The Ethical Dilemma in Business
Ethical dilemmas are especially significant in professional life and they frequently occur in the workplace. Some companies
and professional organizations adhere to their own codes of conduct and ethical standards. Violating these standards may
lead to disciplinary sanctions. Almost every aspect of business can become a source of ethical dilemmas. They may extend
to relationships with co-workers, management, clients, and business partners.
People are often unable to determine the optimal solution to ethical dilemmas in a professional setting. This can result in
serious consequences for businesses and organizations. The situation may be especially common in companies that value
action and results. In order to solve ethical problems, companies and organizations should develop strict ethical standards
for their employees. Every company must demonstrate its concerns regarding the ethical norms within the organization.
In addition, companies may provide ethical training for their employees.
Ethical Dilemma Business Examples
1. Conducting Personal Business on Company Time – Because employees tend to spend so much of their weekday hours
on the job, they often are tempted to conduct personal business on company time. This can include setting up doctor’s
appointments on company phone lines, making vacation reservations using their employer’s computers and Internet
connections or even making phone calls for a freelance side business while on company time.
2. Taking Credit for Others’ Work – Employees often work in teams to create marketing campaigns, develop new products,
or fine-tune services, yet rarely does everyone in a group contribute equally to the final product. If three members of a
five-person team did all the work, do those three members demand to receive proper credit while pointing out that two
members of the team did not pull their weight?
3. Inappropriate and Harassing Behavior – Employees often don’t know what to do if they see one of their co-workers
harassing another employee, either mentally, sexually, or physically. Employees may worry for their jobs if they attempt
to report a superior for harassment. They may fret that they’ll be labeled a troublemaker if they report co-workers who
display inappropriate behavior toward other employees.
4. Stealing on the Job – We all know embezzling from the company – taking money and hiding it by altering the records –
is against the law. But what about taking home an occasional box of staples? Just because the supply room is well stocked
with boxes of everyone’s favorite pens doesn’t mean it’s okay for employees to help themselves to a pack for home. It
may seem like a small thing, but when every employee takes something, it does add up against company profits. It is
stealing, and an astute office manager will notice things going missing too fast.
Using one of the four examples listed above, how would you handle it if you were a manager and came across this
issue? How would you balance your own ethics with those of the company?