Workplace ethics is an issue that has existed since the 20th century. Currently, organizations face different issues pertaining to work ethics especially in regards to the employee and employer relationship. Among the most common ethical issues that are experienced in business is are employee health and safety. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), on a daily occasion, 6, 300 people across the world die from diseases related to occupational accidents (Florida Tech, n.d). It means that 2.3 million individuals die per year because of unethical behaviors in the workplace. Therefore, there is a need for organizations to employ ethical reasoning and decision making and schools include ethical decisions topics in their curriculum and identify their relationships with issues that are experienced in business.
Business ethics mainly entails making decisions that are morally acceptable. Fairness is paramount in every business dealings because it creaes a situation whereby all the parties involved ends up being satisfied with an outcome. However, several cases have been reported concerning organizations not caring about the well-being of their employees , especially theirhealth and safety. Additionally, ethical reasoning can help employers to determine between right decisions, actions and thinking leading to them act fairly towards their workforce (Weiss, 2014). By making ethical decisions, they can define a problem and determine the best solution to resolve the issue, thus preventing further conflicts betweenthem and their employees. The case of Exxon Valdez is anexample of the implications of an organization’s management failure to use an ethical reasoning and decision making process to solve problems at the work place.
Understanding Ethical Reasoning and Moral Decision Making
Most businesses are profit-oriented thus their focus is on making more profits. in some instances, organizations fail to care about the effects of their operations on people. Businesses that have no consideration for the effects of their activities on people have no moral standards.. Undoubtedly,hen it comes to ethical reasoning, logic must be applied all the times (Weiss, 2014). Moreover, no assumptions should be made, rather, a company or employer should rely on factual information to make judgments and decisions. in the case of Exxon Valdez the most significant mistake that the company’s chairman, Mr. Lawrence G. Rawl, made was sending low-rank individuals to handle the issues that arose after the oil spill (Holusha, 1989). The decision to send low-rank employees to fix the problem created the impression that the pollution was not an important problem; hence it did not need the attention of the management. At the same time, the company did not act in a morally responsible way when it failed to issue a public statement up to a week after the accident occured.
Understanding the Aspects of Making Ethical Decisions
When it comes to making ethical decisions, focus is an important element. It is the only way in which an individual can determine the situation that they are in and evaluate whether it is ethical or not. Moreover, by clarifying goals, it becomes easy to focus on the desired outcome, which resultS in making moral decisions (Weiss, 2014). Though Exxon Valdez followed Josephson’s model of the decision making process regarding the policies and procedure that it needed to follow to handle the crisis, the decision made by the top executives to not issue a statement regarding the spillage was unethical. even when the company finally issued a statement it did not portray the true nature of the incident, because the company’s spokesman claimed that minimal damage was done yet the damage was massive. The lack of honestyshowed that the managers did not take the matter seriously or they were insensitive towards the people affected by the spillage, which was unethical. Exxon Valdez only took responsibility for its actions when the US Federal Court ordered it to pay $900 million for the damage it caused on the natural resources (Florida Tech, n.d). The moral decision by the company would have been to take responsibility of the incident from the very beginning and recognize the weight of the issue, to salvage its relationship with the neighborhood and employees. Even though the company ended up paying for the damages, the action held no moral value because it was obligated by the court. In conclusion, ethical decision makig is an integral part of organizational management. Ethical decision making not only maintains a healthy relationship between an organization and its employees, but also fosters a good relationship with its neighborhood. Moreover, making ethical decisions, enables for fairness to be achieved thus allowing a company to achieve a win-win situation during crises. The case of Exxon Valdez Company is an illustration of the importance of ethical reasoning and ethical decision making in a company.. the company’s management made poor decisions whih resulted in a strained relationship between it and its neighborhood.
Florida Tech. (n.d). The 5 biggest ethical issues facing businesses. Retrieved from https://www.floridatechonline.com/blog/business/the-5-biggest-ethical-issues-facing-businesses/
Holusha, J. (1989). Exxon’s public relations problem. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1989/04/21/business/exxon-s-public-relations-problem.html?pagewanted=all&mcubz=0
Weiss, J.W. (2014). Business ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com