Critically discuss the relationship between the organizational and individual factors that influence ethical decision making in business.
Undoubtedly, organizational and individual factors are closely connected when it comes to dealing with ethical problems. It is evident that the person coping with working dilemmas comes to realize that the organizational structure is involved in the matter as well as particular merits that serve as a driving force to resolve the questions. Thus, ethical decision-making process largely depends on the person’s extreme of morality and the organization’s level of ethical conscience.
The most interesting aspect of organizational factors that influence employees’ choices refers to the obedience to authority. It plays a crucial role in making decisions concerning work. The notion of obedience consists in following the employer’s orders. Ferrell, Fraedrich, and Ferrell (2010) state that “employees may feel that they are expected to carry out orders by a supervisor even if those orders are contrary to the employee’s sense of right and wrong” (p. 133).
Apart from obedience to authority, the decision-making process embraces the aspect of corporate culture. Although this factor belongs to the organizational ones, it has tight bonds with the individual values and ethical cognizance of every member of the working team. Concerning individual factors in particular, they present the issues of the influence that education, nationality, age and locus of control exert on the decision-making process. By means of taking into account all the factors, one may conclude that they correlate and affect all the matters that an employee may ever face and resolve.
Specifically, a person makes decisions paying attention to all the external and internal factors. That is why the relationship between them is obvious. To sum up, all the possible factors are interrelated when it comes to making an ethical decision. It is true that an organization influences the employee externally so he/she cannot neglect the interest of the authorities.
Compare and contrast the two teleological philosophies of egoism and utilitarianism.
To start with, the teleological philosophies in decision-making process mainly deal with the result of a particular action. Specifically, the action is morally right if it presupposes knowledge, pleasure, utility, the realization of self-interest (Ferrell, Fraedrich, & Ferrell, 2010, p. 155). Egoism and utilitarianism are the two main philosophies that govern the person’s behavior when it comes to decision making. The two philosophies are entirely different as they concern different number of people. However, they have one similar feature: consequence-oriented approach to the decision making.
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It is evident that the philosophy of egoism consists in the consequences. It mainly presents the issue of maximizing self-interest of a particular person. To put it plainly, the decision is made from the perspective that it should promote well-being and pleasure concerning the decision-maker. To tell the truth, this moral philosophy is widely spread in the today’s society. It is self-oriented and does not include the interests of the organization or its members. Nevertheless, the notion of enlightened egoism also exists. Even though an enlightened egoist pays attention to the interests of others, he/she believes in paramount importance of his/her own interests.
Apart from the above-mentioned philosophy of egoism, it is reasonable to mention the one that concerns utilitarianism as the basis of decision-making. However, the latter is seemingly different from the former one. The difference consists in the fact that although both philosophies are consequence-oriented, the philosophy of utilitarianism serves as the way of pleasing a great number of people. Thus, the decision-making process in utilitarianism considers the interests of many people. According to Ferrell et al. (2010), “a utilitarian decision maker calculates the utility of the consequences of all possible alternatives and then selects the one that results in the greatest benefit” (p. 156).
How can a person’s status within an organization create an opportunity for unethical behavior?
Nowadays, it is a widely accepted fact that the person’s status in the organization may serve as an opportunity for unethical behavior. It often happens that people who occupy high posts deviate from the ethical norms. They serve as means of building the wrong kind of motivation in their employees and direct their attention to pleasing their own interests. It is sufficient to say that people that are concerned with the higher posts sometimes experience the changes in their attitude to particular matters.
Unfortunately, there are some pitfalls of the key posts. Becoming a director is a thought-provoking challenge. It means that the director experiences a psychological breakdown – his/her social attitudes are being changed due to the reason that he/she comes to realize the level of his importance in the organization. Such realization provides the directors with power of their decisions. The opportunity for unethical behavior is thus created.
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It is of exceeding importance to define the notion of unethical behavior of a supervisor towards the subordinates. The unethical behavior consists in the fact that the supervisor has the wrong conception of his power. He or she cannot evaluate the situation following certain objectivity. Apparently, the supervisor is often subjective in making decisions. His or her power serves as a driving force in the behavioral aspect.
Undoubtedly, one has to mention the problem of leadership in this particular matter. Usually, the leader who is concerned with unethical behavior cannot make the right decisions as his or her problem recognition is low. It is obvious that unethical behavior exerts devastating effects on the working environments. That is why it is important for the leader to show objectivity without foregone conclusions in making decisions. This will eliminate the opportunities for unethical behavior.