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Ethical Dilemmas in Business

Mukta Gaikwad
Distinction between right and wrong isn't a new one. However, when we are pushed in a situation to act right to avert a wrong, it creates an ethical dilemma. These are often seen in business environment as diversity and power brings its cons too.
Ethical dilemmas in business stem from challenges that push abilities of both, employer and employee, to redefine the parameters of right and wrong. Situations instigating these dilemmas are often avoidable and need to be tackled with extra care. Business ethics is a subjective issue, which creates various dimensions and interpretations to formal conduct.
Despite the complex intricacies of such dilemmas, finding a solution is the only way to make a progress. Thus, as an employer, who holds an authority over the workforce, you need to identify these ethical conflicts and resolve them with absolute objectivity to foster a healthy environment and an efficient workforce.

Examples of Ethical Dilemmas

Ignoring Unethical Actions

Nepotism is the reality of many organizations. However, stretching it too far can jeopardize the element of trust amongst employer-employee relationship. Condoning unethical actions of a few and reprimanding others for the same, can lead to severe conflict of ethics.
An employer has to be fair arbitrator who can read between the lines and deliver justice. To prevent escalation of small issues to larger fights, it is important that the person in power stands up for the cause. In failing to do so, the employees will lose trust, which will negatively impact production.

Abusing Work Ethics

Production is the aim of any organization. However, if the means to making it happen, go against the norms of work ethics, then it becomes serious issue of debate.
For instance, making employee work extra hours, robbing their holidays, taking away their paid leaves, hiring child labor and demeaning your employees disrupts work environment to a large extent.
Asking your employees for special favors is also an act of violating the prescribed work ethics. Abuse can scar your employees forever and stain the reputation of your work ethics for a lifetime.

Tarnished Images

The debate of drawing a distinction between your personal and professional life, is an old one. Despite the debate, the fact remains that both aspects of life are interwoven and have to be balanced out.
Thus, as employees, if you commit an act of personal decadence then it will also reflect badly on your organization too. In case of business ethics, bad publicity is only unwanted publicity.

Violation of Rules

The frenzy of meeting deadlines can lead to an extremely pressurizing work environment. Many times, employees break certain rules to meet their predetermined goals, without realizing the consequences. Such behavior needs to be corrected or punished immediately, to show your employees that leniency will not be tolerated.
This can lead the company in grave legal battles, that can go on for years, sullying its ethics and hampering its growth. A stitch in time saves nine, thus, a deadline can be extended, but a broken rule cannot be fixed.

Faking It

A customer is more valuable than your product. It is the demand created by the customers that makes your business run. Thus, any breach of ethics towards a customer, will make him question your credibility and the authenticity of your product.
The assurances you give to the customers and the promises you make must hold true. Abusing customer's unaware mind is most definitely an act of lie and manipulating the truth.
Ethical dilemmas in business can make an organization's worst nightmare come true for everyone involved. These issues have to be handled by steering clear from favoritism. Such dilemmas cannot be perceived as black or white, but can only be understood with shades of gray. Understand both the aspects of the problem, reflect on them for a while and look at it objectively to find a clear answer.