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Ethical dilemmas in the workplace Essay

Business managers must practice ethics in the workplace. Managers are faced with a variety of situations and decisions in which they need to objectively resolve. They must work with individuals from diverse background and differing values and principles. Consider some of the following workplace dilemmas. Explore the online library for scholarly articles on ethical dilemmas in the workplace. Using Microsoft Word, prepare a document that includes the following: Discuss some of the common ethical dilemmas managers face in the workplace. Compare and contrast the ethical dilemmas that managers face to ethical dilemmas employees face in the workplace. Why is it important for managers to build trust, commitment, and effort among stakeholders associated with the firm? What value does it provide to the organization? How does it impact employees? Discuss your thoughts on employee e-mail monitoring in the workplace. Is it ethical? Is it justified? Does whistle-blowing violate company loyalty? Should an employee blow the whistle if they are aware of wrongdoing?

I think we all have heard about workplace ethics. I think what most people fail to realize is that ethics are ethics. To think that there is a separate definition for workplace ethics is just untrue. Ethics are when we are faced with the right or wrong choice. A good ethical decision is when we make the right choice even when it may be the harder of the two decisions. There are some golden rules or popular phrases that we may recite just to keep one another on track. Phrases such as treat others as you want to be treated or don’t hurt, steal or lie or my favorite practice what you preach (Curry, 2012).

Some of the common Ethical dilemmas in the workplace are: Conducting personal business on company time. I think this occurs because most of our weekday time is spent working. The temptations are too use the time to try and take care of stuff that even a lunch break won’t allow you to accomplish. Some of the that personal business may include doctor’s appointments, reservations, surfing the web or even running a side business for your personal gain. Another area where we may cross the line of ethics in the workplace is taking credit for someone else’s work. If we are tasked as a team but not assigned individual tasks to come up with some result then it may be easy for someone to sit back and take some of the credit. That’s why it’s important to delegate work so that when it comes together as one all can benefit. Another area that we can find ourselves involved in some negative ethical workplace behaviors is when we are harassed or see harassing behaviors in the workplace. Employees often don’t know what to do if they see one of their co-workers harassing another employee, either mentally, sexually or physically. Employees may worry for their jobs if they attempt to report a superior for harassment (Rafner, 2010).

By comparison Ethics are the same no matter who you are or what position you hold within a company. The difference is employees shouldn’t have to worry when reporting unethical behaviors and Managers should act on them quickly as well as being professional when they are conducting investigations etc. As a whole Companies are generally expected to provide fair working conditions for their employees in the business environment. Having an employee handbook that outlines both management as well as employees acceptable behaviors in my opinion will leave no doubts of what is acceptable in the workplace (Rafner, 2010).

It is important for managers to build trust and commitment amongst its stakeholders because without them there is no business. Management cannot be everywhere so in their absence managers need to be sure the company can and will be ran just as if they were standing next to that employee. What that does is create a sense of self worth and is a motivating factor and a good thing to have. Employees/stakeholders/customers do not like shady practices and often it is a sign of a poorly run business. When issues arise it is important to know that management is committed to a result that is not only is good for business but makes the customer (who is just as much a stakeholder) feel good! To take it one step further it seems in my experience companies that have open door policies seem to be the most caring. Employees really appreciate the chance to be able to voice concerns and not feel like a number. I believe this shows that mangers are committed to the overall well being of not only the stake holders but the image of the company. However, those reviews are mixed when it comes to what powers managers actually have especially when it comes to employee monitoring.

An old 2001 CNN poll suggests from a study of human-resources professionals at 722 companies, found 74 percent saying they monitor workers’ Internet use at work; 72 percent said they check on employees’ e-mail; 51 percent said they review phone calls. The workplace privacy survey was conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), with West Group (CNN, 2001). Surely those numbers have risen or at a minimum went unchanged especially since technology as advanced greatly in the last ten years no doubt. I don’t think there is any question that it is perfectly legal for employers to read employee mail especially on employers provided e-mail accounts. Courts in my opinion seem like it would uphold just about any company’s right to monitor an employee’s e-mail especially when there is reason to believe the employee is doing something wrong on company property.

At every place I have recently worked there has been a form to sign acknowledging that email isn’t private. Employers also may have “key logger” software in place that investigates certain buzzwords not only for the protection of the business but its employees and customers as well. To be honest unless its company related this should be a dead issue. You don’t have anything to worry about if you’re not doing anything wrong. It’s just that simple! There are so many things these days that get judged or talked about at the workplace it’s hard not to wonder or worry. This paper talked about some of the Ethical Dilemma’s in the workplace but what about whistle blowing? What should an employee do?

I don’t know if whistle blowing violates company loyalty but it sure would make it an uncomfortable place to be if it occurred often. I would have to think that morale would suffer and the chance of derogatory behaviors would increase. Too much of it you may even see a threat of workplace violence. I don’t think an employee has an obligation of loyalty to a company, even a prima facie one, because companies are not the kind of things that are properly objects of loyalty. I do however feel that loyalty is a real bond between people and should be something that for the sake of the entire group should always be intact. I think that employees are there to work and they shouldn’t have to play police officer however if something someone does would have a negative impact or result in some adverse reaction then I think reporting it would only benefit the group. Not everyone is going to get along and there will always be differences but to report each person every time they blink wrong is a vendetta that companies hate to see. I think the Utilitarian approach of greatest good for the greatest numbers has to come to play when blowing the whistle unless of course it’s an ethics violation outlined by the employee handbook or against the everyday code of ethics.


Larue Tone Hosmer, 2011 The Ethics of Management, A Multidisciplinary Approach

Myron Curry, 2012 Ethics in the workplace, retrieved December 21st, 2012 from: http://ezinearticles.com/?Ethics-In-The-Workplace&id=12475

Don Rafner, 2010 Common Ethical Workplace Dilemmas retrieved December 20th , 2012 from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/common-ethical-workplace-dilemmas-748.html

CNN , 2001 Monitoring employees: Eyes in the workplace retrieved December
21st, 2012 from: http://articles.cnn.com/2001-01-02/business/surveillence_1_lewis-maltby-national-workrights-institute-monitoring-employees?_s=PM:CAREER

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