Analysis of Ethics in the Workplace

Topics: Ethics, Business ethics, Employment Pages: 4 (1164 words) Published: August 6, 2006
An Analysis of Ethics in the Workplace
Introduction of ethics
Ethics can be defined as "a domain unto itself, a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures" (Elder and Paul, 2003). In today's society, it is becoming natural to question the relevance of ethics. Contestants on reality television shows are rewarded with sums as large as $1,000,000 for activities such as lying, cheating, backstabbing and otherwise playing the game. In the midst of downsizing, mergers and acquisitions, is it fair to hold corporate America to a high set of standards as they attempt to merely stay alive?

Recent ethical catastrophes such as Enron and WorldCom make it clear that, now more than ever, companies must rely on a solid foundation of ethics if they are to succeed and keep quality employees.

Employees today are being ethically challenged every day. (Thomson Gale, 2005) declares "…the pressures of business life clearly test the personal morality of all individuals, at all levels of the organization. One in five of those surveyed said they at least sometimes felt under duress from colleagues or managers to compromise the organization's standards of ethical business conduct in order to achieve business goals." As an employee, we should not, however, automatically assume a questionable request is unethical. As noted by Amanda Gengler, "Almost 10% of the employees who felt they were asked to do something unethical eventually determined that their boss' request was appropriate."(Gengler, 2006). Be sure you have all the facts before making a decision.

The concepts of ethical principles in the workplace are generally not complex. However, some ethical questions require "reasoned judgment" to determine a definitive answer. This fact is illustrated by the following quote - "Some ethical questions have definitive answers; others require reasoned judgment. When reasoning through an ethical question, we need to...
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