International Management Ethics and Values
Table of Contents
Required Team Building
The first case under investigation is the company with large personnel. The company operates in the financial industry and provides financial advice to individuals and businesses. Under the contract terms, each office worker completes the responsibilities individually and communicates one-on-one with the clients. Therefore, the jobs involve a certain degree of autonomy. In order to maintain the collective spirit of the employees, company’s management periodically conducts team building activities. The events are obligatory for all. However, the employment contract does not specify the terms of compulsory attendance of team building activities. Roger is an office worker at the aforementioned company. He refuses to participate in the events after office hours. At the same time, his performance indicators are excellent. Roger explains his reluctance to participate in corporate events by stating does not like noisy groups and does not see the benefits of such events. Since the company does not approve of his behavior, Roger faces the conflict with managers. He is afraid that the issue may worsen his career position.
The dilemma in the case is the compulsory office activities. The ethical element is the obligatory requirement of employees to participate in team building events. The clear justification of correct decisions is a complex issue. On the one hand, team building is a common practice in all large companies. On the other hand, Roger has a right to refuse to participate in activities that he does not like.
The motivation to create a communication patterns and training exercises is to nurture happy personnel. In fact, the responsible and engaged workers bring higher revenues to the companies. Consequently, employee involvement creates the competitive advantage for the managers. Moreover, worker engagement decreases the turnover and ensures high retention rates. The working environment and inside atmosphere are the key contributions to employee engagement and productivity.
As a result, managers use team building tool in their practice. Better communication among staff leads to better performance and increases the profit of the company in the long-run. Due to the fact that in the competitive environment, profit is the main objective, quality human resource is an asset. However, the majority of team building activities have the same nature of game-competition that should enhance team spirit and effective communication. Therefore, teambuilding exercises promote the thirst for competition, as one team wins, while other loses. In the circumstances of co-worker involvement, competition may cause uncomfortable situations. The personality and job position of the employee determines whether he/she will be able to accept defeat.
The problem further becomes complicated because companies often use teambuilding exercises that do not take into account individual personalities. In fact, one activity may be good for a person, but does not fit another one. For instance, Roger has a low level of personal communication with the employees; he is introvert that likes to be alone. He prefers isolation, but completes his duties perfectly. At the same time, he is satisfied with the work environment and the company apart from teambuilding requirements. Work in teams does not fit Roger’s personality portrait.
The described problem is ethical because it concerns the right of a person to act willingly and make personal decisions. The rights approach stipulates that the ethical action is the one that protects the rights of those, who are affected by the action. The claim is based on a formulation of Kant’s categorical imperative that says: “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means to an end’’ (trans. 2012).
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Therefore, the ethical case of Roger asks for the following conclusion. Although the benefits of team building for the company are great, employees deserve to make their own decisions to some extent. Thus, the bosses should take into account the rights of employees and the psychological characteristics of different people. The selection of training and teambuilding activities should include the HR department, the committee on ethics, and psychologists. With the right approach to employees with regard to their character, goals, and motivation, team building will bring more benefit. Team spirit, individual approach, and consideration for person’s rights are the key to success. The principle of ethics is the freedom of consent.
Bias in Completing Characteristics of an Employee
Jane is an employee of the sales department in a company working in fashion design. She has experience with the company for 3 years. During her employment, Jane regularly performed the duties, faced no comment or reprimand. Coworkers describe her as an honest person, easy to communicate with, responsible, and punctual. The head of Jane’s department took office six months ago. He selected Jane to head the project to be held in the near future. The boss states that she is an exemplary employee, and under her guidance the project will bring the profit. However, Jane plans to leave the office and reported the decision to the boss. Everyone has the right to freedom of choice, and Jane does not violate the conditions of contract. However, Jane faces another problem: her chef has written a dissatisfactory the letter of recommendation.
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The evaluation problem is quite common in the professional world. The managers often are guided by their own emotions and personal relationships when completing the evaluations. They provide an incorrect assessment of an employee in a recommendation letter because of biased judgment. Jane’s boss had the individual reasons to use the excellent worker in a project that would bring income. Since she refused, the supervisor’s resentment and frustration took precedence over objectivity and fairness. The conflict between a subordinate and a boss is one of the common types of situations when the solutions are ethically difficult. On the one hand, the director has the freedom to complete the recommendation as he/she sees fit. On the other hand, an employee has the right to get adequate and just evaluation. Moreover, the case can create additional complications, as Jane has no interest to act for the good of the firm, and she could feel that her contribution to the wellbeing of the company has deteriorated.
In the managerial practice, the company, industry, and ethical rules prohibit certain actions. Managers are not allowed to influence subordinates by giving them ungrounded and unfair criticism, and they cannot humiliate the dignity of a person (subordinate or boss). Therefore, before submitting the recommendation, it is necessary to analyze Jane’s actions, contributions, and behavior in an unbiased manner. In case the boss has the reasons to give a negative rating, it should only relate to employee performance, never to his/her personality. The independence and freedom of people comes with the responsibility not to hurt others. Instead, the bosses should nurture trust, help to develop their initiative, contribute to desire to generate ideas (Shaw 2002).
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Due to the approach of fairness or justice, each person should get what he or she deserves. While justice is the term that refers to a standard of rightness, fairness regards the ability to judge without reference to one’s feelings or interests. Fairness employs the judgments that are not overly general but that are specific to a particular case (Pedersen 2008). Therefore, the fair treatment of an employee should become a case-based event. Every person is unique and should receive individual treatment in order to meet the standards of fairness.
The solution of the ethical side of the aforementioned situation requires the involvement of a third party. Jane can request for human resources representative to participate in employee assessment. Moreover, the external person can stimulate the constructive dialogue between the workers and management. In order to prevent the similar situations in the future, the company has to improve the quality communication between management and subordinates, as well as conduct training on ethical treatment. Everyone has the right to choose the employment place if the contract is not violated. Moreover, workers deserve just and objective attitude. Finally, the corporation may establish a special committee on ethics to protect the rights of workers.
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Water Pollution by Wood-Processing Enterprises
Due to the intensive use of water resources by the wood-processing enterprises, the pollution of water bodies increases tremendously. The problem leads to significant qualitative and quantitative changes in the natural resources in the specified regions and the general hydrosphere. The majority of reservoirs, lakes, and rivers became the illegal pools for dumping of industrial and domestic wastewaters. The degree of purification of the resources is poor and the control over damage is not always strict. Therefore, the water becomes unfit for consumption, which results in killing aquatic plants, living organisms, fish, birds, and animals. The main suppliers of harmful substances in wastewater are pulp, paper, and furniture industries. The factories that manufacture fiberboard and chipboard, plywood use a lot of water in their operations and drain significantly the natural resources.
With the growth of technical progress, the danger of ecological disaster increases as well. The environment does not connect to the moral requirement, as it is not considered living. The ecology studies of the twenty first century aim to find the optimum form of coexistence between man and nature through the dialogue of ethics and science. The moral obligation and ethical right of environment to receive good treatment is based on socio-humanitarian knowledge.
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Therefore, the environmental protection is the responsibility of everyone that inhabits the Earth. It is a moral obligation to safeguard the homes and lands. The impact human activities have on the natural environment should become a conscious decision at least on the elementary consequences. The impact on the environment can be more or less harmful depending on the lifestyle and activities. Thus, there are some activities that will damage the environment due to their nature. People have to control and change the damage. Everyone can do something to improve the environment or at least to reduce its negative impact though making small positive ecological contribution.
The morality of environmental protection is equal to protecting innocent lives from being damaged by outside causes in human control. There are numerous ideas to protect the environment that stems from individual behavior in everyday life. For example, people can decrease consumption, and save electricity, water, and other resources. The massive socio-environmental initiatives are more effective as they involve more people. Everyone should know that nature can help not only by planting a tree or brushing the source. In order to reduce the negative impact on nature, in the changes in everyday life should be introduced. First of all, possessing ecological knowledge makes it possible for individuals to understand the more efficient use of water, heat and energy. Everyone can invest bit for the preservation of the environment through careful savings and lifestyle and behavior, rational use of clothes and other things and devices. Furthermore, personal environmental education, integrated social initiatives, the adoption of responsible social and environmental policy decisions, greening of agriculture and industry, the introduction of relevant international environmental legislation can offer a significant contribution to solving environmental problems.
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The activists attempt to correlate the moral obligations of people to the environmental responsibility. As the living thing, the environment deserves to be treated with respect. Now, the root causes of catastrophic degradation of the environment are discovered through grassroots initiatives. The main symptoms of the internal crisis of man is the degradation of the individual, the global epidemic of immorality, total levity and desire of easy and fast earnings.
Utilitarianism is among the popular approaches to ethical considerations. Particularly, the theory regards the consequences for many people involved in the decision. Thus, it suggests evaluating the good and the bad outcomes of the undertaken action. The activities people take necessarily cause the consequences. The good deed is the one that does the least damage or most value. The main cause of the ecological crisis is not the destruction of nature or external sources of the phenomenon. The first and foremost cause of degradation is in the human heart, men’s attitude, way of thinking and a twisted hierarchy of values. The ethical side of the debate is in the assumption that if one wants to effectively counter the environmental crisis, he/she must do more than preach. Humans have to not only eliminate the symptoms and consequences, but first and foremost deal with of the problematic internal reasons.
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The Problem of Bias against Women
The last situation of concern is the gender-based discrimination. A company has a vacancy claimed by two people. The first applicant is middle-aged woman with experience, a family with children. The second candidate is a young woman with experience, who got married a year ago and has no children. Both women have experience and credentials, as well as the desire to work with the company. However, the first woman with children is more likely to be hired for the opening. It is a difficult situation when company concludes who to hire on the basis of egoistic considerations. The condition indirectly causes moral harm to the person. Moreover, the situation creates a dilemma, as it involves subjectivity of decision and discrimination based on external characteristics. In order to make a correct decision, it is necessary to create an additional interview and maybe hire an outside consultant that is impartial and can derive correct solution.
From the point of view of efficiency, the choice of company is clear. In pursuit of the profit-making goal, the company is profitable to hire someone who is not likely to go on maternity leave in the nearest future. On the other hand, the company neglects the human right to equal treatment, objective evaluation criteria, and impartiality. It translates directly to discrimination on the external characteristics.
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Therefore, people have a right to be treated with respect and dignity. Due to the moral obligation to be impartial and just, companies should be motivated to respect the persons for their skills and knowledge. In recent decades, the virtue approach to ethics has been supplemented and significantly revised by thinkers in the feminist tradition, who often emphasize the importance of the experiences of women and marginalized groups to ethical deliberation. Like virtue ethics, feminist ethics concerned with the totality of human life and each life’s influence on the way we make ethical decisions. Companies need to ensure their financial interests, but also to comply with the ethics in decision-making. As a result, the businesses will provide social protection for their employees, ensure legality in activities, and protect their ethical image.