Ethics and Simple Ethical Tests

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1. Review the ethical cycle. Discuss a decision you have made (at home or in the workplace), and describe the steps of the cycle in relation to your decision making process. Now review the section on rationalizing unethical behaviors. What is the relationship between the ethical cycle and the three simple ethical tests used for business decisions? The steps of the ethical cycle are:

Identification of moral problem ---> analysis of the moral problem ---> the available options that one can take to resolve the problem ---> using ethical judgment to evaluate the problem ---> final reflection on decisions that were made. Discuss a decision you have made (at home or in the workplace), and describe the steps of the cycle in relation to your decision making process. Scenario: I work as an accountant in a public accounting firm, and one of our big clients asked me to manipulate their accounting transactions, to make their company look more profitable than it is, in order to secure a bank loan the company was trying to get. Identification of the moral problem - whether or not I should commit the act the client requested, and change the accounting transactions into accounts that would make the financial statement and company more profitable than it actually is. Analysis of the moral problem - I can change the information, and most likely do so undetected. Because this is not a public company, the accounting adjustments will probably go undetected indefinitely. If I do change the transactions, I am not acting ethically, and am also committing fraud, even though it wouldn't be noticed by investors, or any other interested parties. Available options - I can leave the information as it is, or I can change the information to make the company appear more profitable. Using ethical judgment - I will evaluate this problem with my best, most professional sense of judgment, and come to the conclusion that my actions need to speak louder than my words. Based on ethical judgment, I need to act accordingly and notify my client that I cannot make the requested changes. Final reflection - I reflect upon the decisions I made for the moral problem at hand, and realize that my decision was the right one to make. Although I may have strained the relationship our firm has with the client, which can possibly risk the income that the client brings to our firm from continued services, I know that my decision was the right one to make. I used my personal morals and professional sense of ethics and wise judgment to not make the changes as the client requested, due to the nature of the request. I can use the three simple ethical tests, and reasoning to justify unethical behavior, although I would still be acting unethically. I can basically try to reason and justify each step of the ethical cycle, to rationalize why it would be ok to act as the client requested. I can justify that it will never be caught, it will further enhance the client's business because he will be able to secure funding and to expand, which will make his business more profitable. I can justify that even though I have gone into the stage of ethical reasoning of the moral problem, that even though I reasoned correctly, I could have chosen the other option. If I had chosen to falsify the records, I could try to justify the fact that I did this under the view that it was in the best interest of the client, and insignificant to affect my overall ethical and moral standpoints, because the good outweighed the bad. I can also reason that it was the right thing to do in this instance, if I had changed the transactions, because it would have hurt no one in the immediate scenario. 2. Discuss the eight ethical principles in the Global Business Standards Codex. Using these principles, describe an example of a company that does follow one of these principles, and then describe an example of a company that does not follow one of these principles. Global Business Standards Codex

Paine, Deshpande,...
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