Evaluate different approaches to ethical decision making. Then, choose one of them to apply to an ethical issue you have identified.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:
• Competency 1: Evaluate the parameters for ethical decision making in 21st century multicultural business environments.
o Evaluate the parameters of various ethical decision-making approaches.
• Competency 3: Evaluate organizational policy within the framework of ethical standards.
o Analyze an ethical dilemma using an ethical decision-making approach.
o Assess the validity of a resolution suggested by a selected ethical decision-making approach.
• Competency 4: Communicate effectively.
o Communicate the analysis of ethical decision making clearly and effectively.
Employees are a significant group of stakeholders in an organization. As at-will employment and outsourcing become more common in the business world, many employees who once trusted their employers and expected lifetime employment have been shocked by the lack of relationship between themselves and their employer. At the same time, employers argue that they have never paid more for benefits or been more accountable for their behavior toward employees.
To what extent does an organization demonstrate the ethics it espouses? What contributes to the ethical framework of a company’s operation? Are values statements real, and are people held accountable to them? What role does organizational culture play in guiding ethical behavior? Should values dominate an organization’s culture? How do leaders contribute to the ethical profile of an organization? How can organizational structures create support or vulnerability with operating in an ethically sound manner?
Complete the following:
• Evaluate different approaches to ethical decision making.
• Analyze the approach you feel works best in resolving ethical dilemmas.
• Identify an ethical issue. You may use the same issue you used in the first assessment.
• Once you have chosen the ethical approach you feel is best, apply it to your identified issue.
• Assess the resolution that your ethical decision making approach suggests for this issue. How valid is the resolution that is suggested by the approach?
Questions to Consider-
To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.
• What criteria are important to you when determining the level of an organization’s ethical performance? Why are these important criteria? Consider both corporate and personal values as part of the criteria. Examples may include treatment of employees, compliance with laws, or treatment of the environment (such as air quality).
• Consider your best experience in working for someone who demonstrated exemplary ethical behavior. Or, consider your worst experience in working for someone who demonstrated unethical behavior. For the situation selected, what are the characteristics of the person, from an organizational values approach? In other words, what stated corporate values were modeled or ignored by this person? What effect did it have on the organization? If you decide to discuss this with others, protect the confidentiality of all individuals involved by substituting made-up names for the organization and the individuals.
The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context.
• Rendtorff, J. D. (2009). Responsibility, ethics and legitimacy of corporations. Copenhagen, Denmark: Copenhagen Business School Press. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.library.capella.edu/lib/capella/docDetail.action?docID=10465558
o Part 3 is particularly applicable to this assessment.
You are encouraged to refer to the resources in the BUS-FP4801 – Ethics and Enterprise Library Guide to help direct your research.
Parameters of Ethical Decision Making
Ethical decision making within the business and organizational environment determines the direction and the speed with which an organization moves. Decision making refers to the sum of processes and investments, undergirding a specific choice or option. Apart from identifying and analyzing the available options, decision making is characterized by gathering information and assessing alternatives. In modern business and organizational arenas, the role of ethics in decision making is critical. Ethics might be defined as the sum of principles and related dictates surrounding the definition and determination of wrong and right. The primary role of ethics in decision making is ensuring ethical principles dictate the evaluation and choice of alternative.
Approaches to Ethical Decision Making
Approaches to ethical decision making differ from each other on the grounds of how they define and the extent to which they address ethical issues. Ethical decision-making approaches include rights, fairness or justice, utilitarian, virtue, and “common good.” The virtue approach is founded and designed to address ethical issues by focusing on the course of action or decision, resulting in the greatest nature and number of moral virtues. The common good ethical decision approach is designed to focus on how common good affecting the highest number of entities can be instituted. The utilitarian approach in ethical decision-making focuses on analyzing the harm and benefit presented in every decision or course of action, and advocates for the course of action that offers the best. The rights approach in ethical decision making is founded on moral rights. The main focus is placed on the parties’ moral rights and the decision or course of action that best addresses the maximum moral rights. The fairness or justice approach to ethical decision-making focuses on decisions that treat every entity in the fairest of ways and avoids all forms or instances of discrimination.
The Common Good Approach
The common good approach to ethical decisions works excellently in a myriad of situations. The primary reason behind this approach’s effectiveness is presented in its mandate to identify the entities shaping up a community, business, or defined group and ensure each member is empowered to improve the overall good of the whole. The common good approach assumes that the good of entities shaping up a community or related setting is inextricably linked and foundational to the community or group’s common good. According to the common good approach, members within a community or related setting are bound together by pursuing values and goals that are considered good. The value of this approach in making ethical decision within the societal setting is just as pronounced in the business arena. The common goal has unique resolutions which can feature in defining and addressing ethical problems specific to the business environment.
Wages and the Ethical Dilemma
Wages represent one of the most important elements or areas of functionality within a business. The amount of wage rate adopted by a business exemplifies the nature and level of motivation and provides grounds through which employees and the general public interpret the business’ definition and approach to success, honesty, fairness, and quality. In determining a wage rate, there is a myriad of factors taken into consideration. Some of the prominent wage determining factors include demand and supply, the business’ ability to pay, cost of living, prevailing market rates, productivity, bargaining and related requirements from trade unions and similar authorities, cost of training, and government regulations (Schwartz, 2017). The decision to set wages at a defined level falls squarely on a business’ administration. After the government and union expectations have been adhered to, the business is faced with a unique dilemma; to raise the wage and risk losses, or remain within the expected levels and lose the benefits attached to motivated employees.
The Common Good and Lasting Effects
One of the most important factors to consider in ethical decision-making is the lasting effects attached to every alternative. The common good approach is effective in addressing this responsibility. According to the approach, a problem should be analyzed in light of whether it is temporary or permanent and the nature of solutions that best fit into addressing it effectively. Naturally, an ethical decision will address the short and long term effects presented in a decision-making undertaking (Mitchell, 2019). For instance, raising the wage in the ethical dilemma would greatly impact both the short and long terms. Within the short term, increasing the wage rate will translate to higher motivational levels from the employees and act as a backdrop on which employee retention and excellence in customer care will begin to form. In the long term, the cost of increasing employee wages will be offset by an expanded customer base, positive company image, and high levels of motivation and loyalty from the employees.
Implementation and Evaluation in the Common Good
Ethical decision making in business invests just as much in implementation as it does in evaluation. Implementation and evaluation are at the core of the common good approach. Excellence in decision making demands that businesses engage in extensive research of all the alternatives presented in a decision-making process. The same approach should be employed in monitoring the implementing alternatives. In the implementation, ethical decision-making focuses on deciding on the various parties shaping up a business or institution. Ethical decision making attaches the same nature of importance to the evaluation as it does to implementation (Ferrell et al., 2018). Evaluation in ethical decision making is concerned with breaking down the implementation into its constituent elements and critiquing the impact of a decision in both the long and the short terms. Evaluation is designed to ensure implementation remains effective over time. The ethical dilemma case presented in the wage scenario significantly benefits from the implementation and evaluation presented in ethical decision making. In the implementation of increased wages, the company will focus on the direct and indirect implications of increased employee wages. The evaluation will primarily focus on identifying the benefits and disadvantages arising from the implementation of the specific alternative.
The Common Good and Extensive Consultation
Ethical decision making is founded on extensive consolation. The common good approach is designed to engage every member and deal with issues extensively. An ethical decision is as effective as the sum of all its inputs. Analysis of any problem requires a practical breakdown of all the elements shaping up the problem. Extensive consultation is the backdrop on which an ethical decision effectively engages most – if not all – of the elements shaping up a problem or ethical scenario (Schwartz, 2017). In the wage issue, the main problem is presented in the amount of wage to offer. A high wage has a unique implication and so does a low wage. Extensive consultation provides an arena for analysis of the details presented in every option within the decision making course.
Conclusively, it is evident to note that the common good approach is the best-suited choice in addressing the ethical dilemma presented in the wage scenario. The resolutions arising from utilizing the common good approach in dealing with the ethical dilemma are effective in both the short and the long terms. The primary and most crucial role of ethics in decision making is ensuring ethical principles dictate the evaluation and choice of alternative. Excellence in ethical decision making arises from taking into consideration the lasting effects attached to every option, making the most out of extensive consultations, and ensuring the best results from implementation and evaluation processes.
Ferrell, O. C., Fraedrich, J., & Ferrell. (2018). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Cengage Learning.
Mitchell, P. A. (2019). Ethical decision-making: Cases in organization and leadership. Stylus Publishing, LLC.
Schwartz, M. S. (2017). Business ethics: An ethical decision-making approach. John Wiley & Sons.