Dynamics of Ethics In every professional field there is ethical decision making. Ethics in business is essentially the study of what constitutes the right and wrong or the good and bad behavior in the workplace environment. A business is an organization of people that work together to achieve a common purpose. The moral challenges that these men and women face each day along with a whole range of problems that could occur, are why ethics plays such an important role in business. In today’s society, understanding and practicing the concepts of ethics is a key factor that many organizations stress among their employees.
In order for organizations and businesses to survive in such a competitive and changing environment, managers and supervisors must develop strong ethical standards that can be implemented throughout the company (Lussier, 1997). Ethics is very important in a workplace because all of the work done has to be honest and factual. A company relies on its employees to provide it with factual information so that work can be done correctly as well as timely. The manner in which an employee conducts his or herself in the workplace is ultimately reflective of how a company is perceived.
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If an employee does not conduct themselves in an ethical manner the company can be greatly affected. But what if it is the company that is not conducting themselves in an ethical manner? Can not the employees be greatly affected? This paper will discuss a current ethical issue that deals with a change in midstream of expectations and ground rules. I work for a corporation that fosters children in a group home setting. The corporation is owned by an individual who paints a pretty picture of what her business offers to the employees that work for her who demonstrate dedication and good work ethics.
Professional ethics are the principles and standards that define one’s responsibilities and conduct in a particular field (Shaw & Vincent, 1995). Upon my initial interview with the owner of the corporation I was asked several questions regarding my skills and abilities pertaining to the position and the job description. I was questioned about my education, training, and experience. I was also given several scenarios and asked to answer them and then was asked to explain the reasoning behind why I chose each particular answer.
When I finally completed this extensive series of questioning, she (the owner) told me that she asked me all of these questions because she wanted to see what kind of personal and professional ethics that I possessed and how I would apply them in the workplace. She continued by explaining how important good ethics are to her and how she rewards her exemplary employees with bonuses. Furthermore, she said that after an employee has worked full-time for her for one year she would pay them time and a half for holidays, give them paid vacations, and they would be eligible to be on her corporate insurance plan.
I bought all of this, hook-line-and-sinker, and joined the team. I have been a dedicated employee for this corporation for over two years and have consistently displayed great work ethics. I worked hard as I looked forward to receiving these promised benefits, because God knows I can definitely use everyone of them, as can the other employees that I work with. After the first year I received a raise, two bonuses, and a week’s paid vacation. This was awesome, especially since I am a single mom who does not receive any support and struggles to make ends meet.
I actually was able to give my children a nice Christmas and take them on a vacation for the first time in years. However, this year does not look so promising; the owner has sent out a memo that she is no longer going to: give out bonuses, pay time and a half on the holidays, give raises or paid vacations, and she may be cancelling the corporate insurance plan. As most people are aware of, California is in an economic crisis. This is the worst state budget crisis that we have seen in years (Omoto, 2008). As a result, Kern County is feeling the pinch just as hard.
There are several people being affected by the cut-backs. Many state and local employees are either being laid off or terminated, some programs and services are being eliminated totally; there just is not enough adequate funding. My employer claims that she is being directly affected by the budget crisis as well because she is funded by the county, which is funded by the state. She says that since she has to take a cut that she has to make the necessary cut-backs within her company in order to stay in business.
She apologized for the hardship that this may bring to our families and ourselves, but said that she just cannot afford to give us these “extra benefits” right now and asked us to please hang in there. This is quite understandable, in one way or another, everyone is feeling the crunch. She has promised that as soon as the situation, or crisis, is resolved and the economy stabilizes, that she will not only give us our holiday and vacation pay back but give bonuses to the employees that remain faithful to her and wait it out. In the future, she says that she will plan for situations like this and be better prepared.
I am a very understanding person. I know that the budget crisis is putting a financial damper on the majority of people in our state. Almost everywhere you look you can see someone that is being affected. I guess that I am just going to have to deal with the cut-backs that my employer has made within the company. Fortunately, I have saved some money so that my children will not see the difference this Christmas and even though paid vacations are really nice, I will live without one. However, if an emergency arises and I need to take time off I will not have any paid vacation days I could use.
The problem I have, however, is that my employer is actually not being affected by the budget cut. She is still receiving the same amount of money that she was last year at this time when those employees who had earned it were receiving bonuses, holiday pay, and paid vacation. She is just using this crisis to benefit herself. What happened to the personal and professional ethics she spoke so highly about when she was interviewing me for the job? Does she not know that the more an organization is dedicated to taking care of the employees, the more employees will take care of the organization (Shaw & Vincent, 1995)?
She was unaware that I knew about this information and when I confronted her with it she denied that it was true. So, I guess I can either adjust or adjourn. It is what it is, but it really is a shame that someone who preaches about ethics and integrity cannot practice it. References Lussier, R. N. (1997). Management. Cincinnati, OH: South-Western College Publishing. Omoto, M. D. (2008, August 10). California budget crisis. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from www. latimes. com Shaw, W. H. , & Vincent, B. (1995). Moral issues in business. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.