Term Paper: Ethics and Morality Case Analysis Morality Pertains

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Ethics and Morality Case Analysis

Morality pertains to moral conduct or standards, which in turn, determine the rightness or wrongness of one's conduct (Perle 2004). Ethics is the study of standards of conduct. It is also called moral philosophy. Ethics and morality are often used interchangeably because of their connectedness. It is generally believed that morality is ethics in action. Ethics has been categorized into descriptive, normative, analytical and applied (Fieser 2006). Descriptive ethics describes human behavior. Normative ethics establishes norms on human conduct. Analytical ethics or metaethics investigates how people determine norms of their own behavior. And applied ethics examines specific controversial issues, using analytical and normative ethics as conceptual tools.(Perle, Feiser).

Ethics establishes norms and evaluates when a moral act is right or wrong (Prawda 2007). It also refers to the collective ways and habits of a group of people, their actual customs and practices, which characterize their specific culture. Philosophically, ethics is viewed from morality. But in the course of time, the quality of a moral act changes from merely being described to one which is prescribed by persons who set the standard of conduct. What is done becomes what should be done within the culture. When act is transmitted for others to follow, norms develop. The mere disapproval by others in the same group or culture creates pressure for conformity with norms. These norms are used in making moral decisions or in settling a moral dilemma. Culture and ethics are so closely related that it becomes difficult to determine which factor motivates or guides a particular behavior in a given situation. Some cultures give greater importance to human relationships while others give more importance to obeying rules. Those in the first group will judge a problem according to the demands of the situation. Those in the second group will resort to universal rules (Prawda).

In this age of globalization, businesses seek to normalize activities in industrial and service sectors of their place of operation by establishing basic norms and values so as to simplify ethical decision-making and avoid ethical dilemmas (Prawda 2007). Universalism has been merged with relativism to create situationalism in response to the realistic demands of globalization. This new concept makes no universal claims but dwells in the specific problem context in the search for the appropriate solution. It is pragmatic and results-oriented and has become the most common approach taken in the realm of business ethics today. It applies Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest and adaptation to the environment. It gives primacy to earning an income and maintaining a living. Work has thus come to be valued universally. How earning a livelihood can be maintained and work can proceed in the most practical and profitable manner to all determine the typical procedures in evaluating and settling ethical problems in the workplace (Prawda).

Motorola's Anzen facility in Nambu presents a conflict of cultural values in business. Safety and the basic dignity of each worker are its stated policies, which underlie all of its operations. The company also enjoys a high level of productivity and cooperation among its teams, consisting almost entirely of locals or natives. The Nambunese deeply cherish the traits of obedience, dutifulness and harmony. This was the setting when the manufacturing manager, Victor, a Nambunese, beat up Tommy, another Nambunese, who consistently refused to follow safety rules. Tommy lost his hearing as a result of the beating. But Victor promptly offered apologies and an amount as indemnification, both of which Tommy accepted. As a further consequence, Tommy began observing the rules on safety. But when the head of Human Resources, Stan, learned about the incident from the facility's doctor, he and his two assistants believe that both Victor and Tommy have to be fired for breaching the company's fundamental principles.

Decision - the managers will not terminate either Victor or Tommy. They have settled their problem between themselves as the native culture has led them. The other team workers who witnessed the violent incident prefer to forge the entire incident as unique and isolated. Victor has indemnified Tommy for the injury and Tommy has accepted. Victor should be subjected to retraining to make sure he does not lose his temper again. The recommendation made by Willard, Stan's assistant, is the most workable and will be followed.

Standards of Conduct

Motorola follows stringent policies of safety, productivity and civility among all its employees and in all of their activities. These policies carry the firm's reputation worldwide. Safety assures the survival of both the employees who work at the facility and the preservation of Motorola's material resources. Productivity is both a major company policy and fundamental trait among its employees, notably the Morning Glory team, which has been commended for its high-level output. Civility is also a major policy, which forbids aggressive behavior or acts among Motorola employees. These standards derive basically from the American culture of efficiency, productiveness and respect for individual rights and privileges. As basic concepts for the company, they assure the highest level of output, which translates into maximum profit to the company and the optimum satisfaction of employees' needs.

Motorola preserved these policies when it entered into a joint venture with a multinational company in Nambu at a 60-40% proportion. Many of its key managerial employees were foreign while most of lower-level associates were local or native employees from the partner company. Canadian Stan Stack is the overall human resources manager for the joint venture. Safety is among his top priorities. He claims that the rate of accident and lost workdays was further reduced during his tenure and he intends to retain that accomplishment. Safety enhances productivity and these standards are fundamental to the culture of Motorola.

Stan's assistant Henk Van Dyke or Henk is a Dutch who shares his company values and sentiments. His only problem at work is that he does not speak the native dialect. Stan's other assistant is Willard Wa, who is a native who follows the native culture. Stan draws from the recommendations of Henk and Willard in deciding particular cases or matters.

Final Test Assembly operates at the Anzen facility. It consists of eight-member teams, working on a daily-shift basis. These team members are all Nambunese from the partner company. Their manufacturing manager is Victor Min, who has been with the facility for a number of years. Victor has been known to practice and enforce deep dedication to the traditional values of duty and obedience. With these ingrained values, Victor is an important contributor to the goals of the company.

Team Three, or the Morning Glory team, is most proud of its performance in terms of productivity and safety. It has been adjudged as the best team in the entire facility. The team members attribute their success to a combination of exceptional skill and a high degree of harmony and cooperation among them. These teams report directly to Victor whose leadership they have come to accept. On his part, Victor exerted effort to be acquainted with each member until he established comfortable relationships with them. The only team member with whom Victor has not established suitable relationship is Tommy, a relatively new employee. As a former mountaineering guide, Tommy is a free spirit who somewhat deviates from the established Nambunese norms of duty. He constantly and consistently refused to observe stated facility rules of safety by wearing the prescribed eyeglasses when working. Despite his team mates and Victor's reminders, Tom always came up with excuses not to wear the eyeglasses. Victor caught him disobeying the rules many times. The last time, Victor warned him about a sanction if he would again be caught working without the eyeglasses. When Tom ignored the rules one more time, the unfortunate incident happened. But before Stan could render a decision, based on company rules and expectations, the parties directly involved took steps to remedy their own situation in accordance with their culture. The other members of the team acknowledged the sufficiency of the remedy and they all went back to working as productively and harmoniously as before as if no unfortunate incident happened.

From a review of the issue and the setting in which it occurred, it can be gleaned that Motorola's standards of subjugation to company rules of productivity and safety are, in fact, paralleled by the native values of duty and obedience. This explains the high level of performance achieved by the teams, particularly the Morning Glory team, and the low rate of accidents and lost workdays during the period. Victor is a true Nambunese who holds fast to the traditional values of duty and obedience and he must be recognized for this commitment and his effort at establishing workable relationships with the team members under his supervision. This effort proves his dedication to his work and his observance of company policies on harmony and productivity. Even his strictness and annoyance towards Tom's refusal to follow safety rules drew from his uncompromising dedication to those rules. In Victor's mind, duty and obedience… [END OF PREVIEW]

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