The issue is whether employees should show loyalty to their firms by unequivocally supporting company managers and policies. I agree that employees have a binding duty to be loyal to their employers. However, loyalty does not always mean mindless support of superiors and their polices. Moreover, in extreme circumstances, the duty to be loyal may be overridden by a more important duty.
Employee loyalty is best understood as a commitment to seek the interests of the firm. In plain terms, the interests of the firm are to increase stockholder wealth. Most of the time, and for most employees, this will mean following the orders and policies of those in charge. Sometimes, however, executives or managers may set counterproductive policies. An employee who clearly sees this might better serve the firm‟s interests—and be loyal—by questioning the misguided policies rather than silently obeying them. For this reason, many companies will endure the presence of an occasional iconoclast among the ranks. Although such independent thinkers are annoying from a managerial standpoint, they often put up the creative idea that saves the bottom line.
And, on occasion, company policy might be plainly unjust or harmful to society. Consider the well-known example of Roger Boisjoly, the Morton-Thiokol engineer who had early concerns about the ill-fated launch of the space shuttle Challenger. In such situations, conscience may require an employee to disregard ordinary loyalty and dispute the decisions made by superiors. And, if speaking out to company insiders is ineffective, the employee might recognize an overriding duty to go public, and blow the whistle on the firm.
In conclusion, employees have an important duty to be loyal to their employers. This duty, however, is not rightly construed as simple obedience; its most important feature is commitment to promote the employer‟s interest in making a profit. Occasionally, loyalty in this regard can require an employee...
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