A Significant Ethical Issue In Hospitality Industry Essay
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Ethics, Theory, Organization, Hospitality, Food, Business, Employee, Workplace
Ethics is one of the most important issues that face the hospitality industry today. The hospitality industry is prone to various cases of unethical acts. Such ethical issues arise due to frequent interactions between employees, managers and clients. In other instances, ethical issues arise in the manner agricultural products arrive and processed in a hospitality organization before they are presented as finished goods to the clients (Huimin & Ryan, 2011). The ethical climate in a hospitality organization reduces turnover and enhances the delivery of quality services to clients. In addition, it elevates the experience of visitors, thus, increasing profits and overall productivity of the organization (Broad, 2014; Thompson, 2014). A deeper understanding of the ethical perceptions enables the stakeholders of the organization to accentuate moral position of the organization. This paper explores ethical issues in food and agriculture. It explores the ethics that surround the production, transformation and distribution of agricultural products. In particular, the ethical issue discussed is related to handling of raw agricultural products as they arrive in hospitality organization prior to processing.
It is unethical to handle and prepare food without observing the professional rules. Raising the levels of nutrition as well as the standards of living is the focus of most organizations. The current debate about the value of food is geared towards meeting the needs of people that at disadvantage in accessing better food for their survival. Various international agencies are stepping up efforts to improving food security situation and increasing efficiency in the production and distribution of food and agricultural products (Huimin & Ryan, 2011). Thus, the value of food in the hotel industry should not be compromised. Despite these efforts, handling of agricultural products in the hotel industry has not been done in light of the acceptable ethical standards.
Broad (2014) admitted that certain employees in hospitality organizations do not observe best practices while handling food and other agricultural products. Employees of such organizations do not have appropriate gear for handling different kinds of food. This implies that these organizations do not uphold their moral position regarding the manner food is handled. In the contemporary practice, employees handling raw agricultural materials are required to put on appropriate gear before the handle food. Violation of these ethical obligations can fundamentally compromise the ability of hospitality organizations to deliver the best services to their clients (Carroll & Buchholtz, 2014). This can consequently violate the rights of clients to high value food that is prepared in the high ethical standards.
Various theories can be used to understand the ethical issues surrounding this debate. These theories include egoism, utilitarianism, deontology, care ethics and virtue ethics. These theories are premised on ethical principles. They underscore the various aspects of dilemma and pose appropriate solution to the ethical problems.
This theory observes that people should hold to their duties and obligations when assessing an ethical dilemma. This theory premises on the proposition that upholding one’s duty is ethically correct. It is characterized by following promises and paying regard to the dictates of the law. Hence, an individual that holds on to this theory is likely to make consistent decisions and deliver judgments that are sound and correct. Deontology offers special duties for specific people (Beauchamp et al., 2004). This theory insists that every individual should be assigned duties and obligations for the purposes of accountability. Once the duties are assigned, an individual is required to stick to the demands and the requirements of the duties and obligations (Broad, 2014). This theory can be applied in the ethical dilemma surrounding food handling in the hospitality industry. In this regard, managers in the hospitality industry should assign every employee duties and obligations which they are expected to undertake. Every duty and obligation assigned should accompanied by corresponding set of rules that should govern their execution. Through this, employee will carry out their duties by observing the highest ethical standards.
This theory anchors on the ability to predict the results of an action. Utilitarianism holds that a choice is only ethical if it yields the greatest benefit. Through this, the theory can predict the likely outcomes of an action and determine which action might produce the greatest benefit. Thus, it allows people to assess various actions to determine the most beneficial. Utilitarianism exists in two forms namely act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism (Broad, 2014). Act utilitarianism allows individuals to carry out activities that benefit the greatest number of people. These activities are carried out regardless of the personal feelings that may be tied to them or legal constraints. However, rule utilitarianism takes cognizance of the law and focuses on fairness. While it seeks to yield the greatest benefit to most people, it achieves this goal through fairest and just methods (Beauchamp et al., 2004). Thus, managers in the context of a hospitality organization can seek to fulfill organizational profit goals using choices and methods that yield the greatest benefit to clients. In this regard, embracing the best ethical principles in a bid to guarantee clients best services should be the focus of managers. If clients do not feel value for their money, the profit goals of the organization are likely to be in jeopardy. Applying rule utilitarianism would ensure that the organization and the clients both benefit through fairest and just means.
This theory examines the character of an individual. It holds that a person’s actions may sometimes depart from his normal behavior. Thus, rating a person should take cognizance of parameters such as morals, motivation and reputation. It holds that a person should be judged on the basis of a consistent past (Beauchamp et al., 2004). In the context of the hospitality industry, managers can assess the normal behavior of employees and determine if their involvement in an ethical problem is accidental or a norm. In cases where employees act unethically while handling food, the management may make a decision to reassign the affected employees other roles or train them on sound ethical principles. Employees’ behavior in the organization is important in reaffirming an organization position on ethics.
My stance on the issue
I believe that ethics play a central role in the day to day human life. The manners in which people carry out their affairs determine the perceptions that the society has towards them. The hospitality industry requires high ethical principles from the processing of food to the time it is presented before visitors. Clients are likely to be discouraged by unethical practices that take place before them. Managers can avoid these ethical problems by focusing their energies training employees on the best ethical practices.
For someone with an opposing view, I would remind him/her to recognize the centrality of ethical theories in decision making. Organizations are faced with ethical challenges often. These challenges require solutions that can be suggested through the ethical theories. I would remind him/her to recognize the importance of utilitarianism theory in decision making.
Beauchamp, T. L., Bowie, N. E., & Arnold, D. G. (Eds.). (2004). Ethical theory and business. Pearson.
Broad, C. D. (2014). Five types of ethical theory. Routledge.
Carroll, A., & Buchholtz, A. (2014). Business and society: Ethics, sustainability, and stakeholder management. Cengage Learning.
Huimin, G., & Ryan, C. (2011). Ethics and corporate social responsibility–An analysis of the views of Chinese hotel managers. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 30(4), 875-885.
Thompson, P. B. (2014). Agricultural ethics: then and now. Agriculture and Human Values, 1-9.