Business ethics Essay
?Values are individual in nature. ?Values are comprised of personal concepts of responsibility, entitlement and respect. ?Values are shaped by personal experience, may change over the span of a lifetime and may be influenced by lessons learned. ?Values may vary according to an individual’s cultural, ethnic and/or faith-based background. MORALS ?Morals are guiding principles that every citizen should hold. ?Morals are foundational concepts defined on both an individual and societal level. ?At the most basic level, morals are the knowledge of the difference between right and wrong.
?Simply put, all individuals are morally autonomous beings with the power and right to choose their values, but it does not follow that all choices and all value systems have an equal claim to be called ethical. ?Actions and beliefs inconsistent with the Six Pillars of Character – trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship – are simply not ethical. MORALITY AND ETHICS ?Concerns the goodness of voluntary human conduct that affects the self or other living things ?Morality (Latin mores) usually refers to any aspect of human action ?Ethics (Greek ethos) commonly refers only to professional behavior.
?Ethics consist of the application of fundamental moral principles and reflect our dedication to fair treatment of each other, and of society as a whole. ?
An individual’s own values can result in acceptance or rejection of society’s ethical standards because even thoughtfully developed ethical rules can conflict with individual values. UNIT II – ENGINEERING ETHICS ENGINEERING ETHICS is: • the study of moral issues and decisions confronting individuals and organizations involved in engineering and • the study of related questions about moral ideals, character, policies and relationships of people and organizations involved in technological activity.
• TRAINING IN PREVENTIVE ETHICS • Stimulating the moral imagination • Recognizing ethical issues • Developing analytical skills • Eliciting a sense of responsibility • Tolerating disagreement and ambiguity IMPEDIMENTS TO RESPONSIBILITY • Self-interest. • Fear. • Self-deception. • Ignorance. • Egocentric tendencies. • Microscopic vision. • Groupthink. CLEARLY WRONG ENGINEERING PRACTICES • Lying • Deliberate deception • Withholding information • Failing to adequately promote the dissemination of information • Failure to seek out the truth.
• Revealing confidential or proprietary information • Allowing one’s judgment to be corrupted. MORAL DILEMMMA There are three types of complexities. ?VAGUENESS: This complexity arises due to the fact that it is not clear to individuals as to which moral considerations or principles apply to their situation. ?CONFLICTING REASONS: Even when it is perfectly clear as to which moral principle is applicable to one’s situation, there could develop a situation where in two or more clearly applicable moral principles come into conflict. ?
DISAGREEMENT: Individuals and groups may disagree how to interpret, apply and balance moral reasons in particular situations. Steps in confronting MORAL DILEMMAS: i) Identify the relevant moral factors and reasons. ii) Gather all available facts that are pertinent to the moral factors involved. iii) Rank the moral considerations in the order of their importance as they apply to the situation. iv) Consider alternative course of action, tracing the full implications of each, as ways of solving dilemma. v) Talk with colleagues, seeking the suggestions and perspectives of the dilemma.
vi) Arrive at a carefully reasoned judgment by weighing all the relevant moral factors and reasons in light of facts. All the above steps are distinct, even though they are inter-related and can often be taken jointly MORAL AUTONOMY • This is viewed as the skill and habit of thinking rationally about ethical issues on the basis of moral concerns independently or by self-determination. • Autonomous individuals think for themselves and do not assume that customs are always right. • They seek to reason and live by general principles. • Their motivation is to do what is morally reasonable for its own sake, maintaining integrity, self-respect, and respect for others. .
PROFESSIONS AND PROFESSIONALISM
Engineers normally imagine that they are servants to organizations rather than a public guardian. Responsibility to the public is essential for a professional. Who is a professional? • Obviously a member of a profession. What is a profession? ‘JOB’ or ‘OCCUPATION’ that meets the following criteria from which a person earns his living. ?Knowledge – Exercise of skills, knowledge, judgment and discretion requiring extensive formal criteria. ?Organization – special bodies by members of the profession to set standard codes of ethics, ?Public good-The occupation serves some important public good indicated by a code of ethics.
Who is a professional engineer? • Has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an accredited school • Performs engineering work • Is a registered and licensed Professional Engineer • Acts in a morally responsible way while practicing engineering PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY ?Being morally responsible as a professional. ?Most basic and comprehensive professional virtue. ?Creation of useful and safe technological products while respecting the autonomy of clients and public, especially in matters of risk taking. MORAL INTEGRITY Moral integrity is the unity of character on the basis of moral concern, and especially on the basis of honesty.
The unity is consistency among our attitudes, emotions and conduct in relation to justified moral values. SELF-RESPECT ?Valuing oneself in morally appropriate ways. ?Integral to finding meaning in one’s life and work ?A pre-requisite for pursuing other moral ideals and virtues. ?Self-respect is a moral concept of properly valuing oneself but self-esteem is a psychological concept of positive attitude towards oneself. MORAL AUTONOMY ?People are morally autonomous when their moral conduct and principles of action are their own. ?
Moral beliefs and attitudes must be a critical reflection and not a passive adoption of the particular conventions of one’s society, religion or profession. ?Moral beliefs and attitudes cannot be agreed to formally and adhered to merely verbally. ?They must be integrated into the core of one’s personality and should lead to committed action. ?It is wrong to think that as an employee when one performs ‘acts’ serving company’s interests, one is no longer morally and personally identified with one’s actions. ACCOUNTABILITY: ?Responsible people accept moral responsibility for their actions. ?
Accountability is the willingness to submit one’s actions to moral scrutiny and be open and responsive to the assessment of others.
?It should be understood as being culpable and blameworthy for misdeeds. Submission to an employer’s authority creates in many people a narrow sense of accountability for the consequences of their action. This is because of i) Only a small contribution is made by one individual, when large scale engineering work is fragmented. The final product which is far away from one’s immediate workplace, does not give a proper understanding of the consequences of one’s action. ii) Due to the fragmentation of work, a vast diffusion of accountability takes place. The area of personal accountability is delimited to the portion of work being carried out by one. iii)
The pressure to move on to another new project does not allow one to complete the observations long enough. This makes people accountable only for meeting schedules and not for the consequences of action. iv) To avoid getting into legal issues, engineers tend to concentrate more on legal liabilities than the containment of the potential risks involved in their area of work. Viewing engineering as a social experimentation makes one overcome these difficulties and see the problem in whole rather than as part. ENGINEERING CODES OF ETHICS Engineering Codes of Ethics have evolved over time EARLY CODES •Codes of personal behavior.
•Codes for honesty in business dealings and fair business practices • Employee/employer relations NEWER CODES •Emphasize commitments to safety, public health and environmental protection •Express the rights, duties and obligations of members of the Profession •Do not express new ethical principles, but coherently restate existing standards of responsible engineering practice •Create an environment within the Profession where ethical behavior is the norm •Not legally binding; an engineer cannot be arrested for violating an ethical code (but may be expelled from or censured by the engineering society) CODES OF ETHICS – ROLES OR FUNCTIONS 1.
Inspiration and Guidance: ?Codes provide positive stimulus for ethical conduct and helpful guidance by using positive language. ?Codes should be brief to be effective and hence such codes offer only general guidance. ?Supplementary statements or guidelines to give specific directions are added by a number of societies or professional bodies. 2. Support: ?Codes give positive support to those seeking to act ethically. ?An engineer under pressure to act unethically can use one of the publicly proclaimed codes to get support for his stand on specific moral issues. ?Codes also serve as legal support for engineers. 3. Deterrence and discipline:
?Codes can be used as a basis for conducting investigations on unethical conduct. ?They also provide a deterrent for engineers to act immorally. ?Engineers who are punished by professional societies for proven unethical behaviour by revoking the rights to practice as engineers are also subjected to public ridicule and loss of respect from colleagues and local community. ?
This helps to produce ethical conduct even though this can be viewed as a negative way of motivation. UNIT IV – RESPONSIBILITIES AND RIGHTS Colleagiality & Its Elements ‘Collegiality is a kind of connectedness grounded in respect for professional expertise and in a commitment to the goals and values of the profession and as such, collegiality includes a disposition to support and co-operate with one’s colleagues’.
– Craig Ihara The central elements of collegiality are respect, commitment, connectedness and co- operation. Respect: Acknowledge the worth of other engineers engaged in producing socially useful and safe products. Commitment : Share a devotion to the moral ideals inherent in the practice of engineering. Connectedness : Aware of being part of a co-operative undertaking created by shared commitments and expertise. Collegiality, like most virtues, can be misused and distorted.
It should not be reduced to ‘group interest’ but should be a shared devotion for public good. It is not defaming colleagues, but it does not close the eyes to unethical practices of the co-professionals, either. Classifications of Loyalty ?Agency-Loyalty oFulfill one’s contractual duties to an employer. oDuties are particular tasks for which one is paid oCo-operating with colleagues oFollowing legitimate authority within the organization. ?Identification-Loyalty: oIt has to do with attitudes, emotions and a sense of personal identity. oSeeks to meet one’s moral duties with personal attachment and affirmation.
oIt is against detesting their employers and companies, and do work reluctantly and horribly (this is construed as disloyalty) This means oAvoid conflicts of interest, oInform employers of any possible conflicts of interest, oProtect confidential information, oBe honest in making estimates, oAdmit one’s errors, etc. Loyalty – Obligation of Engineers Agency-Loyalty oEngineers are hired to do their duties. oHence obligated to employers within proper limits Identification-Loyalty Obligatory on two conditions; 1. When some important goals are met by and through a group in which the engineers participate 2.
When employees are treated fairly, receiving the share of benefits and burdens. But clearly, identification-loyalty is a virtue and not strictly an obligation. Relationship – Professionalism and Loyalty 1. Acting on professional commitments to the public is more effective to serve a company than just following company orders. 2. Loyalty to employers may not mean obeying one’s immediate supervisor. 3. Professional obligations to both an employer and to the public might strengthen rather than contradict each other. Need for Authority Authority is needed since a) Allowing everyone to exercise uncontrolled individual discretion creates chaos.
(confusion). b) Clear lines of authority identifies areas of personal responsibility and accountability. ‘Confidentiality or confidential information’ oInformation considered desirable to be kept secret. oAny information that the employer or client would like to have kept secret in order to compete effectively against business rivals. oThis information includes how business is run, its products, and suppliers, which directly affects the ability of the company to compete in the market place oHelps the competitor to gain advantage or catch up Privileged information, Proprietary information and Patents.
oPrivileged information: ?‘Information available only on the basis of special privilege’ such as granted to an employee working on a special assignment. oProprietary information: ?Information that a company owns or is the proprietor of. ?This is primarily used in legal sense. ?Also called Trade Secret. A trade secret can be virtually any type of information that has not become public and which an employer has taken steps to keep secret. oPatents: ?Differ from trade secrets. ?Legally protect specific products from being manufactured and sold by competitors without the express permission of the patent holder.
?They have the drawback of being public and competitors may easily work around them by creating alternate designs. Conflict of Interest Conflict of Interest arises when two conditions are met: 1. The professional is in a relationship or a role that requires exercising good judgment on behalf of the interests of an employer or client and 2. The professional has some additional or side interest that could threaten good judgment in serving the interests of the employee or client. E. g.
When an engineer is paid based on a percentage of the cost of the design and there is no incentive for him to cut costs- The distrust caused by this situation compromises the engineers’ ability to cut costs and calls into question his judgement. Conflict of Interest created by Interest in other companies ?When one works actually for the competitor or subcontractor as an employee or consultant. ?Having partial ownership or substantial stock holdings in the competitor’s business. ?
It may not arise by merely having a spouse working for sub-contractor to one’s company, but it will arise if one’s job also includes granting contracts to that subcontractor. ?Tempting customers away from their current employer, while still working for them to form their own competing business. ?Moonlighting usually creates conflicts when working for competitors, suppliers or customers but does not conflict when working for others without affecting the present employer’s business.
‘Moonlighting’ means working in one’s spare time for another employer. Conflicts of Interest created by Insider information oUsing inside information to set-up a business opportunity for oneself or family or friends. oBuying stock in the company for which one works is not objectionable but it should be based on the same information available to the public.
oThe use of any company secrets by employee to secure a personal gain threatens the interest of the company. Avoiding Conflicts Of Interests oTaking guidance from Company Policy oIn the absence of such a policy taking a second opinion from a coworker or manager. This gives an impression that there no intension on the part of the engineer to hide anything. oIn the absence of either of these options, to examine ones own motives and use the ethical problem solving techniques. oOne can look carefully into the professional codes of ethics which uniformly forbid conflicts of interest.
Some of these codes have very explicit statements that can help determine whether or not the situation constitutes conflict of interest. Right of Professional Conscience oThere is one basic and generic professional right of engineers, the moral right to exercise responsible professional judgment in pursuing professional responsibilities. oPursuing these responsibilities involves exercising both technical judgment and reasoned moral convictions.
oThis basic right can be referred to as the right of professional conscience. Professional Rights & Ethical Theories 1. Rights Ethics: oThe most basic human right, which needs no justification, as per A. I. Meldon, is to pursue one’s legitimate (those that do not violate others’ rights) interests. oThe right to pursue legitimate interests gives a person right to pursue professional moral obligations. oThis may be viewed as a human right of conscience directly derived from the basic human right.
2. Duty Ethics: oI have a right to something only because others have duties or obligations to allow me (and not interfere) to do so. oIf we derive the meaning of ‘others’ as employers, then the basic professional right is justified by reference to others’ duties to support or not interfere with the work related exercise of conscience by professionals. 3. Utilitarianism: oPublic good can be served by allowing professionals to meet their obligations to the public. oThese obligations arise due to the professional’s role in promoting public good. oThe basic goal of producing the most good for the greatest number of people is enough to justify the right of professional conscience.
o Employee Rights Employee rights are any rights, moral or legal, that involve the status of being an employee. Employee rights are: ?There should be no discrimination against an employee for criticizing ethical, moral or legal policies and practices of the organization. ?The organization will not also discriminate against an employee for engaging in outside activities or for objecting to an organization directive that violates common norms of morality. ?
The employee will not be deprived of any enjoyment of reasonable privacy in his/her workplace. ?No personal information about employees will be collected or kept other than what is necessary to manage the organization efficiently and to meet the legal requirements. ?No employee who alleges that her/his rights have been violated will be discharged or
penalized without a fair hearing by the employer organization. Some clear examples: falsifying data, avoidance on the safety of a product Intellectual Property Rights ?Intellectual Property is a product of the human intellect that has commercial value ?Many of the rights of the ownership common to real and personal property are also common to Intellectual Property ?Intellectual Property can be bought, sold, and licensed ?Similarly it can be protected against theft and infringement by others Patent, Design & Trademark together with Copyright form TOTAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Patent 1.
Derived from the Latin word ‘LITTERAE PATENTES’ which means ‘Open Letters’ or ‘Open Documents’ to confer rights and privileges. 2. A contract between an Inventor and the Government 3. An exclusive privilege monopoly right granted by the Government to the Inventor 4. Invention may be of an Industrial product or process of manufacture 5. Invention should be new, non-obvious, useful and patentable as per Patents Act 6. The right to the inventor is for limited period of time and valid only within the territorial limits of a country of grant. Examples: a drug compound, a tool, maybe software effects DESIGN?
Meant for beautifying an industrial product to attract the consumer public ?Shaping, Configuration or Ornamentation of a vendible Industrial product ?Exclusive ‘Design Rights’ to the originator for a limited term ?Patents & design embrace the production stage of an industrial activity TRADE MARK ?Trade Mark is a name or symbol adopted for identifying goods ?Public can identify from the Trade Mark from whom the product is emanating ?Trade Marks protection is given for an industrial product by the Government Examples: Channel No. 5’s smell, Jacque Villeneuve’s face! COPY RIGHTS ?The right to original literary and artistic works.
• Literary, written material • Dramatic, musical or artistic works • Films and audio-visual materials • Sound recordings • Computer Programmes/software • SOME databases Example: Picasso’s Guernica, Microsoft code, Lord of the Ring. What are the most common conflicts? oConflicts over schedules, depending mostly on support depts. but where managers do not have any control. oConflicts over which is the most important dept or function at a given time oConflicts over personnel resources oConflicts over technical issues oConflicts over administrative procedures oPersonality conflicts oConflicts over costs.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 6 November 2016
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