Ethical Decisions in Workplace
The case in point of this paper is referenced to an interview which I conducted with Ms. K. Salvador – not her real name – a Hispanic immigrant to the United States for twenty-years; wife to a real-estate professional and mother to three mid-school children; and a current employee of General Electric Company – Appliance Division, assigned as the deputy manager to its Sales Department for three and a half years to date. Ms. Salvador admits being confronted with ethical issues in her workplace every so often.
She relates: “Since my – and my colleagues’ – primary task is anchored on the belief that the continued operation of the company depends heavily on how we well are able to accrue revenues, I must admit that I am always torn between having to observe this specific company mandate against having to listen to the individual needs of the employees under my care. ” The Sales Department, Ms. Salvador furthers, operates on a monthly quota basis. This means that the company requires her department to meet revenue targets within a given month.
“And I tell you,” Ms. Salvador seems to warn, “these targets are hefty. ” If not met, the company reserves the right to lay certain corrective decisions to their disadvantage. It is up to the managers, such as Ms. Salvador, to devise strategic plans to meet company targets. But the first ones who get affected by such tall company expectations are the employees. Ms. Salvador relates that, on account of these monthly quotas, she often sees herself demanding her staff to produce results.
This especially happens during the tail-end days of the month, and when certain company targets have not yet been successfully met. During these tense-filled moments, Ms. Salvador is torn between asking her staff to extend their working hours to the detriment of their respective personal lives. She even relates, “I know that I cannot ask, least of impel, my employees work 24/7. Even I myself have to be home in time for dinner. We all have our loved ones waiting for us back home.
But sometimes, I need to ask them to beyond the usual time. Besides, what we endeavor upon is mutually benefiting in the final analysis. ” Ms. Salvador believes that she is able to resolve this recurrent ethical dilemma by putting into wise use the principle of moderation. In order to do this, she believes that she must firstly know the needs of the stakeholders involved – the company executives’ demand on the one hand, and the employees’ needs on the other hand.
This reminded me of the stakeholders’ ethical approach which I have read, stating that “maximizing the interest of the social group” is a legitimate approach to solving ethical dilemmas (Parboteeah and Kapp, 2008, p. 28). Concretely, I see this ethical approach applied in Ms. Salvador’s case. “Whenever I would make a decision,” she relates “I have to evaluate two conflicting interests. And by striving to meet them both halfway, I am able to avoid either compromising company targets or messing up with my employees’ personal lives.
” Ms. Salvador believes that she has devised an effective strategy to address both ends. She states, “I have come to realize that even in asking them to go on overtime, I have to be moderate on my demands. Which is why we have agreed upon to put up an overtime-scheme which distributes the demands to all employees within a given month, so that we can spread out the weight of the task, and thereby make the company targets more bearable and more workable. ” Briefly, I wish to end by saying that, after the interview, I began to see Ms.
Salvador’s dedication and perceivable passion not only in respect to her job, but also in view of her life. Specifically, I affirm the admirable manner by which she is able to resolve ethical issues in her workplace, with the help of critical thinking and judicious judgments. This made me further realize that there is no ethical conflict in life which cannot be resolved, if only one is willing to listen to the conflicting interests under the lenses of compassion and fairness.
Parboteeah. K. & Kapp, A. (2008) “Ethical Climate and Safety Performance”. Professional Safety, 53, 28-31.