Most people spend their time working on various duties at their workplace. It is not surprising that most employees go through ethical dilemmas. Several dilemmas occur on daily basis, thus, posing quite a challenge to both employee and employer. However, with some common sense and clear mind, employees are able to resolve most common workplace dilemmas without losing their jobs or causing harm to their boss. An ethical dilemma is a situation whereby an individual faces an issue that is against their values, beliefs, or personal ethical standards. Most employees go through this situation all the time. When people find themselves in such situations, code of ethics is vital since they help employees in making or choosing the right decision. This is because code of ethics is usually put into place as guiding principles in the workplace. Most organizations use code of ethics as a tool to help employees make the right decision without jeopardizing the reputation of the organization (Thorne, 1998). In the workplace, human service providers are likely to face ethical dilemmas if they are attending to clientele that hold diverse values or ethics as the provider. As a service provider, when faced with such as a situation, I turn to code of ethics since they are vital in decision-making process (Blanchard & Peale, 1988).
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Because various employees tend to spend much of their time working, they tend to spend much of their time conducting personal businesses on company time. However, being in a position where your ethics are questions is obviously a difficult situation. As human service providers, they are required to stick to the rules and regulations to provide the clients with the best possible services. Nonetheless, in most cases when a client requests that the provider bend the rules, most employees find themselves in a state of quagmire. In such situation, the providers get confused on the decision they should make. As a human service provider working closely with children and families, I was astonishing to deal with clients that are my neighbours who demanded for favours. In most circumstances, I was put into unethical dilemma, which resulted a loss of our friendship. We could not even great each other when we met with my neighbour.
Since I worked as a Family Support Worker, I bumped into unethical behaviour when a client whom I knew requested me to do him a favour. In my area of duty, I attended to many people, mostly migrant families with children between the age of one year and three years. One morning, a client knocked at the door and was quick to notice that he was indeed my neighbour who had walked into my office. He asked if he could fill out an application for his son to receive childcare service. I only had two forms left, and I had promised two clients to come for the forms the same day. At this particular moment, I could not photocopy these original forms, but since it was my neighbour, I went ahead and gave him one of the forms.
Later on, the other two clients came at the same time and I was to give them the forms as I had promised. I was in a state of quagmire figuring out whom to give one form that I was left with after giving my neighbour one of the forms. I had to send one of them outside so that I can give the form to one and lie to the other client. In workplace, this act was unusual and I felt that I had done a mistake and I should consider looking for a solution. Since all the clients left their phone numbers, I had to call the one that went without a form to come for her form in two weeks time. As much as I felt that I had dealt with the problem, deep inside I was burning out of guilt that I had committed unethical behaviour in my line of duty.
Since many organizational ethics deal with ethos of an organization, I felt that it was essential I examine the organization’s shared set of beliefs. I believed that in examining the organization’s values, I was likely to determine the climate of opinions that set the standard by which right and wrong actions are judged. However, I faced another challenge because in most organizations such values or beliefs are not openly stated. In such situations, employees are left to decide what acceptable behaviours are. Most employees when found in such situations, they have to learn from their mistakes and consequently make tricky decisions. This not only inhibits productivity but also leaves an employee uncertain concerning what the organization stands for. However, it is important for organizations to clearly state in the Mission or Vision statement to help employees think in the same line with the organization (Levine & Scott, 2001).
In my situation, I had to employ what I believed was right because there were no defined code of conducts or ethics within the organization. Because I was persuaded that ethics are not “all personal” and they are the tools to shape “what an individual does,” I developed an in-class process that consequently produced a schema for clarifying right from wrong in common workplace situations. The schema was based on five presuppositions as follows:
a) Individuals have the right not to be deliberately deceived.
b) Individuals should not be pushed by other in violating their conscience.
c) Parties to an agreement have the right to expect the other party to honour the commitment, barring situations that are likely to make it virtually impossible to do so.
d) Individuals have the right to expect others to obey civil law since they protect citizenry and,
e) Organizations have the mandate to set guiding principles within the parameters of the law to promote and safeguard the interest of the organization.
To sum up, employees are faced with numerous situations whereby they are forced to succumb to unethical behaviours. However, they must stay put to deal with every situation as it presents itself. Favours should not be encouraged in the workplace because they can lower the dignity of the employee and the reputation of the organization as well as causing harm to the employer. In addition organizations must set guiding principles to ensure that organization’s interest is protected and safeguarded.
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