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Ethics in the workplace environment

Some might think that discussing ethical misconduct at work should focus on big issues, such as conflict of interest and corruption. However, this often overlooks how rationalizing small, ethically dubious issues can eventually lead to damaging ethical misconduct. When ethically dubious behavior is seen as unimportant, a culture that does not uphold integrity in all things can take root in the organization. This can lead to much more damaging behavior. This activity starts a discussion surrounding these small behaviors that we often overlook to determine the ethical nature of the activity.

Read and reflect upon the following:

- Read Case 10.5, Ethically Dubious Employee Conduct.
- Examine Brenda's list from both the utilitarian and the Kantian perspectives.
- Some might argue that some of the things listed as ethically dubious are really employee entitlements. Assess this contention.

Address the following:

- What arguments can be given for and against the conduct on Brenda's list? Is the rightness or wrongness of some items a matter of degree? Can an action (such as taking a pad of paper) be both trivial and wrong?
- What obligations do employees have to their employers? Do companies have moral rights that employees can violate? What moral difference, if any, is there between taking something that belongs to an individual and taking something that belongs to a company?

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Solution Preview

Brenda made a list of items that she felt were ethically wrong for behavior within a workplace. Taking office supplies from work home for personal use is wrong because those items were purchased by the company for tasks at work. If the items were being taken home to work on projects for work then it would be acceptable, but not if they were being misappropriated. Long distance telephone calls at work are also wrong because they are personal in nature and cost the company money. If long distance calls were not in the benefits package or in an employee handbook they should not be made from a company line. Personal copies being made in the copier cost the company ...

Solution Summary

Paper on ethically behavior within the workplace.