conflicts, the use of the principle of respect, dictates that we should treat others in a dignified manner and accord them the respect they expect in reciprocation. This value is paramount in resolving ethical conflicts as it gives rise to the golden rule, which dictates that an individual must do to others what he or she expects them to undo unto him or her. This rule demonstrates that in resolving conflicts and more so ethical conflicts it is necessary to consider the expectations of the parties involved in consideration of the issues at hand. The golden rule dictates that in order to be respected it is essential that the individual must respect others. This indicates that the actions of such an individual portray how others are going to act towards the individual. Thus respecting others will result in the individual being accorded the desired respect, which is an extremely indispensable element in resolving ethical conflicts as it allows the involved parties to engage in meaningful discussions on these issues. It is also noteworthy that respect is the key component in solving conflicts as it enables and facilitates the incorporation of the other values. Respect facilitates the inclusion of trust, autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence through the facilitation of dialogue.