Example Assignment for Examining business Ethics


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Chapter 1: Executive Summary

Business ethics in an organization is to establish codes of conduct with the respected and positive attitude for employees. The Caux Round Table Principles, Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and United Nations Global Impact can be entirely used to explain and analysis the importance of business ethics in the workplace. The ethical problems including gender diversity, sexual harassment, age discrimination and racial discrimination, lack of communication and lack of corporate social responsibility would be discussed and analyzed in the academic essay.

Management Ethics

Chapter One: Executive Summary.................................................................................... 3

Chapter Two: Table of Contents....................................................................................... 4

Chapter Three: Introduction...........................................................................................5-6

Chapter Four: Literature Review ………………………………………………….….....7

4.1 The Three major global codes of ethics................................................................7 - 9

4.2 The discussion of business ethics.......................................................................9 - 10

4.3 The background analysis of business ethics…………………………………..10 - 11

Chapter Five: Discussion and Analysis Why Businesses fail to management Ethics in the workplace…………………………………………………………………………………12

5.1 Gender Diversity…...........................................................................................12 - 13

5.2 Sexual Harassment…........................................................................................14 - 15

5.3 Lack of Communication…………………………………………………………...15

5.4 Discrimination (Age and Racial Discrimination)……………………………..15 - 18

5.5 Lack of Corporate Social Responsibility……………………………………...18 - 22

Chapter Six: Conclusion and Recommendations......................................................23 - 26

Reference ......................................................................................................................27 - 29

Chapter 3: Introduction

The profession of business ethics has established a practical resource that is designed for leaders and managers. Business ethics in the workplace is about moral values for the workplace and ensuring behaviors are aligned with those values. Moreover, business ethics mainly concentrates on the moral standards as people apply to business policies, institutions and behavior. Business ethics identifies the three different kinds of issues which are systemic, corporate and individual. Firstly, systemic issue in business ethics are ethical questions raised about the economic, political and other social systems within the businesses operate. Secondly, corporate issues in business ethics are ethical questions raised about a particular company. Eventually, individual issues in business ethics are ethical questions raised about a particular individual or particular individuals within a company. Therefore, business ethics, in other words, is a form of applied ethics. It includes not only the analysis of moral norms and moral values, but also attempts to apply the conclusions of the analysis to that assortment of institutions, technologies, transactions, activities and pursuits. Business ethics is becoming more important in the workplace.

In reality, the concept of business ethics has come to mean various things to various people, but it is generally coming to know what it is right or wrong in the workplace. This is in regard to effects of products or services and in relationships with stakeholders. In many businesses, having ethics is frowned upon or thought of as a negative subject. That is the main reason why many businesses fail to management.

Chapter 4: Literature Review

4.1: The three major global codes of ethics

Many of organizations have shown the foresight to develop a global code of ethics that both of profit and non-profit organizations can use as a starting point to develop or revise the codes of ethics. Three of the major global codes of ethics are the Caux Round Table Principles, the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines for multinational enterprises and the United Nations Global Compact (Peter & Sarah, 2009).

Caux Round Table Principles:

The Caux Round Table is an international network of business leaders who are committed to promoting the concept of moral capitalism. It is through the Caux Round Talbe principles that businesses will be able to be socially responsible and promote sustainability of these ideals.

The Caux Round Talbe should have equipped the following principle:

Businesses need to respect the environment.

Businesses need to respect the global rules.

Businesses need to support multilateral trade.

Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises:

OECD guidelines are recommendations made by governments for multinational enterprises to adopt into their own codes of ethics. The goal of the OECD is to encourage multinational enterprises to make a positive contribution to the economic, environmental and social progress of countries around the world.

The OECD should have equipped the following principle:

Organizations need to develop and apply effective self-regulatory practices and management systems.

Organizations need to respect human rights of all those individuals impacted by the organization.

Organizations need to make all of the employees aware of all compliance and company policies that impact the behavior of the employees.

United Nations Global Impact:

The united nation global impact is categorized into three major areas including human rights, labor standards and the natural environment.

Human rights should have equipped the following principle:

Business need to support and respect global human rights.

Business need to make sure they are not associated with any human rights abuses.

Labor Standards should have equipped the following principle:

Businesses need to eliminate all forms of discrimination in the workplace.

Businesses need to eliminate all forms of forced and compulsory labor.

Environment should have equipped the following principle:

Businesses need to support a precautionary approach to global environmental challenges.

Businesses need to undertake all initiatives that promote a higher level of environmental responsibility.

4.2: The discussion of business ethics

This work highlights an affinity within academic business ethics to conceive of the process of moral judgment as closely tired to the prior validity and applicability of general moral principles. This is also true in business practice (Berenbeim and Kaplan, 2007). Different types of businesses and industry organizations have instituted codes and standards of conduct that appeal to the authority of moral principles as decision making guides for internal stakeholders.

The business ethics has been the domain of academics, philosophers and social critics. Consequently, the literature of business ethics is not connected with the practical needs of leaders and managers -- the people primarily responsible for managing ethics in the workplace. The major forms of business ethics literature include:

(A) Philosophical which essentially requires extensive orientation and analysis.

(B) Anthologies which require much time, review and integration.

(C) Case studies which require many of cases and much time to analyses.

4.3: The background analysis of business ethics

The majority of the company including international and local organizations starts to alert and concentrate on the importance of business ethics between managements and employees. One of the major challenges in business ethics is creating a safe environment where all employees or workers can raise their concerns about possible misconduct and wrongdoing. According to the authorized and official web-site of South China Morning Post, "Business ethics has been an essential but difficult subject to handle" (Online Reference: South China Morning Post) Many business organizations recognize the importance of business ethics but do not give it due attention. One the contrary, some organizations have simply provided the fundamental business ethic course which involves learning what is right or wrong and doing the right thing.

In the reality, some of the organizations have failed to manage the business ethics in the workplace. The major elements which affect the business failure mainly identified and divided into six different types of categories including gender diversity, sexual harassment, lack of communication, age discrimination, racial discrimination and lack of corporate social responsibility.

Firstly, the gender diversity obviously describes the prejudice on sex between male and female in the workplace. It would be happened a phenomenon that male should be able to work in aircraft maintenance industry than female. Secondly, sexual harassment of female employees at work would be the second priority elements to fail business ethics. Verbal or visual communication with sexual ideology is essentially prohibited in the workplace. Moreover, communication including formal or informal method would be generally established and identified. Thirdly, age and racial discrimination would have an unfair employment opportunity and condition for employees who are from different countries. Eventually, lack of corporate social responsibility involves businesses acting in accordance with social principles.

Chapter 5: Discussions and Analysis why businesses fail to management ethics in the workplace

5.1 - Gender Diversity:

The gender diversity obviously refers to lack of a good balance of both men and women in the work place. The majority of companies tend to be more partial towards one gender for specific positions. For instance, companies may prefer hiring either only men or more men than women in departments and division including "aircraft maintenance". Thus, the lack of diversity of having women would be generally happened in the work place. By doing the male principle in a work place, the company may not only miss out on qualified female candidates, it is not possible to fully grow into a vibrant and diverse entity with different views and perspectives which could normally do wonders to the marketing of services and products. Therefore, diversity can enhance the environment.

According to Antony's identification, "a style of apparently plain statement of truth without obvious personal bias is a masculine style because it goes along with the masculine ego and its desire for mastery (Antony, 1986, P.81)." Therefore, the masculine deeply involves the traditional workplace in Hong Kong including aircraft maintenance.

The workplace such as aircraft maintenance has generally had clear boundaries when it comes to gender. On the managerial grade, the majority of men are typically positioned in the leadership and higher paying job. On the contrary, many of women are hired for the subordinate positions. Thus, the gender diversity in the workplace is minimal. While the glass ceiling is still happened in the reality, there are some circumstances which are obviously a huge barrier for women's career path. Even while hiring, many companies prefer men to women employees though most often they don't divulge this attitude when they advertise for the job opening. This is mainly done of the pretext that the health care requirements and social responsibilities of a woman are different than a man. Therefore, this is often viewed as a hurdle against women performance at workplace.

Therefore, businesses need to be proactive and educated themselves to prevent age bias claims. There is no time like the present to evaluate current employment policies. Simple solution and action taken could include keeping abreast of all record, keeping requirements and reviewing business policies to ensure that they are neutral. Other solutions such as retaining payroll and keeping benefit plan records for terminated employees would be the way for the gender diversity.

5.2 - Sexual Harassment:

While the sexual harassment on female employees is prevalent in the workplace, it is either not report or ignored for female employees. The majority of female victims would keep quite due to fear of social ridicule and fear of losing the jobs. Sexual harassment is an expression of sexism that reflects and reinforces the unequal power that exists between men and women in our society. (Larkin, 1994) It is unwanted and unwelcome sexual behavior that interferes in workplace. While the negative comments on one's gender is among the more common forms of sexual harassment, it is essentially a problem that has many manifestations. Moreover, verbal sexual harassment should include the term of insults, racist comments and invasive questions.

According to the official web-site of equal opportunity commission, there are many of causes about sex discrimination, sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and disability discrimination in the workplace. One of the sexual harassment causes should be discussed and analyzed during the workplace between female and male. A female complainant who has worked in a security services company from April 2000 to March 2002. The female complainant has claimed that her male supervisor has sexually harassed her by touching her hands and staring at her breasts on several occasions during her employment period. Moreover, the male supervisor has harassed her body shape by verbal communication. The female complainant feels embarrassed and stressful during her employment period. Therefore, the sexual harassment definitely makes the workplace environment not harmonious.

5.3 - Lack of Communication:

Misunderstanding between management and employees is one of the common causes to fail the management ethics in the workplace. The term of lack of communication mainly adds to the confusion inside the organizations and is responsible for increased workplace pressure. Most of the employees in the workplace have had a poor internal communication as a source of pressure (EOA, 1997). Arguing with Sennett (1998), a flexible organization has only become possible because of new communication technology. An effective organization should reply on informal and formal bridging mechanisms which establish direct communication channel platform between managements and employees including electronic based communication and review meetings. (Bahrami, 1998)

5.4 - Discrimination:

Discrimination in a workplace is obviously seen and refers to any instance of treating someone in a less favorable manner on the basis of that person's characteristics all over the world. Although everyone has the equal opportunities and human rights, various forms of discriminatory behavior have persisted in a workplace including age discrimination and racial discrimination.

Age discrimination in a workplace:

Discrimination on the basis of age in the workplace becomes illegal with the passage of the age discrimination in employment act. Although this act regulates age discrimination in a number of employment decision including personnel selection, promotions and terminations, much of the attention and concern has been directed at performance evaluation decisions, perhaps due to the central role of this system in organizations. According to Gerald and Thomas's identification, "age discrimination will represent the most prominent area of equal employment opportunity litigation. (Gerald and Thomas, 1992, P.341)" Therefore, it is quite clear from the trends and projections that an organization or a company needs to develop a guideline of the role plays in organizational behavior.

Age discrimination in the workplace refers to discriminatory and harassment acts against workers or employees who are 40 years old and above. Age has investigated in the context of performance evaluation in a number of workplace, demonstrating a negative age performance rating relationship. While considerable research has been conducted on age and performance in organizations as noted, little progress has been made in explaining the processes and dynamics underlying the observed negative correlations. The biggest key factor influencing the age performance correlation is the type of performance measure used. For instance, when objective productivity indices are use, there is a pattern of increases in performance as age increased. Therefore, when the managerial supervisor ratings of performance are used, there is a tendency for ratings to be lower for older employees.

Racial discrimination in a workplace:

Racial discrimination in a workplace is an everyday experience of the ethnic minorities living all over the world. The minority of people who are low educated and skilled workers report lower wages and poorer working conditions on their ethnic background. A word of discrimination means unequal treatment. One of the most common elements discriminated against is the person ethnicity or the race. This is called racial discrimination.

In order to fully understand the different kinds of work related discrimination problem that is prevalent in work place. It is definitely helpful to identify the definition of racial discrimination. According to the United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of all form of Racial Discrimination, discrimination means "any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life."

Thus when the ethnic minorities do not enjoy human rights and freedom on an equal basis with the rest of society, they are discriminated against. It is important to note that discrimination which need not be intended.

5.5 - Lack of Corporate Social Responsibility:

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is social responsibility as applied to business. It involves businesses acting in accordance with social principles. The CSR could mainly come in the form of philanthropy and involves the appliance of business ethics in determining business policy. According to Peter & Sarah's identification, "Corporate social responsibility can be defined as the obligation companies have to develop and implement courses of action that aid in social issues that impact society. (Peter & Sarah, 2009, P.51)" The term of corporate social responsibility is used by corporations to signify several topics including legal responsibility, fiduciary duty, legitimacy and charitable contributions.

Base on the shareholder approach as the classical view on CSR, the corporate social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. The shareholder is the focal profit of the company and socially responsible activities which don't belong to the domain of organization. This approach can be interpreted as business enterprises being concerned with corporate social responsibility.

A company should have equipped a positive social awareness, environmental and economic impacts in the community where they do or open business trading in all over the world. Therefore, the corporate social responsibility is a way of doing business. Moreover, the corporate social responsibility is a useful instrument to help achieve its performance objectives defined in terms of profitability, return on investment or sales volume. For a business, different kinds of measurements are taken in consideration to classify a business as corporate social responsibility. Each kind of business tries to attempts and reaches the different goals.

The positive duty suggests that businesses in corporate social responsibility may be self-motivated to have a positive impact regardless of social pressures calling for social initiatives. When this positive duty is happened, the corporate social responsibility principles are a component of the firm's true identity, expressing values considered by organizational al central and enduring. On the contrary, the negative duty suggests that businesses in corporate social responsibility are compelled to adopt social responsibility initiatives in order to conform to stakeholder norms defining appropriate behavior. When this negative duty is happened, the self-motivation is replaced by corporate social responsibility initiatives that are a reaction to what is expected from stakeholders.

Therefore, the corporate social responsibility in a company should have to commit and do the following business instructions responsibly:

To provide a great work environment

To commit to health and wellness

To be respectful of community concerns

To treat each other with respect and dignity

To contribute positively to your communities and your environment

By doing the corporate social responsibility, McDonalds has slightly violated, adopted and operated the opposite conditions of corporate social responsibility in public. Being a socially responsible leader begins a process that involves more awareness on the issues that will make a difference. McDonalds is one of the fastest growing junk food industries and has known that the food including French fries, hamburgers and hash browns harms people. Moreover, the junk food has high potential for having heart disease and has detrimental effects on land and water. Overweight and obesity have obviously tremendous consequences on everyone's health. Both are linked to a number of chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes and other cancers. The centers for Disease Control has issued a report that childhood obesity and related diseases have doubled in the past 10 years, specifically citing high-fat fast food as a cause. (Online Reference: Centers for Disease Control)

According to many health organizations and medical surveys from merinews, "junk food causes diseases like caner. It's very important not to compromise health for taste. Junk food should not be a part of one's daily life. Otherwise, one would be compelled to compromise on normal tasty food and would be advised to follow the doctor's menu (Online Reference: Marinews - McDonalds causes cancer)"

On the other hand, the McDonalds in Hong Kong division pay approximately HK$15 or US$2 an hour to a new crew member. The McDonald of Hong Kong does not respect or treat employees as a fair pay condition. Under the minimum wage law, paying HK$15 is not the reasonable wages for a new crew member. (Online Reference: McDonalds's Salary) McDonalds had a right to adjust or enhance the minimum wages for the employees.

Base on the above evidences, McDonalds has obviously violated the corporate social responsibility in public. All of the foods from McDonalds are not committed to the health and wellness. Moreover, McDonald in Hong Kong does not qualify to contribute the community and the environment.

Chapter 6: Conclusion and Recommendations

Base on the above discussion, the majority of people are used to hearing or reading of the moral benefits of attention to business ethics. Therefore, there are four types of business benefits as recommendations for business ethics in workplace. The following recommendations describe the various types of benefits from managing ethics in the workplace.

Ethics programs help manage values associated with quality management, strategic planning and diversity management:

Ethics programs identify values and ensure organizational behaviors which balance with those values. The ethics programs include redeveloping policies and procedures and recording the values to balance the personal behaviors with positive attitude. The overall effort of ethics programs is useful for other programs in the workplace that require behaviors to have positive attitude with values including quality management. Ethics management techniques are essentially useful for managing strategic values which are expanding market share and reducing costs. Ethics management programs are useful in managing diversity. Moreover, diversity is more than the color of people's skin. It is acknowledging different values and perspectives. Diversity programs require recognizing and applying diverse values and perspectives which are the basis of a sound ethics management program.

Ethics programs cultivate strong teamwork and productivity:

Ethics programs balance employee behaviors with the major priority of ethical values preferred by leaders of the organization. The organization finds disparity and inconsistency which its preferred values and the values which have reflected by behavior in the workplace that can built community, integrity and openness which critical ingredients of strong teams in the workplace. Employees become aware of strong alignment between their values and their organization. Therefore, they simply react with strong motivation and high performance.

Ethics programs are insurance policy which the ethics programs help ensure that policies are legal:

There are an increasing number of lawsuits in regard to personnel matters and to effects of an organization's services or products on stakeholders. The ethical principles are state of the art legal matters. These principles are often applied to current, major ethical issues too become legislation. Attention to ethics ensures highly ethical policies and procedures in the workplace. It is better to respond to the cost of mechanisms to ensure ethical practices more than to respond to cost of litigation in future. The major intention of designed personnel policies is to ensure ethical treatment to employees including hiring, evaluating, disciplining and firing.

Establishing a Global Ethics Training Program:

As multinational corporations approach the issue of ethics training programs, the level of complexity increases greatly die to the intricacies of doing business in a global environment. The more countries which a firm des businesses, the more potentially different cultural beliefs need to be addressed in their global ethics training programs. The increased level of business complexity is based on the variation of ethical, cultural and legal diversity the firm must address in its ethical vision. This can be especially challenging when these are different interpretations of how doing the thing which is related to ethical behavior.

There are many of critical benefits that effective ethics training programs can bring more benefits for a firm. The fist benefit is that it ensures the employees are aware of the ethical standards of the firm. In addition, the employees are given guidance as to the procedure set up within the company to report unethical behavior. Furthermore, it aids in integrating the value systems of the top managers with the other employees within the firm. During the ethics training program, the firm must give as many examples as possible to reinforce the notion of ethical conduct. Employees will be best motivated to follow the code of ethical training program.

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