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Gen 300 Business Ethics

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Business Ethics

GEN/300

University of Phoenix

January 8, 2006

Introduction

This paper will discuss ethical situations in the workplace. We will look at examples of situations where individuals have made both proper and improper decisions based on their ethics. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ethics as "the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation, a set of moral principles or values and the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group." When comparing ethical work resolutions, it is revealed that, some workplaces practice sound ethical procedures while others do not. A better understanding of ethics in general by some companies will create resolutions that are handled correctly. Good ethic procedures help the working environment while bad ethical procedures can have a negative affect on all aspects of business.

Case Study One

In the first case study we have an example of an ethical situation that was resolved using sound ethics. Wile deployed to the Middle East, a Contracting Officer averted bad business relations and possible disciplinary actions by using proper judgment and good ethical values.

In November of 2004 the Contracting Officer was tasked with the procurement of a construction contract to build a new communications building for the base he was assigned too. He was in the middle of the procurement process when he received a phone call from one of the vendors asking to meet with him to discuss his proposal. The Contracting Officer agreed to the meeting and set a date. The day of the meeting arrived and the contractor came in to his office with a smile and a friendly handshake. They began the meeting by going over the requirements of the construction contract that he was trying to procure. The contractor asked if there was anything that he could do to increase his chances of being the winning bidder for this contract. The Contracting Officer began to tell him how he could put his proposal together to ensure he was meeting all the requirements of the solicitation. Then, the contractor stopped him and said "no, that is not what I mean, is there anything else I can do to ensure I am the winning bidder on this contract." The Contracting Officer asked what he meant by that and the vendor told him he would be willing to pay him to get this contract. The Contracting Officer immediately stopped the meeting and explained that this was an illegal practice and would not be tolerated. He had the contractor removed from the base and reported his actions to the Office of Special Investigations for further review.

Even though the Contracting Officer probably could have taken the money and never been caught, he made the proper ethical choice and made the right decision. This is what we call integrity or doing the right thing when no one else is looking. Some people may not have thought it would hurt anything for him to take the money. I mean whom would it truly have hurt to do this? Well, this Contracting Officer knew that if he had done this and anyone ever found out the results could have been catastrophic. It would have reflected badly on himself as well as the military and the United States as a whole.

When faced with decisions of ethical values we must take into account that they decision may not only affect us but also may have a domino effect and bring others into the problem. In a January 2005 article from The Economist it is stated, "The proper guardians of the public interest are governments, which are accountable to all citizens" (p20-s22). This same article also states "Some businessmen appear to believe that anything which is not outright illegal, however unethical, can be regarded as proper business conduct" (p20-s22). It is the responsibility of those placed in the position of stewardship of the tax payers money to make ethical decisions.

Case Study Two

In the second case study we have an example of an ethical situation that was resolved using poor ethics. As the part-time city Building Commissioner I become privy to both official and unofficial issues with the city. A few years ago, a small town city official attempted to destroy the life of his sister-in-law by abusing his elected power. As stated in The Miniature Guide to Understanding the Foundations of Ethical Reasoning by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder, "We are capable of acting towards others in such a way as to increase or decrease the quality of their lives"(2003, p. 2). Obviously, this statement rings true in this case. The abuse took a monetary toll for both the city and other parties that attempted to aid the young woman. Due to the misuse of power by the city official and the willingness of others in the community to participate, an unfortunate incident occurred.

The young woman in question was a divorced mother of three. She typically had to take work at the local bars to support her family. Her sister and brother-in-law had graciously accepted to watch her children while she worked. The local gossip tells the tale that the young mothers sister grew quite fond of the boys. This fondness grew to the point where the sister and brother-in-law attempted to use his power to assume the parental rights of the children. The plan was to use among other things, intimidation tactics against the mother.

Using power as a form of intimidation is hardly a new concept. In March of 1989 in the People Weekly, there's a story of a young woman in Alabama, Minda Riley who went through intimidation attempts because she was running for a Student Government position. The article states "Riley was attacked twice before the election" (p103).

The intimidation

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