Undeniably, ethics is the core pillar of any organization. Business organizations that do not observe business ethics are highly prone to collapse mainly due to poor performance. Ethics entails the principles by which organizations execute their functions. Appropriate professional skills, high level of integrity, prudence, and practical management are essential for the organization’s success (Gross, Negus, and Ceng, 2000). Business managers require a high level of commitment to help them create and foster a favorable business environment necessary to maintain prudence in conducts. Also, such an environment should promote ethics and discourage fraudulent activity. However, unscrupulous managers exist in some organizations despite the presence of ethics. These managers often misuse powers accorded to them by other stakeholders. They set their goals separate from those of organizations and direct their subordinates to work toward achieving them.
The assignment of separate tasks to employees tends to interfere with the smooth running of the company, and in most cases it results in poor performance. Most employees tend to work overtime so that they can meet the dual targets of the organization and their managers. According to Thirouxa and Krasemann (2012), managers should create a suitable environment that promotes good relationships with both employees and the workplace. When faced with conflicting interests in the workplace, most employees tend to fall into ethical dilemmas, which prompt them to make critical decisions. This essay will consider an employee confronted by ethical dilemma and discuss ways of dealing with such situations in workplaces.
Analysis of the problem
Interactions of employees in an organization enable them to obtain information regarding the proceeding of functions and management decisions made without their involvement. New employees only have basic information about that organization and they have limited opportunities to obtain detailed information. Some unscrupulous managers within organizations tend to misuse new employees and blackmail the old ones by threatening to dismiss them if they don’t work in consistence with dual vision (Callanan et al., 1999). Dual vision entails what the managers want to achieve and the goals of the organization’s stakeholders.
The presence of many objectives that employees must meet usually leads to conflicts of interests. The case of Brian Anderson represents a typical scenario in which decisions must be made with serious considerations. Being a newly employed staff, Brian is faced with an ethical dilemma and has to meet conflicting objectives set by the company and his manager. According to the company rules, Brian must maintain accurate records of time and work to assist the management in making policies. At the same time, he is expected to obey his manager, who must ensure that all costs are in line with the budget constraint. Therefore, Brian faces the challenge in deciding whether to observe the company's ethics strictly or to follow his manager’s directives.
Complex situations arise in workplaces in which the affected persons need to make critical decisions that will produce favorable outcomes. Most of these situations subject employees to mental conflicts because they involve violation of ethics. The results of these conflicts tend to favor one party while transgressing the other since they involve a refutation of ethical systems of an organization.
Facts of the ethical problem
The ethical codes entail set of principles and rules that govern the behavior of individuals in an organization. According to Gaudine and Thorne (2001), ethics dictates employees’ conducts and describes the expectations of the organization from them. Employees are expected to show compliance with all rules and regulations of the organization. They should conduct themselves according to the ethics of the company and seek clarity or legal solution to questions these ethics. Additionally, employees should avoid any situation that may lead to unethical activity and advise their fellow staff whenever they engage in actions that may be regarded as unethical.
Managers have the responsibility to ensure that the working of other staffs is in agreement with the ethics of the company. Therefore, they should protect, uphold, and maintain ethical standards (Robertson and Fadil, 1999). They should not facilitate the violation of ethics in pursuit of self-interests. Thus, Sarah ought to have guided Brian on how to perform efficiently by observing ethics. She should not engage in work theft and the imposition of threats to employees. Rather, she should lead exemplary by meeting the objectives of the company through fair deals.
Alternatives available to Brian
Given the situation, Brian has several alternatives to take. Firstly, the company rules require him to keep complete records of work done as well as the time he spends on each task. In contrast, his manager orders him not to record the time and work done after the normal working hours. If he chooses to follow company’s rules, then it would automatically imply a violation of his manager’s directives, and if he obeys the manager, he will violate company’s rules. The best alternative would be to follow company’s rules because both Brian and his manager are employees of the company, and if the company detects any fraudulent activity, everybody will be answerable including the manager.
Another alternative available to Brian is to work overtime and keep the record of work and time. According to the orders given to him by Sarah Reef, he should not keep overtime records or demand overtime payment. Working extra time would be in the Brian’s best interest. If he fails to record extra time and work, he will not be paid according to the company policy, because his manager’s goal is to optimize output within the given budget line. If he keeps overtime records, the company will detect budget imbalances during the internal audit and take appropriate measures
Ethical problems are inevitable in organizations with poor management. Employees often find themselves pursuing parallel objectives which lead to conflicts of interests. They have to make critical decisions which must hurt one of the parties for whom they work. Deciding to serve their managers entails a violation of company’s ethics, and following this condition, ethics would mean lack of cooperation. Therefore, employees should make sound decisions depending on the terms of employment. Additionally, managers should be honest and compliance with company’s policies to prevent the arising of ethical dilemmas.
Callanan, G. A., Rotenberry, P. F.; Perri, D. F.; &Oehlers, P. (1999). Contextual factors as moderators of the effect of employee ethical ideology on ethical decision-making. GadjahMada International Journal of Business, 13(2), 107–123. Available from http://jurnal.ugm.ac.id/gamaijb/article/view/5486
Gaudine, A., & Thorne, L. (2001).Emotion and ethical decision-making in organizations.Journal of Business Ethics, 31(2), 175–187. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.
Gross-Schaefer, A., Trigilio, J., Negus, J., &Ceng-Si Ro. (2000). Ethics education in the workplace: An effective tool to combat employee theft. Journal of Business Ethics, 26(2), 89–100
Robertson, C., & Fadil, P. A. (1999). Ethical decision making in multinational organizations: A culture-based model. Journal of Business Ethics, 19(4), 385–392.
Thiroux, J., &Krasemann, K. (2012).Ethics: Theory and practice.Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.