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Workplace Dilemma

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Workplace Dilemma and Conflict of Values

Ethics refers to well based standards of right and wrong that prescribe what people ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethical standards include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. These standards do not always dictate a single “ethical” course of action, but provide a means of evaluating and deciding among competing options. Feelings, laws, social norms, or upbringing can deviate from what is ethical. Therefore, it is necessary to constantly examine one's standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well founded. Ethics is concerned with how a moral person should behave as opposed to one’s values that determine how one actually behaves based on inner judgments. A person must keep both in mind when one’s beliefs are used in deciding what is right and wrong. Ethics and ethical values have found its place in the business world, where ethical conduct may translate into either success or failure. Ethical conduct is important to ensure smooth running of the company. Each employee brings his or hers personal ethics to their workplace, and this is what personal behavior is based upon until the person accepts the company’s culture including its ethics. If you gather just one department from an information technology organization in a large company in the United States, chances are you will encounter quite a few different cultural or religious backgrounds, as well as a few differing child rearing and socialization practices. Each of these factors has its input into personal ethics. The relationship between management and subordinates is the subject for a few written and un-written rules. The situation I am going to describe here is that of work ethics and values of a senior IT manager and how it daily work experience and morale of the department were affected. Out of many workplace ethical conflicts I’ve seen in a several years, this one is the most memorable since it affected emotional well-being of employees because the senior manager tried to change the existing culture in the department and force her personal values on eighty persons working under her, which is unethical in my perspective.

When I first started work at the department, it was thought to be the IT department to work in. This perception was mostly due to the positive relationships between employees, their willingness to work together, and their high satisfaction with mid and senior level management. These facts were also proven by the employee survey conducted among all departments in the company. “9 to 5” was not a major characteristic here. Many people put in more than the regular forty hours of work, and many times staying to help out the team to work out emergency issues. None of this was done with resentment. They knew that their time will be appreciated at review time, that no one will question their long lunch or leaving early, or taking a few extra hours off. The management was also very active with creating opportunities for the staff to spend time together outside of the office setting, such as having department picnics to celebrate the end of a year, or a Christmas gifts exchange with most gifts being more fun than valuable. All this changed when Deb entered the pictured due to some rotation of senior management.

Unfortunately Deb came in with her set of values and views, which drastically changed the environment. She failed to understand what made this department a great place to work, and that was the bonds between employees built outside of the office during informal gatherings. Let me illustrate a few examples. The most fun part of departmental Christmas parties, outside of the office, was to play a “grandma’s grab bag” game to exchange gifts brought in by participants; the gifts varied in their value and many of them were just plain funny. The new manager prohibited using alcoholic beverages



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