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Ethics - Decision-Making in Corporations

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Compare and contrast the various ethical decision-making approaches.
Which approach do you think is most applicable in the real world? Explain your rationale.
Generalizing from your results of the Experiential Exercise "Ethical Work Climate", what general recommendations can you make for improving the ethical standings of corporations in general? Explain your reasoning.

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Step 1
The first decision making approach we consider is the utilitarian approach that says that the ethical approach is one that provides the most good or does least harm. The second ethical decision-making approach is the rights approach. According to this approach, ethical action is one that protects and respects the moral rights of those affected. Another approach is the justice approach or the fairness approach. According to this approach, ethical actions treat all human beings equally or based on some defensible standard. The fourth approach is the common good approach. Life in a community is a good and our actions should contribute to the common good. The fifth approach is the virtue approach according to which actions ...

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This posting gives you a step-by-step explanation of ethical decision-making. The response also contains the sources used.

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Ethical Decision Model is described, the relevance to business is examined in the solution, circumstantial constraints are examined, the modes are examined, options are evaluated.

Can someone on your staff help me complete my writing assignment using the ethical decision model 4 step process. Please see the attached document

Ethical Decision Model - Step one Clarify the question
Ethical Decision Model Step - 2 determining its relevance for this business
Ethical Decision Model Step - 3 Identify the circumstantial constraints
Ethical Decision Model Step - 4 Assess the available options

Ethical Decision Model - Step one Clarify the question
Three years ago, I had one of our managers from the Civil Engineering Department make an illegal purchase. The manager in question, went to a near by hardware store, and purchased over $2,500 of building material for an up coming Civil Engineering project without having the authority to purchase the materials. Our Business Manager brought the Illegal purchase to our attention once she had a chance to consolidate all chargeable invoices; many in the finance department were also questioning the purchase due to a missing purchase request. Department manager are responsible for filling out a purchase request, and getting the proper approval before a purchase order is generate, before any purchase or materials are brought. Our purchasing department due to the lack of funding for project materials, and missing purchasing forms prompted this purchase. Additionally, vendors have been known in this part of the country to Independently generate fraudulent charges on accounts who have previously conducted business with them.

Supervisors and managers are reminded on a monthly basis to report improper or questionable (PURCHASES) charges to the company's ethics office or to senior management. Once an illegal purchase is established through senior management, an investigation will be conducted and if a review establishes that, the allegation constitutes unethical or illegal activity, and if it is supported by specific information or corroborating, evidence the company must follow-up. Departments within the company that have responsibility for conducting investigations include Auditors, Human Relations, Equal Opportunity, and Ethics Officers. Other departments within our company may become involved in investigations based on their areas of oversight responsibility or expertise, and these that are providing oversight will make every effort to perform the investigation discreetly. The details of the investigation will be kept confidential, to the extent feasible, and consistent with company policies and applicable federal, state, and local laws.
I confirmed this unauthorized purchase by checking all invoices, products, services, prices and terms of sale with our Finance Department Supervisor and the Hardware Store Manager.

Ethical Decision Model Step - 2 determining its relevance for this business
Department managers have a fiduciary responsibility to act ethically and/or legally as a "caretaker" when dealing with financial matters. Those who make decisions or give approval for purchases must ensure that funds are expended responsibly, reasonably, and in compliance with the intentions, rules, law and concerns of the provider of the funds.
DynCorp International Employee Code of Ethics is a set policies that describe the appropriate conduct for all company employees. It is vital that employees, managers, and senior level officals be aware of and adheres to this code not only with regard to purchasing activities but also in all aspects of their position.
Unit Administrators set the tone within our organization as to the importance of conducting business in an ethical manner. Making or approving purchases that are not allowed, are not compliant or do not further the mission of the university, weakens our control environment. Unit Administrators contribute to creating a strong internal control environment by ensuring departmental purchases are made within the limits of applicable policies, regulations, rules, directives, or procedures.
Decision-makers at the UO are held accountable to our customers for purchase decisions made and actions taken. Our customers include past, present and future students who seek an education, citizens, vendors with whom we contract for goods and services, university supporters and contributors, and our employees. Accountability is how decision-makers demonstrate that they have met their fiduciary responsibility. It is how we show that we are using our resources wisely and responsibly.

Ethical Decision Model Step - 3 Identify the circumstantial constraints
Ethical Decision Model Step - 4 Assess the available options

I immediately started an inquiry into the illegal purchase by calling our Program Manager and advising him, that one of our managers just finished purchasing some materials without following company policy. I also told him that I would like to handle this situation at my level, since this was the first time our CE Manager violated company policy - Business Ethics and Compliance with Laws and Regulations.

"It shall be the firm policy of DynCorp and its units to conduct all business operations in accordance with good business ethics. In addition to compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, ethical business conduct shall include fair and reasonable dealings with customers, suppliers and competitors and the avoidance of practices, even though within the permissible limits of the law, that would create a reasonable appearance of impropriety. All employees of the Company, at any level, shall be responsible for their own conduct while performing the Company's business, within the limitations of all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and shall be responsible for consulting with the Company's Law Department as necessary to obtain necessary information or clarification concerning such laws and regulations". Mr. Joe B. Estill, Ethics Officer.

The Program Manager agreed. I told him that I would have a complete report on my inquiry back to him by the end of the week. I started out by checking with our Human Resource Department Coordinator, and inquiring into the CE Managers training file. One of the things that I wanted to check in the managers training file was a form/certificate (Business Conduct Questionnaire and Annual Training Certification) that every employee signs once they have completed their ethics/business training. This would also help me during my interview with the CE Manager.

On Monday, I called the CE Manager into my office and asked him to have a seat. I started out by asking him a few questions on some of his on-going projects. Then I asked him about an illegal purchase that he made last week. The following questions transpired during our counseling session:
Question: What led up to you not following company procedure on purchasing operations?
Answer: Boss I was trying to get ahead on my CE projects, and I thought that I could complete the paperwork during the beginning of the week. Since I have a great business relationship with the hardware store manager, he gave me the materials on credit.
Question: Well, you know the purchase did not follow Standard Operating Procedures, thus placing yourself, and the company in an ethical dilemma.
Answer: I know I did. Do you want me to take the materials back to the hardware store?
Question: Yes, I do want you to return all materials back to the hardware store, and get full refund/credit for the actual return.
Answer: OK I will. Am I in any kind of trouble with the company, as I know I did not follow company procedures?
Question: Yes you are. I will be administering a verbal letter of concern pointing out your failure to follow simple purchasing procedures in accordance with set company policy. In addition, a copy of this letter will be place into your personnel file for one year.
Answer: OK, from here on out you will not have to worry about me making any illegal purchases.

Question: Let me reiterate the following: We are operating in an overseas environment, and as such we are being watched by our customers both internal and external (U.S. Government/Local government). I want you to read the company Business Conduct Questionnaire and Annual Training Certification standard operating procedures and write a one-page report, and turn-in your paper to me by Friday. I also want you to attend next months Ethics training class. Schedule your attendance through our Human Resource Department Representative, and provide me a copy of your attendance record memorandum once you have completed your training. Unfortunate for this employee, he went on to commit other illegal purchases within a six-month period after committing his first violation, and we had no choice but to terminate his employment.


Just Business: Business Ethics in Action, second Edition by Elaine Sternberg
If Aristotle Ran General Motors: The New Soul of Business by Tom Morris

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