Ethics Reflection Paper
Ethics and social responsibility are both very important elements that can determine the success of a business. When a strategic plan is implemented, it should take account of the stakeholders needs by making sure what position ethics and social responsibility will play.
I have been in the automotive industry for nearly 20 years and I have watched how certain companies no longer put ethics and social responsibility for the consumer’s first but only to gain wealth for the stakeholders. A good example: Toyota’s brakes malfunction on numerous vehicles. Several people lost their lives and many were seriously injured because the brakes failed to stop. Toyota first blamed the floor mats for the cause, and asked consumers to remove them. Yet months later through an investigation it was determine that Toyota had known the problem was the brake pedals. Toyota’s president eventually had to go public, and ask the consumers to continue to believe in their product by reassuring the public that every measure is being taken to correct this problem. Nevertheless, many lawsuits have been filed against Toyota for the deaths and injures, 16 million in fines owed to the federal government and the company’s reputation is at stake. Toyota had a social responsibility to inform immediately the consumers and by not doing so Toyota was ethical wrong.
Ethics are guiding principles used to help management and employees conduct themselves according to the values and standards set forth by the company. To ensure employees understand the rules and make good ethical decisions, a company’s plan should exemplify the beliefs and values that the business and their employees consider most important. Many of these principles and values are found in the company’s mission, vision, and philosophy statements that provide course, reason, and a clear understanding of an organization’s behavioral expectations and decisions made by the stakeholders. Pearson and Robinson (2004) stated “central to the belief that companies should be operated in a socially responsive way for the benefit of all stakeholders is the belief that managers will behave in an ethical manner” (p. 60).
I have worked for a major automotive company and I have observed how quality has been compromised. It starts with allowing a small defective scratch on a part to allowing parts that have rusted because of poor construction to still be used. This is all permitted because of the high cost of rework or possibly scrapping inventory. The consumer spends $30,000 on a vehicle with hidden flaws and the company hopes it will not later be a problem. Where is the ethics and social responsibility to produce a car that measures up to the company’s name and standards.
As a manager in an UAW plant, I have been told by my upper management to over look if I think or know an hourly employee perhaps is high or intoxicated just as long as the employee is doing his or her job, even if its at the expense of someone’s safety. The company’s mission and vision statement both state quality first yet there is a mixed message. Even though a plan is in place and ethical guidelines are established, unethical behavior is always present at a management or a secondary level.
I am a business student completing my master’s degree and my ethical perspective has changed a great deal through this program. My business classes at University of Phoenix all related to some degree the study of ethics. My prior research on such company’s as Enron and WorldCom have given me a better understanding of unethical behavior and what it takes to make a business successful or be unsuccessful. Businesses and individuals should make a conscious attempt to exhibit ethical behavior at all times. The ethical guidelines should be adopted by all management levels to govern him or her accordingly.
My ethics awareness inventory scores: Results mostly and Equity least, I agree with these findings. I am a person who depends on results. I believe my years in the automotive industry contribute to my perspectives on ethics and validate these scores to be accurate. I am a person who needs to see results that are positive. Because my industry is an assembly plant the product must be completed which, mean completely assembled is the final result. Fairness is not something I observe daily. Nepotism occurs daily, a person is awarded a promotion from the boss because he or she is either a golf buddy or a relative and not because he or she is qualified to do the job. So that explains why I scored so low in equity. Fairness does not always occur in my workplace world. My score in the ethnical choices in the workplace was 72 that indicated I need to initiate more openness.
Pearce, J.A., & Robinson, R.B. (2009). Strategic management: Formulation, implementation,
And control. 11th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin