Moonlighting Ethical Dilemma

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Business ethics Pages: 6 (2191 words) Published: October 3, 2012
A person is said to moonlight when he/she holds more than one job at the same time (Wisniewski and Kleine 1984). Moonlighting is often associated with rising costs of living or hard economic conditions (Kimmel 1995). It is more often present in men than in women even though the number of women moonlighting is increasing considerably mainly for divorced and single mothers (Kimmel 1995). Moonlighting is most often regarded as problematic as it comes with many disadvantages to the company and the concerned party's family and very often these tend to develop into ethical issues. However sometimes this can be forced upon the employees as a result of harsh economic situations. Therefore moonlighting has to be dealt with on a case by case basis in order to ensure that there is no harm done to any party as a result of the act. In my opinion, the case study does not offer much ethical issues.

The main perceived ethical problem with Jeremy moonlighting is obviously the fact that he has to divide his time between his two jobs. This is compounded by the fact that he just had had a baby and therefore gets little free time at home. This is a problem for Zagante as this would imply that the employee would become less productive as a result of both spending less time for the company and possibility of being ill-disposed due to the demands of attention and responsibility of a new born. Therefore this would represent a decrease in potential gains by the company(Ghosh and Whalley 2008). This is because by separating his time, the employee will have two objects on which to concentrate and therefore will be able to give less to the original job. Also, the employee will be fatigued by extended working hours and in this case study also by the child. This will also contribute to him not being to perform at maximum level and as a result end up being less efficient in his work (Sparks et al. 1997).

Usually the main concerns linked to moonlighting is basically that the employee takes away clients from the employer by proposing the services at a lower cost. However in this case it does not need to be really considered as the Zagante's products differ from the project on which Jeremy is working by a large margin. Therefore Jeremy's actions would not impact on the business of his employers. In this light, it can be said that being undercut the employee is not a concern for Zagante Systems. As a matter of fact, Jeremy mentioned that some of the programming he is carrying out will actually help him in accomplishing future endeavours for the company and therefore in this case, moonlighting is actually beneficial for the parent company as an enhancement in Jeremy's capabilities will result in increased knowledge for the company as well(Li, Tabor & Martinez 1997). However this case offer one more problem in the sense that Jeremy is using the resources of the company in order to carry out his secondary work. This is a particularly damning factor against him. Another actor is the potential influence of his actions on his colleagues. If a large number of employees start to moonlight, it will cause much distress to Zagante.

In order to deal with ethical issues, four main ethical frameworks can be applied. They are Utilitarianism, Libertarianism, Deontology and Virtue Ethics. These four methods have different rules and therefore for the same situation, different conclusions can be reached. Even though there are four main frameworks, the one to be used is entirely dependent on the individuals taking the decisions and therefore for any given situation, they may come up with different answers based upon their personal moral and ethical worldview. Also, there is no restriction as to the merging of two frameworks in order to reach a conclusion which further enlarges the possible outcomes for ethical dilemmas.

Utilitarianism is most commonly defined as the greater good or happiness for the greater amount of people (Renouard 2011). It...
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