You're the boss in a predominantly male environment. The presence of a new female employee stirs up conflict because your company has not had a chance to conduct sensitivity training. Some of your male employees make inappropriate remarks to your new employee. She complains to you; in response, you sanction those responsible for the conduct. You also wonder if it would be wise to move your new female employee to another position where she would be less likely to draw attention. Treating your female employee differently based on her gender or in response to a harassment complaint may be considered discriminatory and unethical conduct. Side Deals
You're a business manager with an employment contract. The contract requires you to work solely for your employer and use your talents to attract new clients to the business. If you begin attracting more clients than you believe your employer can reasonably handle, you may wonder if there would be an ethical issue with your diverting that excess business elsewhere and taking the commission. If you don't, at minimum, disclose the idea to your employer, you will likely be in breach of both your contractual and ethical duties. Partners
You're a partner in a business and see a great deal of profitability on the horizon. You don't believe that your partner deserves to profit from the business' future success, because you don't like his personality. You may wonder if you could simply take his name off the bank accounts, change the locks and continue without him. If you proceed with this course of action, you would likely be in violation of your ethical and legal obligation to act in good faith concerning your partner. The better course of action may be to simply buy out his interest in the business. Gross Negligence
You're on the board of directors for a publicly traded corporation. You and your fellow board members, in hopes of heading off early for the holidays, rush through the investigatory process involved in a much-anticipated merger. As a board member, you have a duty to exercise the utmost care respecting decisions that affect the corporation and its shareholders. Failing to properly investigate a matter that affects their interests could be viewed as gross negligence supporting a breach of your ethical and legal duty of care.
The most fundamental or essential ethical issues that businesses must face are integrity and trust. A basic understanding of integrity includes the idea of conducting your business affairs with honesty and a commitment to treating every customer fairly. When customers perceive that a company is exhibiting an unwavering commitment to ethical business practices, a high level of trust can develop between the business and the people it seeks to serve. A relationship of trust between you and your customers may be a key determinate to your company's success. Diversity Issues
According to the HSBC Group, "the world is a rich and diverse place full of interesting cultures and people, who should be treated with respect and from whom there is a great deal to learn." An ethical response to diversity begins with recruiting a diverse workforce, enforces equal opportunity in all training programs and is fulfilled when every employee is able to enjoy a respectful workplace environment that values their contributions. Maximizing the value of each employees' contribution is a key element in your business's success. Decision-Making Issues
According to Santa Clara University, the following framework for ethical decision-making is a useful method for exploring ethical dilemmas and identifying ethical courses of action: "recognizes an ethical issue, gets the facts, evaluates alternative actions, makes a decision and tests it and reflects on the outcome." Ethical decision-making processes should center on protecting employee and customer rights, making sure all business operations are fair and...