As managers, we are regularly faced with complex situations that have ethical dimensions. Whether the ethical dimension is acknowledged or not, it exists as an inherent part of the decision-making process. The ethical dimensions of employment issues are often overlooked in day-to-day management activities.
One of the primary duties of a manager is to oversee and manage an employee’s work. More than likely, we have all worked for micro-managers who keep their thumbs on employees. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are managers who do not want to talk at all with employees about what they are doing. These managers are often troubled by the oversight function of their job. Regardless of management style, oversight of the work must occur. The nature of the work has an effect on the best way to oversee it. Whatever approach to oversight they take, all managers are responsible for assigning, coordinating, and reviewing the work of those who report to them. Part of this process requires that managers ask employees questions. The expectation by managers is that employees will tell the truth; however, not all employees will tell the truth at all times. Because of this situation, we must find ways to discover the truth of what an employee is doing in order to enhance our ability to oversee work.
Privacy can be a touchy subject for employees. The right to privacy is something that we hold dear. Does the situation dictate the level of privacy we are given? Many would say yes. There are different categories of privacy: information, thoughts, physical, drug testing, employee monitoring, and email/Internet monitoring. Each of these categories has distinct ethical dimensions that can make the job of a manager more difficult.
Finally, managers control the hiring process, promotions, and terminations. As we all know, these are highly complex decisions that affect overall company performance. There are systems in place to help many managers make decisions; however, these systems often don’t address the ethical dimensions of the decisions. In our reading material in this module, we explored the ethical implications of management choices and the moral concerns associated with our decisions.
For your discussion:
- Locate an article that addresses ethical issue(s) associated with employment (such as hiring, privacy, promotions, or terminations).
- Analyze the management situation using all of the three major approaches to ethics (utilitarian, rights and duties, and fairness and justice).
- Identify the underlying moral/ethical dilemma in the situation.
- Describe how managers can address the inherent ethical dimensions of this situation.