In the life there are a number situations that we can find ourselves in that would sometimes requires us to make unethical decisions. This reality can’t be any more true in the world of business where unethical actions ranging from financial misconduct to unlawful exploitation of workers happen from time to time reaching every corner of a business’s key operating functions from marketing to the accounting department. Ethics is the moral principle the guides a person’s conduct or actions and in business it focuses on making decisions that align with what is considered right and is in agreement with the law. There are numerous examples of ethical dilemmas and in order to incorporate good business practices employers and employees must understand what are some of the ethical situations that are being faced in the business world today.
Transparency is the condition in which a business is able to be open to revealing their internal operations and having no hidden agendas. It also mean taking accountability for any failures or mistakes that have occurred a practice that is very important if a business or organization wants to maintain a image of integrity. Some companies can be disingenuous about the inner workings of their operations and when scandals come up it could have huge blow backs that could damage their reputation a lesson companies such as Wells Fargo have learned recently (https://www.forbes.com/pictures/fkmm45eegei/where-wells-went-wrong/#127297043ecf ). To make their companies more transparent as possible companies must incorporate sound transparency practices into their working culture and business objective.
Businesses now are facing a dilemma between protecting the integrity of the company while trying to maintain the rights of their employees to privacy. With innovations in technology being made today in the area of surveillance which businesses depend on in order to recover and protect valuable information, limit liabilities and to make sure employees don’t violate any company policies. This can cross the line into invasion of privacy and some companies have unlawfully used this as a basis to terminate employees but all of this can be avoided by putting these policies into effect in writing and providing employees through full disclosure on some of the practices and devices that would be used in surveillance technology.
Gross negligence is the conscious disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which could result in future harm or damage. People can be careless sometimes which is nothing unusual but when you run a company or are a member of the board of directors or just an average employee who didn’t take the time to check their files carefully any action you take in which you fail to perform your duties properly can have huge and consequences that could result in paying for damages or even being let go. Oil company BP back in 2010 had a oil spill which discharged 4.9 million barrels into the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 workers and caused billions of dollars in damages. Although there were multiple causes to the incident the primary reason for the spill through investigation it was discovered that a series of cost-cutting decisions and a inadequate safety system was responsible and as a result BP had to plead guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter, 2 misdemeanors and a felony count of lying to congress so being grossly negligent can hurt your business big time.
Although environmental regulation in most western nations are strict that does not stop some of them from finding other ways to save profits by finding loopholes that would allow them to save on cost while not maintaining proper sustainable practices. Going back to BP ever since the spill there have been numerous environmental issues that have taken place. According to the National Wildlife Federation “21 species of dolphins and whales that live in the northern Gulf have demonstrable, quantifiable injuries, killed as many as 8.3 billion oysters. In Louisiana, erosion rates approximately doubled along roughly 100 miles of shoreline” http://www.nwf.org/What-We-Do/Protect-Habitat/Gulf-Restoration/Oil-Spill.aspx. Now a days however companies cannot get away with this as easily and therefore it is important as business owner or entrepreneur to follow environmental regulation laws that are in place and to bring up topics such as pollution, deforestation and waste management to mind before they make a decisions that will have an impact on the environment.
It’s important to know where your business stands in terms of how ethical it’s practices are. It is also important to know that what is considered ethical is not always moral and that the best interest of the company can clash with the moral beliefs of an individual but you should find ways to ensure that your business abides by the ethical standards dictated by rules and regulation and those upheld by society. A business that does not run on ethical practices could face huge risks in terms of their reputation and their ability to continue operating as the 400 closed branched of Wells Fargo clearly highlights what a company got to lose by not being ethical. Practicing good ethics can not only increase a business’s reputation but could also set a standard for others to follow as well.