Business ethics defines how a company integrates core values – such as honesty, trust, respect, and fairness – into its policies, practices, and decision-making. Business ethics is, in part, the attempt to think clearly and deeply about ethical issues in business and to arrive at conclusions that are supported by strongest possible arguments. Ethical principles are the rules of conduct that derive from ethical values. For example, honesty is a value that governs behavior in the form of principles such as: tell the truth, don’t deceive, and don’t cheat.
In a business the ultimate goal is to achieve maximum profits. There are factors affecting at different levels of the business such as finance, technology, labor, and workflow in order to maintain excellence and growth of the company. In this paper, I want to demonstrate what ethical issues I faced working as a team leader for my company and how I approached the problems in order to solve it and made decisions and solutions without disturbing the environment of the workplace.
Team leaders must master a broad range of business talents and also qualities such as team leadership, setting up weekly goals and must provide their organizations with the strategies, structures, and personnel to compete in a constantly changing environment. There can be a number of ethical dilemmas arising during the course of work. I just got promoted, as a team leader working with entirely new team members and handling altogether a new project was a challenge. The project was to build up an application on the server for a computer hardware company for creating invoices and recording all daily sales and purchase transactions.
After a close study of the project, I found that one of my members in the quality assurance department is presenting false test reports showed that everything is being tested in order to look better in the eyes of his superiors. Now this was a serious issue as I was responsible for the project done precisely and on time. I could not overlook my team member’s behavior, but was it right for me to report his actions to the director? False reports could cause serious issues and complications.
The project was going to be active in two week’s time frame and the testing was not yet done, and if there were any mistakes it would cost a high amount to the company and would also affect its reputation. I then met with the head of testing department to discuss his behavior. He said that his actions were like everyone else’s, but I did not find his argument compelling.
There were two options: I could send an honest report exposing the member’s fraudulent reporting, or I could falsify report myself, thus protecting his career. Neither option was acceptable. To buy more time, I convinced the company manager to give me an additional week before submitting my project. I ordered the quality assurance team to work overtime on the problems that were easiest to fix. I also had other team members who were not part of testing including myself under the guidance of a testing expert.
After a week of almost constant work by all the team members, there was still some work left tested. I sent an honest report to the manager and director documenting the state of the project. The manager did receive some harsh words from the company director, but nothing of great consequence. I had maintained my integrity and minimized damage to my fellow member. Although I still question the politeness of not exposing his negligence, but the decision I made allowed me to preserve the trust of my team. After the project was in action that member completed his task and I had no problems with his work in future.
Trustworthiness, respect, honesty, responsibility, fairness, and caring are some of the ethical concepts that guide our choices in order to make an ethical decision. The key to make effective decisions is to think about choices in terms of their ability to accomplish our most important goals. Reading the chapters has definitely changed my thoughts and has also helped me comprehend business ethics and management.
Cite This Work
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:
From a business perspective, working under government contracts can be a very lucrative proposition. In general, a stream of orders keep coming in, revenue increases and the company grows in the aggregate. The obvious downfalls to working in this manner is both higher quality expected as well as the extensive research and documentation required for government contracts. If a part fails to perform correctly it can cause minor glitches as well as problems that can carry serious repercussions, such as in the National Semiconductor case.
When both the culpable component and company are found, the question arises of how extensive these epercussions should be. Is the company as an entity liable or do you look into individual employees within that company? From an ethical perspective one would have to look at the mitigating factors of both the employees and their superiors along with the role of others in the failure of these components. Next you would have to analyze the final ruling from a corporate perspective and then we must examine the macro issue of corporate responsibility in order to attempt to find a resolution for cases like these.
The first mitigating factor involved in the National Semiconductor case is he uncertainty, on the part of the employees, on the duties that they were assigned. It is plausible that during the testing procedure, an employee couldnt distinguish which parts they were to test under government standards and commercial standards. In some cases they might have even been misinformed on the final consumers of the products that they tested. In fact, ignorance on the part of the employees would fully excuse them from any moral responsibility for any damage that may result from their work.
Whether it is decided that an employees is fully excused, or is given some moral responsibility, would have to be looked t on an individual basis. The second mitigating factor is the duress or threats that an employee might suffer if they do not follow through with their assignment. After the bogus testing was completed in the National Semiconductor labs, the documentation department also had to falsify documents stating that the parts had surpassed the governmental testing standards. From a legal and ethical standpoint, both the testers and the writers of the reports were merely acting as agents on direct orders from a superior.
This was also the case when the plant in Singapore refused to falsify the documents nd were later falsified by the employees at the have California plant before being submitted to the approval committees (Velazquez, 53). The writers of the reports were well aware of the situation yet they acted in this manner on the instruction of a supervisor. Acting in an ethical manner becomes a secondary priority in this type of environment. As stated by Alan Reder, . . . if they [the employees] feel they will suffer retribution, if they report a problem, they arent too likely to open their mouths. 113).
The workers knew that if the reports were not falsified they would come under questioning and perhaps their employment would go into eopardy. Although working under these conditions does not fully excuse an employees from moral fault, it does start the divulging process for determining the order of the chain of command of superiors and it helps to narrow down the person or department that issued the original request for the unethical acts. The third mitigating factor is one that perhaps encompasses the majority of the employees in the National Semiconductor case.
We have to balance the direct involvement that each employee had with the defective parts. Thus, it has to be made clear that many of the employees did not ave a direct duty with the testing departments or with the parts that eventually failed. Even employees, or sub-contractors, that were directly involved with the production were not aware of the incompetence on the part of the testing department. For example, the electrical engineer that designed the defective computer chip could act in good faith that it would be tested to ensure that it did indeed meet the required government endurance tests.
Also, for the employees that handled the part after the testing process, they were dealing with what they believed to be a component that met every governmental standard. If it was not tested properly, and did eventually fail, isnt the testing department more morally responsible than the designer or the assembly line worker that was in charge of installing the chip? Plus, in large corporations there may be several testing departments and is some cases one may be held more responsible than another depending on their involvement.
A process like this can serve the dual purpose of finding irresponsible employees as well as those that are morally excused. The fourth mitigating factor in cases of this nature is the gauging of the seriousness of the fault or error caused by this product. Since National Semiconductor was repeatedly being reinstated to the listed of approved government contractors, one can safely assume that the level of seriousness, in the opinion of For the contractor approval committees, is not of monumental importance.
Yet one has to wonder how this case would have been different if the lack of testing did cause the loss of life in either a domestic or foreign military setting. Perhaps the repercussions would have come faster much more stringent. The fact that National Semiconductor did not cause a death does not make them a safe company. They are still to be held responsible for any errors hat their products cause, no matter the magnitude. As for the opposition to the delegating of moral responsibility, mitigating factors and excusing factors, they would argue that the entity of the corporation as a whole should be held responsible.
The executives within a corporation should not be forced to bring out all of the employees responsible into a public forum. A company should be reprimanded and be left alone to carry out its own internal investigation and repercussions. From a business law perspective this is the ideal case since a corporation is defined as being a eparate legal entity. Furthermore, the opposition would argue that this resolution would benefit both the company and the government since it would not inconvenience either party. The original resolution in the National Semiconductor case was along these lines.
The government permanently removed National from its approved contractors list and then National set out to untangle the web of culpability within its own confines. This allowed a relatively quick resolution as well as the ideal scenario for National Semiconductor. In response, one could argue that the entity of a corporation has o morals or even a concept of the word, it is only as moral and ethical as the employees that work in that entity. All of the employees, including top ranking executives are working towards advancing the entity known as their corporation (Capitman, 117).
All employees, including the sub-contractors and assembly line workers, are in some part morally responsible because they should have been clear on their employment duties and they all should have been aware of which parts were intended for government use. Ambiguity is not an excusing factor of moral responsibility for the workers. Also, the fact that some employees failed to act n an ethical manner gives even more moral responsibility to that employee. While some are definitely more morally responsible than others, every employee has some burden of weight in this case.
In fact, when the government reached a final resolution, they decided to further impose repercussions and certain employees of National Semiconductor were banned from future work in any government office (Velazquez, 54). Looking at the case from the standpoint of National Semiconductor, the outcome was favorable considering the alternate steps that the government could taken. As explained before, it is ideal for a company to be able to onduct its own investigation as well as its own punishments.
After all, it would be best for a company to determine what specific departments are responsible rather than having a court of law impose a burden on every employee in its corporation. Yet, since there are ethical issues of dishonesty and secrecy involved, National Semiconductor should have conducted a thorough analysis of their employees as well as their own practices. It is through efforts like these that a corporation can raise the ethical standard of everyone in their organization. This case brings into light the whole issue of corporate responsibility.
Cite This Work
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below: