The concept of ethics is very essential in the development of operational strategies in any business organization. Various decision-making procedures right from the time of recruitment of employees, defining the goals and objectives of the organization, designing the appropriate organizational structure, developing the organizational strategies, and integration of the strategies in the business operations all require ethical consideration.
This course on business ethics has endowed us with the ability to make ethical judgments when handling issues that often arise at different workplaces.
It touched on different issues that are encountered at workplace like discrimination based gender, harassment at work, alcohol and drug testing on the new employees in an organization, business and individual privacy, and the impacts that the operations of the organization has on the environment. However, ethics in business remains to have various controversies (Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, 2009, p.5).
Module 1 of the course had some of the most striking concepts encountered in the contemporary business world. The module comprised ethical consideration relating to privacy in business. Privacy has been regarded as a legal right of an individual for a long time (Frye, 2001, p.32). The current market is competitive and business organizations are striving to acquire or maintain a higher market position.
This is often achieved through the kind of relationship that the business organizations develop with the stakeholders especially the clients of the organization. A good privacy statement by a given business organization will strengthen the kind of trust that the clients have in the organization thereby retaining such clients (Zahorsky, 2011, para.7). Utilitarianism, one of the ethical principles, is illustrated in this module.
The principle asserts that an ethical act is that which yields the greatest amount of good for the majority in a given setting (Kay, 1997, para.1). The concept of utilitarianism is often difficult to comprehend in the normal context as the kind of the “goodness” it requires may not be defined explicitly. The other party may regard what seems good to one party as bad. However, in this context, it was very clear that establishing a private policy that protects the information on consumers was of benefit both to the organization and to the clients.
A good privacy statement will explain to the clients why the information concerning them is needed by the organization, how the information will be used in the organization, the individuals who will be allowed access to such information, and how the information will be protected from unauthorized users (Zahorsky, 2011, para.8).
It also needs to provide the clients with an option to decline to provide such information. Instantly, the need of modern technology is evident in ensuring privacy in business. Technology has been seen to improve privacy although a lot of care needs to be taken to bar the irresponsible users from mismanaging the systems.
The second module focused on ethical considerations on cases of discrimination witnessed at workplaces. This was also interesting as it focused on how ethics can help avoid cases of discrimination witnessed at workplace.
The third module presented what I viewed as some of the challenges that may be experienced when applying ethics in business operations. This module also focused on the kinds of discrimination at workplace and the best approach to avoid them. It emerges that certain situations will call for discrimination. A typical organization in a competitive market would always want to have good reputation among a wide category of individuals.
A good approach would be to ensure that different individuals are included in the workforce by considering different categories: gender, age, race, disability, or language group. Situations often arise when a role is available that may not be performed by an employee randomly selected from these category. In deed, there are circumstances that require one to acknowledge the differences like gender, race, and even disability (Hunter, 1992, p.6).
For instance, in the event that the available job requires lifting of heavy loads like large parcels, it may not convenient to hire an employee with physical disability or a female employee. The organization will be forced to discriminate based on these factors. Other situations may call for discrimination based on the language group in order to improve on the delivery of services to the clients. This area generated many discussions and gave me much trouble as these could be seen as violation of the rights of these minority categories.
Ferrell, O., Fraedrich, J. and Ferrell, L. (2009). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. Seventh edition. South-Western: Cengage Learning.
Frye, C. (2001). Privacy-enhanced business: adapting to the online environment. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Hunter, R. (1992). Indirect discrimination the workplace. Sydney: Federation Press.
Kay, C. (1997). Notes on utilitarianism. Retrieved from http://webs.wofford.edu/kaycd/ethics/util.htm.
Zahorsky, D. (2011). Is your small business privacy friendly? Retrieved from http://sbinformation.about.com/cs/legal/a/privacy.htm.