Ethics in the Workplace
Essay title: Ethics in the Workplace
Ethics in the Workplace
Walking into work one morning one notices a 100 dollar bill on the floor outside the office of the most disliked manager at work. The thought passes through the mind that no one likes him and he makes enough money he will not miss the bill. As you go to pick up the crisp new bill you look over at the low paid secretary and think maybe she dropped the bill after cashing her check. Would you pick it up and walk away or would you turn it into the proper officials? Are you asking yourself, who cares? Why is this question so important? The way this employee handles this situation shows how he uses the process of ethical reasoning and how he applies his values. The way an employee acts, functions or behaves, directly influences the success of a company.
Websters defines ethics as “a set of moral principles or values, the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group and a guiding philosophy”. Why would companies want to employ individuals with good moral principles or values? Will having employees with positive principles of conduct or values put companies in the position to achieve their goals and be successful? Most companys strive goals are, achieving their profit goals, having a good reputation in the marketplace or community and to provide strong leadership and a good working environment for their employees.
The first reason that ethical behavior is important in the workplace today is by employing workers who possess positive ethical behaviors or skills, the company can achieve greater productivity and profits. As stated in the Miniature Guide to Ethical Reasoning, by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder, 2003, “values such as honesty, integrity and a deep concern for the well being of others are tendencies that can be actively combated through cultivation.” When the leadership in a company cultivates strong ethical behavior, they instill those values in their employees. In the following example, the manager does not exhibit positive ethical behaviors needed to help her company achieve its profit goals. She is not honest, has no integrity, nor does she have concern for her other employees.
Several years back I worked for a consumer products company in Miami. While working in the marketing department I was in charge of the new campaigns and I became proficient with Photoshop and Illustrator. My boss understood how good I was with the software and would tell me to make up fictitious expense receipts, taxi receipts, et cetera. I was under a great deal of pressure to give her these items and felt that if I did not my career would not go so smoothly at this company. I ended up leaving this company. Before I left however, I informed the division director of the mishandling that was going on in our department. I know today that nothing happened to my boss, as she still manages that very same department as we speak.
In this example, this manager is not setting a good example for the employees. By asking another employee to falsify records of receipts, the manager was asking that employee to alter his values to help her steal from the company. If you have people who steal, cheat the company or use company tools or supplies, those acts take away from the companys profit. What belongs at work stays at work. In the article, The Practical Horseman, by Mayes D Mathews, 2005, being a good steward of company resources is part of their companys code of ethics. The article states that “all employees should resist the temptation to manipulate an expense account. Do nothing you cannot justify as beneficial to your employer or business.” The employee in this situation is the one who has proven that he has ethical values and has put the companys best interest ahead of his own. This company is not using a foundation of ethics, which is clear by the fact that the manager is still employed.
The second reason that ethical behavior is important in the workplace is because companies want to have a good reputation in the eyes of their customers. In the article,
Refocusing on Ethics in Corporate America, from the Boston Globe, 2005, a chief executive from Office Depot was interviewed. The interview discusses scandal in corporate America. The executive discussed ways that corporations are fighting back when scandals occur. One way he is fighting back is by establishing an Institute for Corporate Ethics. They “do research and work in concert to train business students and executives on corporate ethics issues.” Companies like Office Depot and Staples are always facing issues with the environment and with the out-sourcing of work. These are both issues that can harm a companys reputation if not handled correctly. The executive found that it “is better to describe the way we want to interact, what we