What Is the Ethical Dilemma Facing Wal-Mart in This Case?

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1. What is the ethical dilemma facing Wal-Mart in this case? Do Wal-Mart’s associates also face an ethical dilemma? If so, what is it?

Wal-Mart is trying to implement the Kronos system which will automate a process that usually requires personal judgment. The Kronos system will create work schedules that are favorable to the company’s profit margin. Wal-Mart will be responsible for the potential conflicts the new system may cause its employees.

Wal-Mart employees will face an ethical dilemma too under the Kronos system. The new system generates schedules that are irregular and unpredictable which may decrease the employee’s job stability and potentially create financial hardships. The dilemma will be whether to cheat on the personal availability forms so the system will create a schedule that is favorable to their needs.

2. What ethical principles apply to this case? How do they apply?

Both sides, Wal-Mart and its employees, should be guided by the Candidate Ethical principle of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Would Wal-Mart want its employees to treat customers as callously as the employees feel they have been? Do the employees want Wal-Mart cheating against them like many of them might on their availability slips? Wal-Mart must consider Descartes’ rule of change. While the new scheduling system may bring only small changes now, what happens if the corporation continues making similar small changes to the detriment of its employees? What will those incremental changes do to the employees’ morale in the long run?
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