Consequences Of Acting Ethically Or Unethically Critical Thinking Examples
Ethics is unwritten rules and standards laid out in order to govern human beings' relationship with each other with the sole purpose of fostering fairness and peaceful coexistence. In business, ethics exists so that parties do not extort each other or gain undue advantage of each other. Ethics in business serve to promote adherence to the fundamental values of honesty and keeping promises. In addition, it aims to promote fairness and to foster a safe, respectful relationship between the business and the community and the environment.
Basing on Jennings’s categorisation of ethical dilemmas, Darlene Brown commits the fourth ethical sin that is titled ‘Buying influence or engaging in a conflict of interest. In this case, both the two parties have individual interests that each is trying to satisfy. Darlene in her quest to find employment for her daughter and son-in-law solicits help from Boeing Company promising to treat them favourably if they abide by her wishes. Doing so is parallel to buying their influence. Primarily, Darlene uses her job and relationship with the managers of the Boeing companies to ask for a favour. It is obvious that Darlene creates position where she will allow the Boeing company managers to influence her actions in the future. On the other hand, if the Boeing Company allows Darlene to convince them to hire her daughter and son-in-law, they primarily agree to use this favour in future to advance their interests. In this scenario, neither party can deny that there is a conflict of interest (Jenner 37).
“That they have to insist they are not or would not be influenced is evidence of the conflict. Whether the conflict can or will influence those it touches is not the issue, for neither party can prove conclusively that a quid pro quo was not intended. The possibility exists and it creates suspicion” (Jenner 16).
Darlene’s case also goes against fundamental principles of ethics of honesty and fairness. Being ethical means being fair and honest in our interactions and relationships with each other. If the Boeing managers decide to hire Darlene’s daughter and son-in-law, other job contenders, perhaps even more qualified ones, might miss out on those opportunities. Ethics insists that the playing ground should be level for all in it, and no one should have an undue advantage over another. It is simply ‘not right’. Also, it is unfair when Darlene favours the Boeing Company in awarding of Defence contracts without consideration to other companies that might be better qualified and more deserving. The two parties both go against business and personal ethical standards. If the two sides settle on such an unethical agreement, the consequences might be too dire and could extend to the community and the environment as a whole. The reason for that will be that Darlene’s daughter and son-in-law might not have been suited for the job and hence underperform or abuse it. The same goes if the Boeing Company gets the Defence contract and abuses it. The whole community and the environment might end up getting hurt, and anything that results in such an outcome is highly unethical.
Both Darlene and the Boeing managers might try to justify their actions in different ways. They might assume that since everybody else does it, then they are not any different. Perhaps, this is because corruption has deep roots in the modern society leading a lot of people to believe that simple traditional values of hard work and integrity are a waste of time. With these ideas in their minds, people tend to assume that the only way one can get into an office, earn a promotion or get a contract is to ‘know someone’. They might also justify their sins by reasoning out that as long as someone does not get hurt, then there is no problem. It is wrong though because as explained above the consequences might spill over to a third party, for example, the community. Darlene could also justify her actions by believing the system is unfair and to beat the system, one needs to play its game. Perhaps she reasons that it is unfair for such a couple to be financially miserable when they are still so young.
The Wall Street Journal model of resolution of ethical dilemmas could prove beneficial in the resolution of Darlene’s ethical dilemma. The model consists of Compliance, Contribution and Consequences. First, she ought to ask herself whether her decision complies with the law. The law exists so that there can be fairness, peace and co-existence. Her request for consideration of her daughter and son-in-law over millions of other candidates for the same job goes against morality upon which the law is built. She also ought to think about what such an action will contribute to the shareholders of her company, the employees, community and her customers. In this scenario, it will only benefit the Boeing Inc. and her daughter and son in law, but not the individuals mentioned above. In fact, her decision might lead to negative consequences for her company, its staff and other parties. How would it seem if a newspaper blasted the details of such an ethical issue on its front page? It will most probably make other customers judge the credibility of her company. What if Boeing Inc. gets the defence contract but the planes are defective and end up crashing into a populous location causing millions of deaths? The results of such an analysis should lead Darlene to conclude that it is highly unethical for her to proceed with her plan and should do away with it altogether.
Jennings Marianne. Business: Its Legal, Ethical and Global environment. New York: Cengage Learning, 2012.