Ethics is a concern that results from an individual moral judgment and course of action. It is the basic principle that determines the other people’s perception towards them. In a business, the employees are the face of organisation and their action determines perception of the outsiders towards the business. Likewise, the decisions taken by an organisation is influenced by the culture and ethics of the company. The option of pursuing a moral or ethical behavior in an organisation is decided by the management by putting the right measures to guide individuals in the organisation in the best course of action.
This essay illustrates how unethical behaviors in Clovers Tours and Travel Company have ruined the company for the last three years. The author provides selected cases of unethical activities and the impact thy have left in the organisation. Some of the illustrations presented have resulted to very huge losses in time and money to the company that it was in the verge of being declared bankrupt. It also highlights some of the similar occurrences in other organisation and how those companies solved them in order to restore the company’s reputation. Lastly, the author outlines a number of steps that the management of Clovers Tours and travel can take in restoring ethic in its operation.
The situation currently in my workplace at Clovers Tour Company Ltd is one that is highly characterized with lack of business and personal ethics. There has been lack of ethics program of any kind in relation to the daily organisation functions or even for the future progress of Clovers Company. In this case, due to the management’s failure to implement an ethics program, the presumed ethical principles has been defined by the employees in their own ways and passed on under the watchful eyes of the management from one employee to the other through verbatim. These problems were realized when the CEO of Clovers Tours was replaced. The New CEO has further noted possible problems that have the likelihood of arising due to lack of an ethics program in the firm. Of them is the safety of the employees and the customers and the high possibility of losing potential clients who have been the backbone of the company. These problems have continuously been compounded by the duality of the unrefined status of ethical culture in the organisation and the pressure that faces any progressing business venture. The last problem is based on the presence of the company outside USA; this makes it difficult to define ethics corporate ethics due to variations in culture between the countries. From the top level management down to the operations managers, there has been no executive who can be identified to have modeled exquisite behaviors that can be envied by others in the organisation. This paper focuses on the case study of Clovers Tours Company ethical problems and proposes solutions that the management can use to focus on solving the problem in the organisation.
Cases of Unethical Issues in the Clovers Tours Company
Unethical behaviors at work can be defined as those activities by the employees or the management that fall sort of the standards of conducting business that are expected in any established organisation. These ill actions can take place between employees themselves, employees to the management, employees and the business and also between employees and the customers. According to Chakraborty, the unethical conducts can be determined by how the employees or the managers perform their duties, or how they use the organisation resources. To some extent, these unethical conducts have gone overboard and broken the federal laws. They include the following:
- Lateness and unauthorized absenteeism at work
The employees at Clovers Tours have a tendency of missing work in the recent years. This behavior spreads from the tour van drivers, tour guides, security personnel, and even the people at the management levels. The tour guides and drivers have failed the customers at various instances by failing to show up on time leading to delay in delivery or postponement of a tour. This frustration has made quite a number of customers feel disgruntled and refused to seek the services of Clovers in future. On the other hand, the marketing team has failed to deliver the expectation of the organisation due to lack of cohesion within the team. Thus, the company has substantially suffered loss of customers and revenue due to little disciplinary cases that could have handled at the management level especially by the Human Resource department.
Stealing time from an organisation is regarded as inappropriate in business ethics. This is due to the fact that the organisation compensates all employees for work done and time spent in the organisation. Therefore, when the company receives no production from the employee, the employee is assumed to be working against the rules of ethics. In addition, time spent aimlessly browsing on the internet on matters not related to the organisation is assumed to be a breach of trust as it consist of the extended breaks running beyond the allotted time. Another common unethical issue revolves around reporting to work late or leaving before time to run personal errands while using company resources. All these are considered as different forms of unethical behaviors on time misuse.
- Inappropriate use of computers and other resources in the firm
Most of the employees entitled to personal computers in the organisation spend a lot of time browsing in the internet for fun, spending time with friends on social media and playing games. The most notorious groups with this behavior in the marketing team which is entitled by the company to lobby customers online under a strict budget.
On the other hand, drivers entitled to care for company vehicles absconds duties and undertake personal businesses at the company’s time. Being the main income generating assets of the company, the employees participate in reducing the company’s worth which is contrary to their mandate. These activities among others resultsto loss of time and resources to the company.
At times, employees may be accorded the opportunity of using the company resources to attend to personal matters when there’s a need and on approval by the relevant authorities. However, the employees at times engage in unethical behaviors in the course of their duties by using computers and other resources to satisfy their personal needs. Unauthorized use of the internet in the workplace takes much of the time that ought to be spent in work related activities. In addition, the employees also use the company assigned emails to spread inappropriate data and websites to peers. Some of these contents may be deemed unsuitable and offensive to the recipient thus damaging the name of the company and its reputation. Some of these actions may also result to criminal proceedings against the company itself or the employees.
- Sexual harassment and gender discrimination
Although it happens sparingly, this is a common behavior in the CLOVERS organisation. Although there are some parts of the job whose description requires people of a certain gender to perform, many people overlook or simply ignore sexual harassment when recruiting employees in such jobs. For instance, drivers and security personnel have often been discriminatively preserved for the male candidates even though equally qualified female candidates apply. The worst situation in this case is where an employee is sexually harassed by the boss or forced to offer sexual favors in promise for some favors in the organisation.
In other cases, employees may be reported to commit unethical behaviors by harassing their co-workers. These activities involve making lewd remarks, inappropriate touching or making unwarranted sexual advances. According to Moon, sexual bullying is also a common corrupt attempt to intimidate their co-workers as a way of demeaning them, spreading gossips, physical or verbal threats. In some cases, the bullying and discrimination can escalate into ferocity in the organisation which might make it hard to manage the organisation.
- Illegal acts
In Clovers Tours Company, an employee’s of the IT department has been alleged to conduct illegal activities with the organisation resources. An employee, who wrongfully accesses the financial information of the organisation such as bookkeeping records, can use their expertise to access and embezzle the company’s funds. Identity theft is an illegal activity and the perpetrators can be prosecuted in a court of law for fraud and attempt to commit felony. In real life, this case can be equated to the Enron Scandal of 2001 where the company’s top executives used dubious accounting practices to manipulate the stock prices for personal gains.
Enforcing Ethical Behavior in Clovers Tours Company Limited
When the situation like this happens, the employees make use of the loopholes in the organisation to behave unethically. Therefore, the top management must act swiftly in order to contain the bad behaviors. If the situation persists, the problem might spread throughout the entire business and its branches resulting to more problems, losses or even collapse of the business. Victimization of employees, customers and other stakeholders requires management protection. Thus, the vulnerable groups who are party to the business must be shielded from unethical acts of the others.
The management should involve the affected stakeholders in drafting a roadmap to guide the organization in delineating behaviors required in the organisation. For instance, the organisation should ban the use of company resources for activities outside the normal business, ban any form of harassment and discrimination, and make strict rules in time management. The organisation should also engage the services of a change manager or appoint one of the authoritative and ethical employees within its confines. There should also be a committee to deal with errant employees.
In the new disciplinary orders, there should be a clear outline of potential punishment that accompanies each unethical conduct in the organisation. However, these punitive measures should be used by the disciplinary committee as a last resort because the employees are known to respond well to positive reinforcement than threats.
The management should enact a rewards system that should help in promoting ethical behaviors in the organisation. For example, if using organisation resources for personal gain is the main problem, the company should create a rewards system for the whistle blowers who take an effort of notifying the management about the unethical employees. If a worker do an ethical act even at individual level, it is important to publicly appraise and reward him/her publicly. By doing so, the management instills a sense of responsibility that defines an ethical organisation culture.
The managers should maintain the privacy of the whistleblowers and those who file complains in the organisation. The fear of retaliation and revenge from peers may make potential whistleblowers to hesitate in forwarding important issues to the management’s attention.
The disciplinary committees should be incorporated in the ethics panel of the organisation. The panel should be large enough and should comprise of reputable employees whose judgment is respected by the rest. The panel should be empowered to investigate and pass judgment in cases that are not clear in regards to crossing the ethical boundaries.
The position of an ethics compliance office should be created in the organisation. But since the branches of Clovers Tours are not so big, an objective-based and reputable person should be appointed to perform the works of that office.
The employees should be punished effectively in order to send a message that there are consequences of unethical behaviors. For example, if a person abscond duty without communication, the person should be suspended for a period of time without allowances. The punishment should be commensurate with the level of misconduct.
After taking all the necessary measures and performing all the above activities, the change managers should stay watchful in such a way that the recurrence of the unethical actions can be detected beforehand and dealt with effectively. The employees should be encouraged to report their concerns but as a manager, one should be more proactive in dealing with such complaints. Knowing what is happening in the organisation at all times helps the manager in nipping problems before their buds open.
However if the level of unethical activities rise beyond the acceptable limits, the situation should be discussed with the organization’s lawyer and involve the relevant stakeholders. This helps in avoiding potential liabilities that are more likely to happen in the organisation. The increase in the level of unethical business conducts in the organisation increase the level of illegality no only to the employees but to the company whose existence may be nullified.