Business – Ethics in Observation Scenarios
- Would you hit print, make about 80 copies, and put them in everyone’s mailboxes, or even just leave them stacked in a couple of convenient locations? That would get the information out and right into the gossip chains pretty quickly. But is this ethical? On the other hand, if you don’t send out the information, is it ethical to let other workers go about their days with inaccurate assumptions about pay practices at the firm? By quitting and not sharing the information, did this worker commit and ethics issue?
Ethics has mostly been about making the right and moral decisions. And most, if not all of the time, fair decisions are considered the right decisions. In the first case, the worker decided to quit because he just could not take the depression brought about by the alleged inequity that had been going on in his previous host firm. He had two options, he could have spread the confidential information from the leftover document in the photocopying machine, or just like what he did, he could have just left the company and looked for somewhere else where his talents and love for his job could be equally valued by the hosting firm—that is, without resorting to spreading the confidential information. As always, there can be two sides of the story.
The employer takes the first side while the employee who accidentally discovered the confidential pieces of information takes the second. Now, based on the assumption that ethics is most of the time revolves around what is fair, then that means we have to look into the perspectives of both sides. From the employer’s point of view, as far as the firm’s constitution is concerned, every firm generally reserves the right to keep confidential information such as staff compensation, designated working hours, assignments, decking, and compensation from their employees. These are classified information that may only be accessible by an individual employee and his employer and not accessible by other employees. And so based on this premise, it can be inferred that the employee who quit only did the right decision of not spreading the confidential information because once again, they were not meant to be disclosed to anyone, not even to him. From the employee’s perspective on the other hand, it is only normal to feel disappointed, frustrated, and much unvalued after seeing those kind of information. But then again, an employment contract is something that is discussed between an employee and his employer and the latter is bound to acknowledge the fact that salaries may vary from employee to employee and so it would be best not to make comparisons between the degree and method how he is compensated relative to the rest. Provided that he only has two courses of action to take, both of which were mentioned in the case question, then his decision to leave the company and try to work somewhere else is indeed the better and more ethical one .
- What are the ethics of coming to work sick and sharing our illnesses with others? And from the management side of things, what are the ethics of not providing benefits sufficient to allow employees to stay home from work when they are not feeling well?
The question whether a person should go to work if she is sick or feels sick is not really a question but rather an obligation, at least when we base it on the policies that most companies have with regards to the provision of enough benefits and work leave for valid reasons—sickness, especially the communicable ones being one of such . According to the same source (Weinstein), there can be varying levels of sickness. Going to work with minor illnesses such as simple flu and intermittent fever may be acceptable at some point but going to work in a counter-productive and work-restrictive state would be an entirely different story. The key in considering ethical responsibilities towards one’s self and others’ with regards to the issue of going to work sick is to check the body and its state first. If the person thinks that he is strong enough not to be a burden to others at work and to handle his normal occupational tasks, then that would be ok. Otherwise, we can expect everything to be not only chaotic but also counter-productive. Considering this, the management is not really that obliged to provide separate or additional sick leaves for their employees who frequently report of having simple flus, at least based on the current economic norms, but they do have the option to do so. Nonetheless, we still cannot call the absence of additional sick days for simple flus an unethical act or decision. There is nothing wrong about going to work while being in a sick state as long as the sick person would not be a burden to the entire firm or to anyone. Productivity is king in companies and so instead of going to work being too sick, it would be a lot better to go to the hospital, recover, and then go back to work again, with a strong feeling of restoration and drive.
Ethics is basically a type or branch of philosophy that deals with morality and what makes discussing ethics quite conflicting or confusing is the fact that morality is relative and so people may have different perceptions of what is moral from what is not. In the case of social loafing, free-riding or whatever it is called, I personally do not see anything wrong with John’s decision to accept the additional responsibility being offered by his boss despite knowing that he is nearing his work limits. It was not really mentioned whether the boss already knows that John already has a lot in his plate but considering that he is the boss and part of a boss’ responsibility is to monitor and assign tasks to his employees, chances are John’s boss intentionally checked what John, his employee’s decision regarding the offer would be. Perhaps the offer was meant to be a test set by the boss to see how committed, dedicated John is towards the job and how willing he is to sacrifice for it. There are a lot of ways how one can look into John’s situation. Thus it cannot be that simple to rule whether what John did was ethical or not. But more or less, there is nothing unethical that John did when he accepted his boss’ offer despite his present dilemmas. He did not step into nor used other people to go higher up in the career ladder.
Declining the job is not an option because it can really be rare even for senior employees to turn down their big-time boss’ offers because such offers can be great windows of opportunities .
Chidambaram, L. and L. Tung. "Is out of sight, out of mind? An Empirical Study of Social Loafing in Techology-Supported Groups." Information Systems Research (2005): 149-168.
Krumm, D. "Psychology at work: an introduction to industrial or organizational psychology." Macmillan (2000): 178.
Weinstein, B. "Should you go to work when you're sick?" BusinessWeek: Companies and Industries (2008).