The topic of this paper is based upon an experience that occurred during my course of employment in an IT organization. The situation that led me to an ethical and moral dilemma occurred due to a rather rash decision that my superiors in the organization had taken earlier this year during the holidays. The situation was that the management had decided that they were doing to shut down a certain business process as the employees in the business process were unable to turn in profits for the past three months (Barad and Patel, n.d.). The process that was being shut down was operating at an optimum level for a whole year prior the point from where it started to deteriorate. The reason behind this deterioration was that some of the veteran employees associated with the optimum functionality of the process had left the organization for better prospects. The inexperienced team of employees was trying their best to enhance the process quality and revenue generation but, they were largely unsupervised and thus were unable to take their performance to the level where it matched to that of the previous employees.
As a consequence the management had decided that the best way to deal with the solution was to shut down that particular business process before the process becomes a burden and the employees’ mere liabilities. The solution was provided by the operations manager. Being the assistant to the HR manager I found this step to be unethical. This because of the reason that it was the responsibility of the organization to deal with the situation with a more pragmatic approach like providing proper supervision to the employees associated with the process or providing a proper training schedule to the employees where they would be able o develop their skills in the ways through which the process could be run effectively (Barthold, 2013). Furthermore, being the Assistant Human Resources Manager I found this action of sacking all those employees without giving them a proper opportunity to develop their skills to be highly unethical from the management’s part. Furthermore, it was the holiday season and at a very sentimental time like this the company had chosen to apply this method, which I believed to be immoral on the management’s part. In addition to this the employees would not be awarded with any kind of bonus amount for the holidays.
Therefore, I decided to come up with a solution that would help the employees save their jobs. This required creation of a whole new process that would be able to employ that amount of workforce. So, I conveyed my plans to the HR manager who in turn conveyed the plan to the management (Boulding, 2013). The plan was to create a training session for the employees during which they would be trained by the operational executives. The company at that moment was unable to spare any of the operational executives at that time for, if they could afford to pay an executive extra amount to train the fresh batch of employees they would have done so in the first place. During such a predicament I volunteered to provide training sessions to them. This would save them from getting sacked at the moment, help them in developing their skills and also let them earn stipends during the training period. I decided that the training would be more of on-job training and I would function as a supervisor along with managing my own job responsibilities.
The course of action which took against the decision that the management had taken in the situation expressed in the description section relate to three normative theories namely; Virtue of ethics theory, Deontological ethics, and Ethics of care. An analysis on these three theories has been presented in this part to provide an understanding on the values these theories impart.
As the name of the theory suggests, this particular theory of normative ethics deals with the express concern relating towards virtue of character and mind, there are three concepts that drives this normative theory which are namely Eudaimonia meaning flourishing, Phronesis meaning ethical or realistic acumen, and Arete meaning virtue. This particular theory explores the field of ethics that result out of the innate nature of an individual i.e. the traits an individual bears in them. Therefore, it can be assumed that the concepts that are mentioned are simply a manifestation of the individual’s character and personality traits.
According to this theory it is assumed that the actions of an individual are nothing more than mere reflection of his or her character and personality. It is the innate nature of the individual that drives them towards taking actions that have a positive or negative effect on the people upon whom the actions have been taken. In this particular case, the management consisting of a congregation of men and women who were considered to be more of a responsible nature along with possessing far superior intellect and charge with the well being of the company had taken a decision that was adversely affecting both the company and the employees associated with the company. This decision of theirs if evaluated on the basis of normative theories would not show any immorality. This is due to the reason that the responsibility they had to maintained clouded their minds and obstructed their vision from the goal. The goal here was to prevent the deterioration of the company and incite development. Therefore, in order to prevent the deterioration they found that it would rather be easy to solve the problem by amputating the affected limb than actually seeking out ways to prevent the disease from doing further harm. In comparison, the decision that was taken from my end was largely concerned with the genuine way to improve the functioning of the company. Therefore, I sought to take care of the affected limb and treated it medically so that it wouldn’t require amputation and within due course of time it would recover and function as normal.
The virtue that I demonstrated in this situation stemmed from the similar sought of ethics that was similar to that of the management’s. However, the matter that made the decisive difference was that the way I thought would solve the problem. If the management had shown disregard to the solution I had come up with it would have been an issue of contrasting virtues, where two different and contrasting set of virtues come into conflict. Primarily, the conflict occurs when a positive virtue or an ethical virtue comes into a clash against a negative virtue or an unethical virtue. As there was no sign of restraint or disregard shown towards the idea that I had presented in front of the management, it can be assumed that the management did not possess any unethical virtue in the conscience. It was that they merely overlooked this aspect while making their decision.
This subject of normative theory purely analyzes the rights and duties of individuals and believes that the decision that comes out of an individual’s mind is directly the result of the analysis on the aforementioned rights and duties. The Deontological ethics theory can also be said to be the theory concerned with a rational decision making process and is the most popular theories in most decision making processes. Based on the concepts constituting this theory it can be taken that every individual have their own set of rights and duties. These rights and duties of individuals come into inconsistency when it is infringed by another individual.
As in the expression related in the description part it is observed that the employees of the business process were being sacked with hardly any fault of theirs. This was an infringement in the employees’ right to employment and fair wages. However, the right was only plausible if the employees had been able to complete the duties assigned to them. As the duties of the employees were not fulfilled by them then their right to be employed in the company became questionable. Here, the management had taken the correct course of action of sacking the employees and shutting down that particular business process if only the management had fulfilled the duties from its own end. The duty of the management was to provide a comfortable workspace to the employees, which would consist of the work satisfaction that the employees had drawn from their activities and contribution to the company, which in turn would have occurred if only the employees were properly trained and administered. This was the primary duty of the management towards the employees. Now, as I had already mentioned that the management was unable to provide training and administering facilities to the employees of that business process due to the lack of resources, the management was unable to perform its duty. Moreover, as the management was unable to perform its basic duty the employees were unable to execute the responsibilities assigned to them in the course of fulfilling the duties and this resulted in the failure from the employees end in fulfilling the duties from their end.
At the same time, as a consequence to the failure in fulfilling their duties the employees did not have the right to exercise their right of employment and fair wages. However, by the virtue of unable to fulfill its duties towards the employees it would be highly unethical on the management’s part if they sought to exercise their right to seek remedy by terminating the services of incompetent employees. Therefore, it is evident that the result which the employees had demonstrated was actually orchestrated by the management. So, to provide an ethical solution to this scenario it should be the management who offers remuneration. Consequently, as a part of the management I felt the need of analyzing the matter closely and in the context of the Deontological ethical theory, which led me to come up with this decision that would support the right cause.
The Ethics of Care theory in the normative theories was developed based on the principles of feminism but, according to the observations noted from well known case studies it has been developed that this particular theory has its effective application in situations where the both the parties are male. This is due to the fact that this particular theory largely bases its concept upon the feminine thoughts of morality and compassion. The principles of this theory are purely the reflection of high values of morality as perceived by a virtuous woman. It has been well established fact that women are capable of understanding a problem in a better way in comparison to men. This is because of the innate nature of the fair sex of being an apt listener. Furthermore, by the virtue of being soft hearted or of mild nature women tend to show more compassion towards the wronged than the men, and it is the compassionate way of thinking that stems the thinker to take up the rightful course of action. The theory bases its concepts upon the following four elements, which are namely:
The scenario I had described in the description part had a sentimental touch to it as; the management had taken its arbitrary decision during the holidays. This time of the year is much awaited by all the people. This particular time of the year is meant to share and spread joys and happiness among all the people one comes across. So, during a situation like this the decision taken by the management seemed way harsher. The situation would not have been a pragmatic one even if it had occurred during anytime of the year but, holidays have a different sort of effect on the people’s minds.
As consequence, the decision that came out of me was actually a result of this theory as well. The situation has already been discussed in the previous paragraph, which made me want to find a way that would not carry away the smiles from the faces of so many folks in a matter of time. The moral dilemma here in this case was that the employees did not even face a fair challenge; they were not even given a fair chance to demonstrate their efficiency or an opportunity to develop themselves. As a part of the management I was not ready to accept this, this compelled me to come with a way out that would genuinely provide a solution to the concerning situation.
Based on the ethical theories I did what seemed fair to me in the situation I have discussed in the description. This is due to the fact that the decision that the management had taken in the first place was purely professional and was based on the short term benefit of the company (ten Bos, 2007). The ethical theories suggest that the course of action of any business should be oriented towards the long term benefit the business would be able to reap. Therefore, in this case the management had decided to shut down a successful process based on a couple of month’s performance. The reason behind the deteriorating performance was largely responsible on the issue that the management was unable to provide adequate training sessions to its fresh and inexperienced employees (Pullen and Rhodes, 2014). Therefore, it was evident that if the employees were given proper training and supervision they would be able to perform in a better manner. This would result in slowing the deterioration and helping the employees keep their jobs. My intervention in the company’s decision did help the company to great extent as the employees were able to perform better with rudimentary training I provided them which in turn helped the company amass resources to provide further orientation and training to the employees. Being a part of the company’s management I felt happy with my contribution.
Based on the ethical theories included in the preceding section my action and endeavor to the employee demonstrated a humanitarian approach. As per the humanitarian ground the employees were on the verge of losing their jobs with hardly any fault from their behalf. It is the responsibility of every management in the business organizations to look after its employees, to nurture them, to provide them with the opportunity so that they are able to develop their skills and make their contribution to the company. If an employee after receiving all the aspects mentioned is unable to perform then the management has a right to terminate his or her services (Science's Ethical Dilemma, 2012). But in cases like this, a drastic measure such as mass termination violates humanitarian approach. I am glad that I could prevent such gross violation.
It is evident that if I am faced with such situation I would be glad to stand for the ethics and morality I stood for in this situation. Provided that I am given the opportunity by the management to execute or undertake such operations. This is due to the fact that in this case the management was open to the idea which was presented to them by me. During such a predicament I volunteered to provide training sessions to them. This would save them from getting sacked at the moment, help them in developing their skills and also let them earn stipends during the training period (Slote, 2014). I decided that the training would be more of on-job training and I would function as a supervisor along with managing my own job responsibilities. However, situations may vary and depending on the authorization I would be glad to help out the employees and the organization as according to me this is the best solution that can be reaped out of situations similar to this (Spence, 2011).
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