Applying Ethical Frameworks

In the recent past, ethical lapses in the practice of business, ranging from Enron to the Lehman Brothers debacles, have once again refocused the attention of scholars and practitioners to a contemplation of ethics and the moral dilemmas employees face in the context of modern capitalism (Fang, 2006). Scholars have devised ethical frameworks aimed at assisting managers and employees to deal with presenting moral dilemmas as they engage in ethical decision making, particularly in light of the admission that ethical decisions are fraught with competing values (Bagozzi, Sekerka, & Hill, 2009). In this paper, I attempt to provide a solution to the case study involving a work-based ethical dilemma and the justifications involved in coming up with the proposed solution.

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In brief, the case is about one employee who is about to be reprimanded for falsifying entries on official documents, while the fact of the matter is that the employee was not involved in the unethical behavior and I have information to prove that the employee was not involved (Bagozzi et al., 2009)

In proposing a solution to such an ethical dilemma, I am of the opinion that I should take action to share with management what I know about the case even if such an action will definitely lead to a reprimand due to conflicting interests. As a matter of fact, the ethical dilemma will have far-reaching implications on my friend, other employees and myself, but I hold that the morally right to do in this scenario is to provide the information that I hold demonstrating that the victimized employee is not involved in the ethical malpractice.

Since I already have evidence demonstrating that the employee is not involved in falsifying the documents, I’ll engage the senior management in sharing all the information and facts I have on the issue, request management to conduct an environmental scan to locate the issue within a context, and afterwards seek for the issue to be resolved based on the legality of the facts, capacity of the solution to withstand public scrutiny, consistency of the solution with personal, professional, organizational community values, and capacity of the solution to set a precedence in dealing with such an ethical dilemma (Maddalena, 2007).

In justifying this solution, I contend that I have a right and duty as an employee to be honest and tell the truth in spite of the fact that such disclosure may actually implicate others, including my friend and I. The rights and duties ethical framework not only defines what the implicated employee should expect as his due in solving the case, but also the duty I personally have as an employee in the same organization to demonstrate honesty, justice and courage in making a decision that will be morally right for all (Bagozzi et al., 2009; Fang, 2006).

In making the decision to save the implicated employee, I am also guided by the ethical framework of maximizing the amount of good in the world by balancing the benefits of an action against the risks and costs involved (Fang, 2006). My values of finding the truth and guilt for withholding the truth definitely align with this framework. I am of the opinion that to maximize the amount of good and bring happiness and justice to all people in the organization, I have a ‘right’ to override the rights of my friend and share the information with management.

Lastly, I justify my solution based on an ethical framework concerned with leading a virtuous life by synthesizing the moral “rightness” or “wrongness” of my decisions and taking the best course of action (Bagozzi et al., 2009; Fang, 2006). In this context, I am of the opinion that I should not dwell much on the consequences of sharing the information I have with the senior management, but rather on my principles of honesty, duty, justice, and character. These principles align well with the framework of leading a virtuous life as they demonstrate the basic tenets of a morally upright human being.

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References

Bagozzi, R., Sekerka, L., & Hill, V. (2009). Hierarchical motive structures and their role in moral choices. Journal of Business Ethics, 90(4), 461-486. Web.

Fang, M.L. (2006). Evaluating ethical decision-making of individual employees in organizations – An integration approach. Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, 8(2), 105-112. Web.

Maddalena, V. (2007). A practical approach to ethical decision-making. Leadership in Health Services, 20(2), 71-75. Web.

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