Business Ethics What Conditions Would Make Accepting Term Paper

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Business Ethics

What conditions would make accepting a gift from a vendor or a client acceptable?

As most gifts from a vendor or client typically are given with the presumption that preferential treatment will be given in return, it is clear that the conditions that would allow for gifts to be accepted in the first place are quite narrow. This is precisely the reason many governments of the world, industry and financial analyst firms, and large corporations that have significant influence over contractors on major projects for defense agencies prohibit employees from getting or giving gifts. Many companies require employees to report any gift over $25, including the circumstances surrounding the gift being given. With so much concern over influence buying and bribery for everything from a favorable financial analyst report to a contract being awarded; it's no wonder that there is such a strong focus on transparency in the area of gift-giving.

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The exception to the high ethical standards that many governments and companies are relying on is the giving of awards for exceptional performance. Toyota Motor Company for example takes this approach with the development of their Toyota Production System, where the top suppliers in their supply chain receive plaques, awards and at times trips to Tokyo for exceptional performance. The reward structure in Toyota's Production System is well defined prior to the development of partnerships with suppliers, and the specific performance criteria are also very well documented. Toyota sees this as leveling the playing field as it relates to making it equitable to every supplier to win this ward; it is purely performance-based vs. being awarded due to the implied agenda of managers to gain more control. This transparency of having specifically defined the criteria for the award is what ethically separates this type of gift from those given purely for gaining potential influence.

Term Paper on Business Ethics What Conditions Would Make Accepting Assignment

If you had a choose just one of the philosophical approaches, 1. The focus on consequences (consequentiality theories), 2. The focus on duties, obligations, and principles, 3. The focus on integrity (virtue ethics), to guide your decision making, which would you choose? Why? Or if you had to rank them from most to least helpful, how would you rank them?

I would choose to focus first on integrity and virtue ethics first, because due to the Internet and the growth of electronic media the world is increasingly becoming a very transparent place. Trust is the new currency, and to sustain and strengthen ones' reputation it is critical to strive for transparency and a high level of trust. Also by focusing on this specific area of integrity, the repercussions of my actions on others would be at least visible and above-board. Working for the attainment of a goal when operating under the integrity (virtue ethics) approach would also allow for greater freedom in working with others as well, as in honesty and transparency the truth could be shared about the status of projects.

In terms of ranking these three philosophical approaches, the first and most helpful would be the focus on integrity (virtue ethics), followed by the focus on duties, obligations and principles, with consequentiality theories being third. The reasoning of this rankings is that with virtue ethics transparency is a given, as has been discussed earlier. The second selection, a focus on duties, obligations and principles, also infuses personal choices with a strong orientation towards personal accountability and service, yet does not necessarily allow for a high level of transparency that virtue ethics does. Further, the ethical decisions of whether duties, obligations and principles lead to the best possible selection of outcomes for every member of a team or project needs greater analysis on a per-situation basis. The last in the series of selections, consequentiality theories, presuppose that decisions will be made only after the cause-and-effect of them are ascertained and defined. In fact many, many people and entire companies do not think through the consequences of their decisions from an operational standpoint much less an ethical one. While consequentiality theories can be taught and integrated into organizational structures, personally the virtue ethics would be the easiest to adopt as both thoughts and behaviors consistent with ethical standards.

Should a person be permitted to place a value on a human life? Should a company? Should the government? If not, how would decisions be made about whether to market certain products (that might be risky for some, but helpful from others), how much those who have lost family members in disasters should be compensated, and so on?

Human life is inherently invaluable, irreplaceable, as society cannot produce, replicate or recreate it. It is the world's most precious resource, and has to be treated as a highly valued and priceless asset, to speak in business terms. So no person, government or company can define the value of a human life from their standpoint because it is inherently limited to their own frame of reference. The ethical dilemma however of when to introduce products that might be risky for some yet valuable for others is one that takes a weighing of the ethical risks and the assumption of worst-case scenarios as they relate to the development and launching of products. An excellent example of this ethical trade-off is in the development and sales of pharmaceutical drugs. The risk to children of Tylenol or Aleve for example is acute, yet these products are stocked on shelves in grocery stores where children can easily reach them. Only through generations of product design and a few security lapses has this level of worst-case scenario planning begun to emerge in this industry. Today packaging not only deals with the in-store purchasing experience but also with the in-home use and storage as well. The question of ethics then of these over-the-counter drugs has been further clarified by express and implied warranties of merchantability and serviceability, two legal concepts that basically say a product created for a specific need will be designed, produced, tested, packaged and safeguarded through education to consumers as to its specific purpose. Through legal and ethical guidelines, pharmaceutical drug makers have become more transparent in their approach to validating the use of their products in both intended and unintended use scenarios.

When legal systems assign a specific compensatory award to families for members lost through disasters, the issue of knowingly exposing people to highly risking situations (like putting passengers on a cruse ship that is known to have bad navigational equipment aboard) or knowingly serving spoiled food, then typically courts rule in terms of multiples of damages for companies who do these reprehensible acts. Double and treble damages (two or three times the amount of the original award) often apply to those companies who knowingly violate the ethics of customers or hosts in their businesses. The value of damages also scales in proportion to the treatment programs as well. For those victims of any kind of physical or psychological abuse, the costs of treatment can be high, as well as the lasting effects of the abuse itself. In these situations the courts look to valuation not only of the treatment but also the damages, from a psychological standpoint, to the victims. Admittedly valuation of these issues is open to interpretation, yet there are often higher damages awarded when a person of authority or a business knowingly subjects people to highly risky situations.

What specific action could a manager take to try to move employees up the employee engagement continuum - for example, from not engaged to actively engaged?

There are a wide variety of strategies that managers can take to move employees up the employee engagement continuum, and all have to do with giving employees the opportunity to internalize higher levels of ownership for their roles in a company. The ability of managers to get employees to take higher levels of ownership for their tasks is also an essential part of leadership as well. One of the most effective approaches for getting employees to internalize the responsibilities of their jobs and take ownership of them is to give them a chance to design their jobs to begin with.

Letting employees have an active voice in how and why their goals are set, what responsibilities they have and don't have, and also the defining of how their jobs will interact with other departments all lead to more ownership. The focus on creating a sense of control on the part of the employee is at the center of instilling in them ownership of their jobs. Also giving employees the opportunity to offer 360 degree feedback not only of their peers, but also of their superiors is also critical for gaining a high level of ownership in a job. Ultimately taking steps to give employees greater ownership leads to a higher level of productivity, achievement, and job satisfaction as well.

Think about how you might design work to maximize workers' taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

In completing a job design to get employees to internalize ownership for their… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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