Ethics & Organizational Statement5
Areas of Focus.6
Ethics vs. Compliance...7
Personal to Handle Ethics.8
Ethics Resolution Steps.9
Three Poignant Issues..10
There was one bible verse cited in the lectures and associated PowerPoints that the author of this response would start by focusing on. As one might expect, Matthew 18:15-17 would be a guiding force in these frameworks and activities. The verses point to the idea of identifying fault and coaching the people involved on what was done wrong. Further, the verses explain that people who cannot or will not comply should be dismissed as unhelpful and antithetical to the mission at hand (The Holy Bible, 1989). When it comes to business and the proper practice thereof, the author of this report’s worldview is one of Christianity but with the understanding that there are many people in this and other countries that do not ascribe to Christianity, presuming that they ascribe to any religion at all. With that in mind, the author of this report has taken on a “live and let live” approach to religion and living one’s daily life. The author expects the freedom to live one’s own life when not in a workplace setting and expects the tolerance (but not acceptance) of others when it comes to this. At the same time, other people can and should be able to practice their own life as they see fit provided they operate within the law and the required norms of society. Other worldviews that can potentially conflict with the author of this report would be people of Eastern religions or people that are agnostic or atheist. Eastern religions are very different in form and function than more Western religions like Christianity. Of course, people that are agnostic or atheist do not believe in a God or refuse to make any firm assertion whether one exists. Even with these disparities, it is entirely possible for these disparate religions groups and the people that follow them to live side by side in a peaceful fashion (Hambler, 2016).
The key is to recognize that everyone has the right to believe as they wish and no one else has the right to infringe upon the rights to those believes or get indignant or even nasty just because someone else believes something else. For example, it may confuse or vex someone that a man could be atheist. That is a fair thing because some people can come to that conclusion. What is not acceptable is to be incendiary or even mean to people that believe in no god. This is especially true in a business setting where the religion (or lack thereof) of the workers at the firm is generally not relevant to the work being completed. After all, if a church is needing a service or good from a business, it is unlikely (although not impossible) that either party will give much of a resistance to working with each other or querying what each other believes as it is not necessary to effect the transaction. There are some people that focus on such details but those people are generally intolerant or are at least making things more complicated than they need to be. Indeed, people should worry about themselves and their ethical or moral performance and life rather than unnecessarily focusing on the same thing when it comes to others (Hambler, 2016).
Ethical & Organizational Statement
With the above said and established, the ethical and organizational statement that shall be rendered for the organization that the author of this report is focusing on is that politics and religion mostly be left at the door. Infusing religion and politics into the daily operations or the organization is mostly unnecessary and can easily lead to acrimony, arguments and other negative events that are just not necessary or wise to allow to foster. For example, if a Christian woman wants to wear a non-descript cross around her neck, that is perfectly fine. However, if that same woman was to affix Bible verses to her email signature without company approval (and that approval would not be forthcoming, by the way), that would not be acceptable. If an atheist is in the minority when it comes to not believing in the Christian God, that person will have a right to expect that they will not be bullied or harassed by Christians at the office for having those beliefs. At the same time, that atheist would be expected to not engage in mockery or condescension when it comes to describing Christians and what they believe, even if those feelings are genuine. Again, people are entitled to think and believe what they wish. However, if it unnecessarily causes issues at work, the person creating the situation will most likely be the one that gets put in place (Hambler, 2016).
Area of Focus
The one area that is getting a lot of attention and that would also be the most likely to create problems in any modern workplace would be the attention that the LGBT community is getting as it pertains to equal rights and things marriage, workplace discrimination and equality and so forth. As one might expect, the author of this report would keep with the principles and general guidelines mentioned above. If someone is born as a man but lives as a woman (or vice versa), that does not impact their ability to do a job and do it well. The same thing would apply to someone that is gay or bisexual. Those people should get the same opportunity to get and retain jobs with the firm and they should be extended all of the same health and other benefits that heterosexual couples are extended. The reason this could be a major issue despite the best efforts of the organization is two-fold. First, a majority of the country is Christian and many of those Christians are apt to quote the Bible verses about homosexuality being a “sin” or an abomination. Second, there has been a lot of hullabaloo about the bathrooms that LGBT people should be using, trans-genders and transvestites in particular (Rudin et al, 2016).
The first can be diffused by making it clear during the hiring process and thereafter that there will be equal opportunity for all and this includes people in the LGBT community. It will further be said that anyone engaging in discrimination or bullying based on LGBT status will be punished or fired for such behavior and it will not be allowed to exist or occur in the organization. People will be encouraged to report bullying and other malfeasance that they are subject to or that they witness. As for the bathroom thing, there is a fairly easy way to diffuse that potential issue and would be to have a sufficient number of bathrooms that are single-use and unisex. Meaning, rather than having a mass restroom for each traditional gender, there will be a sufficient number of single-person bathrooms that anyone can use if they are not occupied. This removes the issue of people having problems with trans-genders needing to choose the bathroom of their gender and thus potentially creating an issue. It’s sad that it would come to going so far but it’s a clean way to prevent problems from coming up (Rudin et al, 2016).
Ethics vs. Compliance
As for the differences that exist between ethics and compliance, there is one primary way to look at it that will suffice for most situations. Of course, compliance is about following the law. This would include simple things such as coming to a full stop at stop signs and not stealing from other people. Ethics is similar but has a much wider scope. To use a societal example, adultery or otherwise being unfaithful to one’s partner or spouse is not illegal under any modern or enforced law but many people agree with the concept of it not being a good or acceptable thing for people to do because of the feelings it hurts and the families it can break up, just to name two problems that can arise (Edlind & Edmond, 2015).
Person to Handle Ethics
As for who could and should handle the ethics of the organization of the author of this report, there would be a dedicated person that would handle the ethical practices of the organization at a high level. If costs demand it, this position may be conflated with the legal and/or HR compliance leader of the organization. However, the person in charge of ethics should not be wearing too many hats and they should not be wearing hats for job titles that are not related such as accounting, customer service and so forth. The person who would lead the ethics would most certainly have a seat of power in the organization right along with the standard executives and the executives of finance, human resources and operations. As noted before, people that encounter discrimination or that believe bad ethics are being practice will be encouraged to report such concerns, whether it be in person, via email or anonymously. Each item or event that is reported will be investigated and pondered vigorously if there is not already a defined and proper action in place. If something needs to be addressed in terms of policy, procedure or the actions of an employee, it will be addressed fully, immediately and in a way that does everything to prevent further recurrence of the problem or concern, so as to protect the organization as cited in 1st Corinthians 5: 1-5. Indeed, if there is a person or problem that is a threat to the organization, it must be discovered and discarded so that there is not a recurrence (The Holy Bible, 1989). For example, if someone adds a Bible verse to their email signature, to use an example cited earlier, that person will be told flatly to remove it. The ethics and compliance officers could go a step further and, rather than announce a crackdown on religious people, announce that email signatures will follow a standard format and that nobody in the firm shall be immune from that standard. That way, religion or other matters don’t have to be cited when people are informed of their non-compliance with the rules. It is literally two birds with one stone, to use the old saying (“Transgendered Bathrooms”, 2016).
Ethics Resolution Steps
As far as the steps for solving ethical issues, that does not need to be too complicated. First, there needs to be a full review of the risks, rewards and issues at hand when it comes to an ethical situation. One can look to the transgender bathroom issue mentioned earlier. There are basically three solutions to that problem. The first is to allow people to use the bathrooms that match the gender they feel they are irrespective of their biological gender, which may or may not be the same. The second is to require that people use the bathroom of their biological gender irrespective of whether they live as a man or a woman. The third option, and the option mentioned above, is to use “family” restrooms that can be used by single persons of any gender and this could include people that need to change a baby’s diaper or something like that. Using the biological option could (and should) be viewed as being discriminatory towards transgender people. Mandating people be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they feel they are would be the non-discriminatory option but this would potentially (probably??) rankle people that have a dim view of transgender or LGBT people in general. Regardless, the unisex bathroom solution is the cleanest and easiest way to address the bathroom needs of anyone without anyone being denied the bathroom or their choice or their beliefs even if some of the beliefs in question are bigoted and/or nonsensical. In short, the situation should be assessed, the solutions available should be reviewed and the best overall solution should be chosen (Rudin et al, 2016).
Three Poignant Issues
A second ethical issue that is omnipresent in the present day is separation between personal ethics and business ethics. Many people conflate the two and suggest that one cannot be separated from the other. However, this is a simplistic view because demanding no separation between the two leads to problems. The marriage license episode with Kim Davis after the recent landmark Supreme Court ruling about gay marriage is a perfect example. While private organizations tend to get a lot more leeway when it comes to religious beliefs permeating the daily business of a firm, the same cannot be said of the public sector. Kim Davis ran afoul of the law as she refused to issue any marriage licenses on the grounds that doing so to gay couples would violate her personal beliefs. What Davis could not or would not accept is that she does not have the right to impose her beliefs on others and this goes double when works for a public organization that is regulated and controlled by the laws of the land. Of course, federal law is paramount so even if the county or state laws in her area (Kentucky) said otherwise, nobody in the area had the right to say that another standard could or should be enforced (Jones, 2015).
The final ethical issue that will be discussed is the idea that “profit” is a dirty word. Of course, that is sophistry and is simply not true. Even with that being the case, it is entirely possible for firms to exploit and take advantage of a situation. For example, a gas station doubling the price of gas when people are filling up to leave an area about to get by a hurricane is obviously not doing the right thing. Just because they could get that price (they would) does not mean that they should jack the price up. At the same time, some people suggest that there is a point where people get “enough” profit. This is equally silly, at least most of the time, because profit is how firms expand, do research and so forth. Beyond that, the owners and stockholders of a company have the right to get a return on investment. The key is to strike the proper balance. Each time an ethical question or quandary comes up, it should be assessed and looked at completely and honestly. The best path forward should then be selected and executed. It should also be recognized that there are extremists that will disagree no matter what action is taken unless their extreme view is the chosen path (Vranceanu, 2014). When it comes to the reporting and revelation about ethical concerns, the people of the firm (or those that are concerned about the same, even if they are outside of it) should use whatever reporting method they see as proper or comfortable to them. If they want to approach an executive or the ethics officer in person, they should do that. If they want to send an email, they can do that. Alternatively, they can send an anonymous note and explain their concerns. Regardless, all claims should be investigated and taken seriously (VanMeter, Grisaffe, Chonko & Roberts, 2013).
As far as ongoing ethics development, this becomes necessary because the legal, ethical, social and cultural landscape of the country and the company is ever-changing. Just a scant ten or twenty years ago, social media as we know it now did not exist but things have greatly changed since then. As such, people need to look at the new paradigm based on the technological and cultural implications that exist and take the best approach to address the entire situation fairly and completely. Ethics does not change with every day but it is ever-changing. Thus, a methodical and ongoing approach is necessary.
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