Systematic And Critical Study Of Values Related To Human Conduct Essay
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Ethics, Morality, Workplace, Utilitarianism, Employee, Actions, Banking, Organization
Ethics are the fundamental principles and the concepts of the decent human conduct. Ethics include the review of the universally accepted values like justice and the essential equity of all women and men, natural rights or human rights, observation of the law of the land, concerns of the safety and health and for the natural environment. Many theories have been advanced that seek to analyze and critically recommend the code of conduct in institutions and in the people.
The theories include the utilitarianism theory that is much embraced by many people and applies in the industrial setting, in the community and in the relationship between one social entity and another. The work ethics theory is advocated mainly for the working environment. The code of conduct of the workers, how the company interacts with the workers and the corporate responsibility of the firm towards the environment and the stake holders
The manuscript will critically review the values that are related to the human conduct. The paper will seek to review the traditional understanding and the advocating of the human conduct values as proposed to the traditional standards and the in the recent understanding of the application of the moral values. It will review the beliefs of the human character qualities, what they belief to be right and wrong and the criteria that drives the people into determining this. In this respect, we will evaluate on the utilitarianism theory.
The values related to human conduct varies greatly with the social settings of an institution. There are values that have been advocated to apply to many institutions and they have been referred to as the universal values. However, there are not defined and agreed moral values that one must follow to the latter. There are arguments that claim the actions and the conduct are right depending on the situation and there are not to be observed in respect to observation of any known moral obligation or principle guiding a person or a society.
Working in a banking institution, I have been exposed to practices that have made me to raise the questions of the moral obligations towards the customers and towards the banking institution. It has made me want to understand the level at which an institution should morally demand codes of the employees conduct without infringing on their personal rights and being in conflict with the current moral standards.
Some practices like switching of my phone while at the premises has made me feel like this is morally wrong on the part of the Company protocol requirement. However, it is essential to evaluate critically the position in the eyes of the bank to ascertain whether the practice is morally right or wrong.
I will focus on the banking institution employee`s code of ethics and the corporate responsibility. In evaluating the banking industry, we will evaluate the works ethics theory and the corporate responsibility of the institution. The paper will critically review the employee and the institution conduct in the light of the traditional understanding of the social ethics. We will critically review the code of conduct in the banking industry in the light of the current basis of evaluating the personal quality moral standards in the light of the work theory corporate responsibility theory.
In the banking institution, the employees are required to observe a confidential position towards the information obtained from their clients (Grace 31-47). The information is to be retained by the banks employees and not to be disclosed to any other person except in situations that has been provided for in the terms and conditions of the banking institutions.
The moral obligation of the employees to adhere to these directives is questionable. In analyzing the moral right and the wrongs of this practice, I will result to critically reviewing the conduct in the light of the traditional believes and values associated with quality character of an individual and an organization. Specifically, I will focus on the utilitarianism theory to evaluate the effects and to weigh the moral significance of the actions.
In the banking institution, the employees are required to observe a dressing code. The code of dressing is stipulated by the company`s protocol and regulations written down by the Company`s management and handed down to the employees. The employees have no say concerning the matter-it is a take-or-leave it situation.
The employees’ manner of conduct outside the banking institution is also observed as the employees are viewed as the brand ambassadors of the industry. To me, this seems as an infringement of the individual rights to personal life. However, the rights are not inclusive in the eyes of the traditional moral ethics but are much pronounced in the current views of the moral rights and wrongs. Owing to the controversies that surround the scenario, I wish to evaluate this in the eyes of the employees’ rights and moral obligations and in the eyes of the corporate social responsibility of the banking institution.
The act utilitarianism states that it is the specific actions that will bring about the maximum utility which is right or necessary. In cases where the greatest utility is achieved by the types of actions, the type of utilitarianism is called rule utilitarianism. The rule utilitarianism maintains that it is the rule that if followed by everyone would give the greatest utility that determines what is obligatory or right (Pondy & Louis 296-320).
I have noticed that, utilitarianism is plausible since it is a monistic standard, which means it has a single principle. The fact that it has only one principle, which is the general goodness of all the people, gives room for ethical decisions to be reached conclusively. When all the relevant facts are known about how much non-moral good each rule and act would produce, moral dilemmas are eliminated.
The elimination of the dilemmas comes from the fact that what is obligatory or right in utilitarianism depends solely of the production of empirical qualities like knowledge, beauty, and pleasures. Utilitarianism holds ethical disputes at the bottom of empirical disputes. In utilitarianism, all one needs to do is to determine which rule or act would produce the greatest utility to the best of interests of all the people and the action or the rule would be deemed right. Utilitarianism is also plausible by the fact that it shows that we should live to promote the greatest good whenever possible.
I have researched this concept quite well, and it has come to my notice that, utilitarianism falls under the part of human beings that thinks that altruism is a moral virtue. According to Bentham, the principle of utility derives its foundation in the two masters that nature has placed upon humankind; pleasure and pain. In the banking institution, the code of conduct required from the employees does not promote the maximum utility for all the people.
It results to the pain in the employees and thus is deduced to be ethically wrong according to the utilitarianism theory. In this respect, every action whatsoever taken can be measured in the amount of pleasure or pain it gives to the concerned parties. The actions, that produce the greatest pleasure to the people, are said to be good and should be taken (Sánchez-Vidal, Cegarra-Leiva, & Cegarra-Navarro 12-20).
I have even experienced that, people following the ethical norms in their daily banking practice enjoy the working environment. They additionally do not need any other sources of motivation, except for their professional growth. Several researchers have identified the fact that, people need should follow the ethical norms in order to ensure proper growth of them as well as of their organization.
I have observed and learned from my experiences that, it is my moral duty to promote the best of my interests in good over evil. In my view for an ethical egoist, the only standard of wrong and right is self-interest. It means that my greatest duty is taking care of my interests. The argument brought forward in this theory is that human beings naturally take care of themselves first.
An ethical egoist cannot be an altruist though sometimes he may perform altruism deeds. According to Rand, altruism purports that every action that is performed for the best interest of others is right. Any action that is performed towards and solely for an individual benefit is morally wrong and selfish as put forward by the principle of altruism.
I believe that, the ethical egoism theory can only be validated if it was categorically imperative and universal. However, the universality of the ethical egoism is controversial. By making it universal, it would mean encouraging everybody to work towards his/her, best interests even if in so doing he may be competing against me.
The situation is complicated because if somebody wants the same thing as me, it will be within my best interest to discourage him to eliminate competition. Acting for the best of my interest would mean discouraging the person from going for the same things as me. If in case ethical egoism was to be universally and categorical imperative, it would contradict with itself. The ethical egoism principle need not be universal and categorically empirical for it to have validity. The only validation it needs is the emphasis that in attaining one’s interest, one should not inflict pain on others.
I have watched learned the important aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility. I have sensed that, every business organization has an ethical social responsibility to observe in its operations. The corporate responsibilities revolve around the Company`s relations to all the stake holders. The stakeholders include the shareholders, the customers, the employees, the community that the business operates and the Government. Environmental factors are incorporated in this responsibility.
I have examined that, utilitarianism in the corporate social responsibility is the ethical principle or position of Ethical Universalism. Utilitarianism, unlike other ethical positions, maintains that the Company should keep the general welfare of the people first in all its actions. The principle of Utility says that the moral end that is to be strived for should be the greatest possible balance of non-moral good over non-moral evil. The principle can be referred to seeking the minimum possible balance of evil over good for all the people.
The operations of banking Company pertaining to the way they treat the employees fails to observe this principle. They are only focused on the betterment of their business and their customers at the expense of the employees and their moral needs. Ethically, the banking industry does not satisfy the principle of utilitarianism for it fails to act in the best possible manner that would bring the best to all the people, that is the employees and the Company so that they all benefit from the actions of one another.
Virtue ethics looks at the character of the institution doing a particular action rather than the ethical rules and duties or the consequences of the actions. Apart from dealing with righteousness and wrongness, virtue ethics offers guidelines as to the sort of behaviors and characteristics any good institution should seek to achieve. Virtue ethics defines a good Company as that which lives virtuously and observes the virtues (Rex & John 60).
In light of this definition, we can deduce that the actions of the banking industry do not satisfy the principle of virtue ethics. Any virtuous institution can see that the way the company is treating the employees is in a manner that suggests the actions of a firm devoid of virtue. The behavior is of a selfish capitalist who only cares for his wellbeing regardless the pains and the expense the employees suffer in order to satisfy his insatiable greed.
There was one more point that I observed, which was about feminism developed ethics. It is a theory that attempts to define what makes actions morally wrong or right. It maintains that in a population, there are people that are more vulnerable than others are. It advocates that, the less vulnerable population should take an extra consideration when making decisions that could affect the vulnerable populations in the communities.
In my standards, I embrace the ethical egoism principle. Ethical egoism says that every individual has a moral duty to promote his best interests in good over evil. For an ethical egoist, the only standard of wrong and right is self-interest. It means that my greatest duty is taking care of my interests.
In promoting my interests, I do not see anything wrong with the way the company is operating. The reason is that the employees are contented with the code of conduct and they do not complain about the working environment that they care less about. Secondly, the company is maximizing their earnings from this venture by satisfying their clients that is good for business.
Everyone is accustomed to evaluating people’s intentions, motives, character, traits and deeds from a moral perspective. In line with this, many evaluations are simple to make, and many people generally agree upon them. An example is the evaluation that stealing or misuse of the customer’s money is not always right. However, some evaluations are difficult to make, and many people do not agree with the general evaluations.
In the cases, they form the sources of disagreement. An example of such an evaluation is the conclusion that using customer’s money is always wrong. In such a case, disagreement arises, and it is very hard to determine exactly the source of the disagreement. In doing normative ethics, my purpose as the philosopher is to find order and consistence in the ethical beliefs system.
I will seek to relate the ethical beliefs if possible to universal principle or principles from which the ethical values and beliefs can derive their validation. In so doing, I will tend to find the solution to the disputes that may arise in some ethical evaluations like the dressing code. The solution is reached by evaluating and showing which side of the debate agrees with the already agreed upon principle/ principles. The deducible side may be used to show who is right in the debate. Normative ethics seeks to provide answers to the ethical evaluations as to which things are morally right and wrong and why are they so (Bernard, 1973)
Utilitarianism is the ethical principle or position of Ethical Universalism. Utilitarianism, unlike other ethical positions, maintains that we should keep the general welfare of the people first in all our actions. The principle of Utility says that the moral end that is to be strived for should be the greatest possible balance of non-moral good over non-moral evil. The principle can be referred to seeking the minimum possible balance of evil over good for all the people.
However, there are many arguments regarding what are non-moral goods and evils. In utilitarianism, the sole standard of wrong, right, and the obligation is the principle of utility, which is the general goodness of all the people. What is morally right and wrong is found by deducing what would bring the greatest utility to all the people. Utilitarianism does not dictate whether there are specific actions that are of importance or the types of actions. In situations where particular actions are of importance, the principle of utilitarianism in this case is called act Utilitarianism.
Kant`s Deontological Ethics
Act deontology has no standard for right and wrong. The principle maintains that if one is aware of all the facts in a situation, the right action to take is reached through an act of intuition or a rational foresight. The principle maintains that the basic items are moral judgment made in particular occurrences. The principle maintains that the general rules are generalizations that are based on past judgments. Rule deontological principles maintain that there are no teleological moral standard consisting of one or more rules. In the banking industry, the facts about the situation are not empirically known and the deontological ethics do not apply.
Kant`s Categorical Imperative Theory
Kant attempts to use reason to provide principles that are sufficient and necessary to determine the moral rules that people should live by. The principle was supposed to be sufficient and necessary hence the definition categorical imperative. The principle thus sought would be morally binding to all rational creatures irrespective of the situation. The first form of the categorical imperative maintains that one should act only in the extreme that can also tend to be a universal law. The question in this theory is whether the principle of universalize ability is sufficient to determine what is wrong or right.
However, in the banking industry there are things that are obligatory and do not follow Kant`s categorical imperative and there are things that follow Kant`s theory, but are not obligatory. It is evident that willing to have universal rules, to live by, is not sufficient to make a rule right or wrong in the banking industry.
In order to better deploy the ethical practices, I would like to recommend the HR Department of the respective organization to formulate the Code of Conduct for carrying out ethical practices inside the organization. In addition, I would want all the employees to follow these ethical norms in their daily working schedules.
I would even like to deploy the principle of altruism, since it would term the banks actions as moral because they mean good to the people and the actions are meant for the best interest of the people. However, in ethical egoism, every action I do is for my own interest and the principle ascertains that I should benefit from my actions. In the banking industry, this does not follow because the actions I perform are not to my interest and do not benefit me.
However, act deontology has no standard for right and wrong. The principle maintains that if the firm is aware of all the facts in a situation, the right action to take is reached through an act of intuition or a rational foresight and may depend on the experiences. The operations of the banking organization towards the employees fail to observe this ethical principle.
The facts about the whole situation are well known to the Company and its executives. They know well it is not good to censure phone communication of an employee while at work. The conduct of the employee outside the Company is independent of his position in the bank. The manner of dressing is entirely personal and does not affect the discharging of the duties to the clients. The company cannot argue that they are doing so based on their experiences because in their operations, there are no incidences that point to the claim. In light to this, we can say that the way the banking enterprise treats the employees fail to observe the ethical principle of act or rule deontology.
I would even like to deploy the ethical principle of Virtue ethics at my given workplace. Virtue ethics is the ethics principle that stresses on the virtues or moral character. Virtue ethics is character-based ethics that is it is entity based rather than action based. A right act according to virtue ethics is the action that any virtuous institution would do under the similar circumstances.
Further, in reference to the ethics of care, the operations of banking firm do not observe it. The employees fall under the class of the vulnerable people. The company and its executives fall under the class of un-vulnerable population. According to the ethics of care principle, it is the duty of the company and its executives to take extra consideration of the employees in carrying out their business. However, the company and its executives fail to do so but instead exploit the employees for their own selfish gains.
Thus, it is necessary to deploy the principles of ethics in a given working environment so that, the employees will follow them on a strict basis and would avoid the ethical breaches in the organization. They will thereby improve upon their working practices as well improve the working morale of all the employees of the organization.
Grace N. “What Causes Conflict between Employees in an Organization.” The Economics of Peace and Security Journal 6.1 (2011): 31-47.
Pondy, M., & R., Louis. Organizational Conflict: Concepts and Models. Administrative Science Quarterly 12 (1967): 296-320.
Sánchez-Vidal, M. E., David Cegarra-Leiva, & Juan Cegarra-Navarro. “Gaps Between Managers' and Employees' Perceptions of Work–life Balance." International Journal of Human Resource Management 12.22 (2012): 12-20.
Rex, C., & W., John. Social Conflict, a conceptual and theoretical analysis. New York, Longman Group Limited, 1981. Print.