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 facing an ethical problem by implementing computerized scheduling system. Indeed, before the store managers had to arranged manually the schedule for the employees but Wal-mart begun to use Kronos system to create work schedule. Obviously, this implementation helps to increase the profit margin of the company. But what are the consequences for the employees ? The new system scheduling time work is totally irregular and unpredictable which may decrease the employee’s job stability and potentially create financial hardships. The result was a computerized system that totally overhauled employee scheduling. The system optimizes the schedule so that employees are matched with customer demand. It completely changes the balance of the scheduling equation from the employee. Employees are a fungible resource. Actually, their associates are simply another resource to be scheduled, like trucks. People are not automatons, they are not “resources”. And due to the human behaviour we can say that people are resistant to change and yet wonderfully flexible at the same time, but in this case we have to take into consideration that the job stability is decreasing and might affect the life’s employees especially regarding irregular hours working, inconsistent paychecks, make it more difficult for employees to organize their lives, from scheduling babysitter to paying bills. I’m not surprised that they deeply resent being treated like machines.
2. What ethical principles apply to this case ? How do they apply ?
In my opinion the principles that apply to this case are :
• Principle of respect for persons
It means that we have to take into consideration four dimensions of human life such as : biological, psychological, social and spiritual. To sum-up the persons should not be treated as an object or machine but with respect in such a way that recognizes his/her human dignity. All individual human beings are presumed to be free and responsible persons and should be treated as such in proportion to their ability in the circumstances. Individuals with reduced autonomy are entitled to appropriate protection, according to the principles of subsidiarity, human dignity, justice, charity, and vicarious consent.
• Principle of Nonmalefience (First, do no harm)
Nonmaleficence is sometimes interpreted to imply that if one cannot do good without also causing harm, then one should not act at all. The difficulty with this rigorist interpretation, however, is that it makes action almost impossible in a world where even the best actions may have some harmful results. But in Wal-Mart case we can see that the implementation of the computerized scheduling affects life’s employees especially due to the irregular hours working which makes live harder because the employees are not able to organize their life in the proper way.
Also we can ask ourself what will happens if Wal-Mart continues to take some decisions in order to increase again and again their profit margin in the detriment of its employees ? I personnaly think that if the employees feel integrated, taking part to the company it is easier for him/her to be more productive because he/She knows that they are « associate », part of the company. In that way, the company should treat correctly their employees. For example I remember an example that gave us my Economics professor about the factory in Asia which increase their depenses for increasing the working conditions of their employees (More lights, Nap room, Bus transportation,…) at the end, they realized that the workers were more productives, so they finally earn more money by increasing working conditions. It seems to be a win-win situation.
3. What are the potential effects of computerized scheduling on employee morale ? What are the consequences of these...
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