Ethical issues are situations that arise when standards of a profession are not followed. Ethical issues contradict the code of conduct that entails every profession. The code of conduct represents the values that guide the way certain jobs should be handled. They are statements that are in the form of rules and regulations that help to govern issues of employees, employers, and the clients in any profession. Each and every profession has the code of conduct that guides them and is of everyone’s interest in the business, from the senior management to the junior employees in the enterprise. Penalties are always administered in case when one contravenes the business ethics of any profession. Before one joins an organization as an employee, he has to be aware of these ethical issues so for him not to end up going against ethics when in service. Professions such as law, medicine, teaching, banking, and engineering have a code of conduct that they observe.
This paper discusses some issues that come up in the business world in different settings. Some of the issues may be ethical while others would raise concern. Finally, in the discussion there are best practices for the business. My discussion depends entirely on the information from the data collected about the different scenario.
In the first example, I worked as an intern in the Citizens Bank in West Virginia. When a customer walked into the banking hall and demanded to see the manager, whose office was right next to where my office was, I overheard the customer request the manager to give him access to the parents’ account details. The customer went ahead to offer some money so that he could get the information. The manager gave in to his request, and he got what he wanted in the long run. He was given the information about the amount of money on the said account and also the transactions that transpired in the recent past.
This situation raises concern on the broader view, as the customer confidence issue emerges. It is on the broader category of conflict of interest and the specific type of issue is use of privileged information and subtle bribes. Specifically, it talks about the clients’ confidentiality. The issue that raises concern is the act of the manager in response to client’s unethical request. According to the banking ethics, it is not allowed for one to gain information about another’s account details. Therefore, the manager went against the ethical conducts to give the details of the account to the customer. Another issue that raises concern is the fact that the manager was compromised and took a bribe. Taking bribes is not allowed in the banking codes of ethics. It is ethically wrong for one to be compromised, and furthermore it is illegal according to the law.
The situation here was tricky for me as an intern seeking to gain experience in the banking industry as I could lose much if I didn’t manage to handle the situation reasonably. The manager was the most official senior of the branch, and if I couldn’t find a way to approach this situation well, I might have lost my chance to work with the company. In such condition, the wise thing to do is first to talk about the situation with parents and then find a way how to stop this kind of unethical practices. I wrote a note about the issue of unethical practices so as to hide my identity to avoid victimization. I further stated the need to uphold ethical issues for the benefit of the business. This way, I did not have to face the manager because he could have made the situation personal between us, and I would have lost my chance as an intern.
On the same day, a customer came to see the manager for a discussion about the loan agreement that would be used to start a petroleum company. I overheard the conversation too. The manager did not agree to the terms of the loan agreement. He argued that the business could not access loans because the company that they sought to start would have adverse effects on the environment. They were going to be involved in the pollution of water sources with their discharge from the factory. They could also pollute the air by the toxic gas emitted from the company to the air.
The second case presents an issue that is a best practice. It is on the broad category of consumer confidence issues and the specific type of issue is use of corporate resources. The case presented is of a company seeking to access loan facilities from the Citizens Bank where I worked as an intern. The client who requested the load was a corporation dealing with petroleum product. This company could negatively affect the environment by the discharge that usually go straight to the water sources and affect the marine life. The company also could have a hand in the pollution of air by emitting poisonous gasses. As a result, the company that was to be formed using this loan could negatively affect the environment. Such a situation contravenes the banking policies on the protection of the environment. The system does not allow any bank to provide loan facilities to any individual that will use the credit to affect the environment negatively. Therefore, it is the obligation of every banking institution to act in accordance with this policy. The manager did what was described as a best practice by refusing to offer a loan to this company. This position shows that the bank is in line with the policies that help in the restoration of the environment.
Another case happened when I was working as a volunteer at the department of business in college. One morning, the chairperson of the department came to the office and found me at the secretary’s desk. She never greeted me because apparently she did not like me. As she went ahead, she instructed me to print the names of those who would go to a benchmarking activity at the Harvard School of Business. She instructed that the list should be exclusive of my name. I was to include the names of all the other interns who also worked as volunteers in the department. She did not even give me reasons why I should be excluded from the trip. Instead, she went ahead to give me more work to type and even letters to deliver to the post office. On the other hand, the remaining interns were given a day off to go and do their personal stuff. This experience was a bad one for me since she denied me the chance to be part of the team to gain experience from the trip. I did not know what to do about it.
This situation presents an issue that raises concern. It is on the broad issue of human resource issues and the specific type of issue is bullying. The case demonstrated is of a leader in the department having differences with one of the interns. These differences have affected the working relationship between the two: the chairperson and the trainee. As a result, the worker is discriminated by the senior representative of the department. This issue is talking about an individual who is not treated equally with the other members of staff because of alleged personal differences with the person in charge. In the broader sense, the issue that raises concern is about a human resource issue and, to be specific, it is about favoritism at the place of work. There is a bias in the sense that the intern is not in favor of the chairperson who denies him a day off while the others are given this privilege. He is also denied the chance to visit another institution while other employees are given the same opportunity.
It is not ethical for one to allow personal differences to affect the working relationship. The chairperson of the department did something that is not ethical by allowing his personal hatred towards the intern to come between him and work. Such situation shall affect the intern’s productivity at work as it is obvious that he is being treated unfairly. The senior employee violated the rights of the intern by this act. It is the right of one to be involved in the activities of the organization; if not so, the employee should be given the reason why he or she is being excluded. According to business ethics, a leader should ensure that all the workers are treated equally and that none of them is discriminated. This condition will guarantee a good working relationship among the workers themselves and also with the chairperson. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every leader to ensure that all the workers in the organization are treated well and their rights are not violated.
As an intern, I had to do something about the situation. The acts against the chairperson could end up being costly. I sought a way to end these differences as I would have not gained much experience if this trend continued. As a result, I talked to my parents about the situation, and they advised me to be careful while I handled the problem. I went and humbly spoke to the chairperson about how I felt in relation to the whole situation. With the humility, it worked out as she gave me a listening ear and the problem was solved.
On another case in the same department, we were involved in a social event. It was a career week at a nearby high school. We went there as guests to give talks about the business courses offered at the department. As a department, we donated business books to the school. The participants in the event were awarded shopping vouchers of books. On the very day, we were also given an opportunity to talk to the students. We were gathered in groups and each group given an issue to talk about, and it was a success as we enjoyed the experience of teamwork. The chairperson also actively participated in the event and delivered a speech about the opportunities in the business school. This experience was a good one as the participants enjoyed the process, and some even wanted to join the business school once they graduated from the high school.
The second situation is a best practice. The broad category of the issue is the corporate social responsibility. The specific type of issue is corporate philanthropy by the department. To be precise, it entails community service; it includes contributing to the community by the department. It is moral to give back to the community from where you have your operations. Another best practice is the expression of the leadership qualities during the community service. The leadership is as a result of teamwork. When employees go for the community service, they all participate in the process, and they do it as a team. This teamwork gives the interns the morale to work hard as every contribution is appreciated.
As for me as an individual, I would encourage giving back to the community. It has more immense benefits for the school than the actual activities that could cost more to an institution. As a result of the services, the department got the chance to attract the students to join the school of business. It is also a moral obligation of any organization to give back to the society. It is the community that gives the institution the goodwill to operate; therefore, engaging members of the community from time to time is a step in the right direction. I would also suggest to organize such activities as giving back to the community more often as it is the easiest way for the university to communicate with the outside world. Therefore, such practices are positive for the business growth, and when an institution gets a chance of using a best practice, it should capitalize on it.
The role of good leadership in an organization is also portrayed in the best practice. Good leadership is admirable, and it invites everyone to come and work with the organization. Good leadership brings people together, and teamwork brings success. I would suggest every organization to follow the best leadership practices that take into consideration the diverse views of everyone in the organization. Such an approach leads to success in the long run.
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