This essay focuses on a dilemma that I have faced in the workplace. Firstly, I will describe the dilemma and then present how I used ethical theory to analyse the actions that I took to best resolve the situation. Deontological theories are used in my analysis. Applying Kantian theory to my actions supports that my process for resolving the problem would be judged ethical. Ethical Dilemma
A dilemma refers to a situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2009) or a situation in which a choice must be made between alternative courses of action or argument. An Ethical dilemma is faced when an individual (or group) has to make a difficult choice, where no easy or logical answer is obvious, and where there are conflicting interests involved (Muntean, D. (2012) MGT230 Sample Essay, p1) An ethical dilemma occurs when a person behaves in a way that violates or goes against another person’s trust, loyalty, and integrity or destroys a person’s sense of worth and value. In the workplace it is important that individual’s values and ethical integrity be displayed with honest behavior at all times. For the purpose of this essay we will be looking at a workplace ethical dilemma which can be defined as a “situation when employees are forced to choose between what is right or wrong according to their own principles” (Blanchard, Peale, 1998, p. 56).
My dilemma occurred when I worked as the Human Resource Manager for an engineering consultancy company based in the UAE .The Company is an Australian international consultancy, which has 80 offices globally, employing over 6000 employees. It prides itself on having a diverse multicultural workforce and follows Australian employment standards as a benchmark in all global offices. Ethical practices are one of the company’s core three values and are an integral part of the business, governing management’s principles and responsibilities. The company is listed as one of the top 20 companies in the consultancy industry worldwide as a result. The Ethics charter states that “it is the objective of the company to conduct our business everywhere in the world with the highest standards of honesty, integrity and fairness”. At the time that I faced the dilemma, the company had just been awarded a major fast track project which required employees to work extensive amounts of overtime to be able to deliver the project on time. A number of the managers were discussing withholding compensating staff for overtime, to increase the overall profit on the job. As part of the management team I did not agree with the strategy. I saw it as a ‘quick fix’ to improve their ‘bottom line’ to the detriment of the delivery staff. It is important to note, that at the time, businesses in the UAE were not required to pay professionals overtime, so they were not acting illegally. People often confuse legality and morality, however they are different things. It is a mistake to see laws as sufficient to establish the moral standards that should guide us (Shaw, Barry & Sansbury, 2009, p. 11). Laws are distinctly focused on what is right and wrong in legal terms, whereby ethics is exercising ones moral judgement in abiding by those laws. This situation triggered a dilemma, as I was torn between my duty to fellow managers, protecting our employees and following my personal and professional morals. I was being asked to compromise personal standards to achieve manager’s goals. We must protect the interests of our stakeholders as well as our professional integrity and should not engage in activities that create actual, apparent or potential conflicts of interests (Winstanley & Woodall,1996, Volume No. 6, p. 5). In order to determine the correct course of action, I considered my options and reminded myself that I have a personal set of principles that defines my individual moral values and...
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