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The Responsibility Project: Hot Seat Essay

How many times in the workplace have we passed the buck? No one wants to admit it but more times that often many of us have passed the blame or given the responsibility of something that we should have done to someone else. This paper will discuss the importance of the issues of the Hot Seat film. How the role of external social pressures influence organizational ethics. How the issues are relevant to organizational and personal decisions. The relationship between legal and ethical issues as shown in the film will be addressed. Lastly, I will describe how ethical principles can be used to address organizational issues.

The issue in the Hot Seat film was “passing the buck”. Passing the buck is defined as a person who avoids responsibility by shifting it to another. In the film there is a broken chair that keeps getting switched out from one person to another, instead of simply fixing the chair. The chair is literally going from one person to another and each individual knows that the chair is going around. The employees will not leave his or her desk in fear of having their chair swapped out for the broken chair. In the end one person takes his perfectly working chair and swaps it for the broken chair; taking it to his desk and rigging it to work properly.

This issue is important because we all have a tendency to pass the buck, to blame others for what goes wrong in our lives or avoid responsibility by shifting the responsibility. We can no longer pass the buck. Adulthood assumes maturity and the capability to take on accountability for ourselves. By delaying the responsibility of adulthood and succeeding accountability for one’s own behavior, our culture prolongs immaturity (“Ethics Daily”, 2012).

The roles of external social pressures influence organizational ethics greatly. The perception of business ethics has progressed considerably over time. Traditionally, it referred to operating a business in a way that does not break the law or violate any major moral guidelines. In the early 21st century, business ethics has expanded to include more practical efforts toward good citizenship and honest business practices. This is founded mostly on societal expectations that companies meet demands for honest treatment of customers, community involvement and charitable giving, fair working conditions for employees and environmentally friendly business activities (“Small Business Chronicles”, 2014). External social pressure has become a key driver in business ethics. This is particularly true for small businesses in smaller communities. The information age has contributed considerably to this increased importance of social pressure as word travel swiftly when companies fail to keep to social standards.

The issues of external social pressures influencing organizational ethics are relevant to organizational and personal decisions because those influences can potentially steer them in negative directions. Influence is a factor in almost all business decisions. Every person has the potential to influence another person. One must avoid all activity that may diminish, or even appear to diminish, the organizations credibility. Interests of the employer must be served at all times by those who are a part of company. As an organization external social pressures can be influence negatively when money is involved. Some individuals within the organization may be offered money for inside info or confidential information and both their moral and ethical values go out the door. This affects the decisions of not only the person individually but as an organization as well.

Within the film there were no legal issues shown as the short film is simply focused on the passing of the buck with the office equipment. The ethical issue was the passing the chair from one person to the next without even advising the person that the chair is broken. At least twice within the video two employees fell from the chair onto the floor still, no one informed anyone of authority of the issue so that it could be resolved.

Ethical principles can be used to address organizational issues in many ways. The media limelight, in recent years has focused on serious ethical lapses in every type of organization. As employees, it is essential that we care about ethics as most of us work for ethical organizations. Most important, regardless of what type of job we hold, we as individuals must care about ethics. It is important that we feel good about ourselves and the work we do. Organizations must care about ethics because employees depend on them to help define the limitations of acceptable and unacceptable behavior. In order to avoid criminal charges or bad reputations organizations may want to remain ethical.

Most companies are ethical because the human beings who run them believe it’s the right thing to do and want to be a part of a fair and just environment. Ethical lapses can cost an organization greatly in crushed customer confidence, increased government regulation, and huge fines. In some industries, companies have joined together in voluntary efforts to promote ethical conduct among organizations in the industry (Trevino & Nelson, 2007).

Ethics Daily. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.ethicsdaily.com/news.php?viewStory=14659 Small Business Chronicles. (2014). Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/can-external-social-pressure-influence-business-ethics-43961.html http://responsibility-project.libertymutual.com/films/hot-seat The Free Dictionary. (2014). Retrieved from http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/pass+the+buck

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