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Ethical Decisions in the Workplace

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Ethical Decisions in the Workplace

The modern world brings new challenges for humanity. Code of Ethics, designed to resolve disputable issues cannot deal with the task.  The story of Jerry the paper discussed is just another example of plurality, when ethics is incapable of solving the problem.

The case of Jerry Stevens is indicative of the issue of the power abuse. On the one hand, there is an attempt of the City Administrator to save face; on the other hand, Jerry, as an employee, cannot disobey the orders of his superiors. If Jerry had followed the instructions, which were not fixed on paper, any possible scenarios would have been negative for him.

According to the ideas of consequentialism, it can be assumed that the probability of the adverse outcome is extremely small, and it is more likely to strengthen the reputation of the City Administrator, which can be considered as a positive outcome. Moreover, in terms of utilitarian rule, the City Administrators’ actions are fully directed by his social preferences. However, the main disadvantage of such ethics is the vagueness of the understanding of happiness and of the acceptable ways to achieve it.

Thus appears the question of ethics and morality, which the leader or policies should be guided by. On the one hand, ethics and morality have a limiting effect М¶ blocking the "impermissible behavor", and on the other hand, it does not allow a person to cross all social taboos and become a monster. In their activity, leaders as well as policies should be guided by situational ethics.

Another nuance is Jerries’ behavior. From the act utilitarian point of view, he would follow the order to receive bonuses or promotion. However, he is risking his life by breaking the rules. Although minimal, the risk still exists. Thus, it can be affirmed that any course of the Jerry’s actions would be a violation of the rules, and, therefore, ethics.

It is worth pointing out that this issue in many ways relates to the David De Cremers’ point of view, who wrote about most people in business being guided by the "gray ethics". The responsibility for all the subsequent events, if Jerry had started working in a trench without proper equipment, would have been borne by the city administrator, who is responsible should there be unexpected problems. In such cases, the fundamental guiding principle is: "It's okay to push the limits but not cross the boundaries of the law" (De Cremer, & de Bettignies, 2013).

It should be noted that corporations, both commercial and public, tend to raise ethics and morals among junior employees, and it completely changes their value for senior managers. You can also note the focus of corporations on the individual ethicss and lack of any attention "on the impact of the corporation's broader policies on local, national, and global communities" (Terris, 2005).

Creating a Code of Ethics became common practice for many companies all over the world. On the one hand, the code is part of an international standards, the importance of which increases for companies entering the IPO. On the other hand, the ethical management, the essential elements of which is, in fact, Corporate Code of Ethics and the system of its execution, improves the efficiency of authority in the field of HR and strengthens the company's image.

To conclude, ethical standards occupy an exceptional position in the system of public policy. They do not provide such a rigid system of social control as judiciary standards for legislative regulations, however, ethics can significantly limit personal freedom, more or less strictly regulating a person’s thoughts, feelings and actions. The issue of ethics in the workplace is combined with the concept of compliance, despite the fact that their combination depends on the style of leadership, management model and the distance of power within the organization (Snell, 2013). The issue of ethics in the workplace does not have any “right” solution. Therefore, Jerry should insist on getting written orders and only after that, he should start working in a trench without proper equipment.

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