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Running head: ETHICAL DECISION MAKING IN MANAGEMENT 1
ETHICAL DECISION MAKING IN MANAGEMENT 4
Ethical Decision Making in Management
Ethical Decision Making in Management
Management decisions should be thought of first. It helps to avoid the issues of wrong decisions that come when there is haste in making decisions. Decisions that are made in haste are likely to be unethical and these have consequences. Ethical decision making in management is essential. It helps not only to improve the internal relations in the organization, but also to achieve a good legal reputation. When a manager is influenced to make wrong and unethical decisions, the product of these actions is sometimes detrimental to the organization. The management has therefore considered the implications of all the decisions made by managers collectively and individually.
Recently, I witnessed a situation that involved serious decisions to be made by a manager. The situation involved suspension from work of two female employees on the ground that they were involved in witchcraft and magic. The rumors had it that the two had been visiting a wizard seeking to be favored for promotions in the organization. The human resource manager took this matter seriously and in haste, suspending the employees indefinitely. The suspension thus affected the two employees and by extension their respective departments. The departments had to look for means to fill the positions from within as they waited for the results.
The manager made this decision on the ground that from the authoritarianism a decision had to be made. The decision was to provide the greatest good for the majority. The manager wanted to save the larger majority from the possible influence of actions of the two employees. By this the manager regarded the decision as less important compared to the end results (the end justifies the means). This safety was therefore the expected right outcome of the decision. The wrong outcomes of this decision would be a lawsuit filed against the decision by the employees and the trade unions. It is because the manager acted against the labor laws, suspending the employees without having a firm ground of allegations and without consultation with other managers. The issue of witchcraft in the labor environment is also something that is not documented in the laws. The manager therefore acted out of duty-based decisions, in which case a decision had to be made by someone. This someone therefore happened to be him in that office.
The managers decision was based on the principle of autonomy. He considered the office as the one responsible for making the human resources related decisions without external influence. He therefore did not find any necessity to consult others in the management. The managers decision is filled with issues of biases. First, there were issues of personal bias. The manager had not been in good terms with the two employees for quite a long time. It probably prevented him from considering the implications of his decision and he made the unethical decision. It could have been prevented by avoiding making a decision alone. Secondly, the decision had an action-oriented bias. The manager felt the dire need to make a decision as quickly as possible in consideration of negative effects of the employees action. In an attempt to avoid being seen as the failure in the organization, the manager made the decision, optimistic that the results would be positive. It could have been prevented through analysis of the situation and viewing the real issues. If the manager would have done it, he would have discovered that the issue does not require urgent decision making.
Thirdly, the manager acted out of self-interest. The decision was not really to benefit the organization. He wanted to be felt and feared by the employees. By suspending the employees who, as noted earlier, were not in good terms with him, the manager wanted to ensure that the remaining employees respected and feared him. He did not therefore consider the big picture of the organizations stakeholders. It could have been prevented by avoiding making decisions on the employees with whom the manager had confliction issues before. It is closely related to the issue of recency bias. The recent behaviors and unhealthy relationship between the manager and the employees resulted in the decision being made. The manager did not consider the organizational policies on employees performance. The other bias on which the decision might have been based is the social harmony bias. In this case, the manager acted out of rumors and possibly office politics, which might have been arranged and without a base. He did not study the source of information to identify if there were hidden motives, neither did he listen to the two employees before making the decision. It can be avoided by using decision making teams to consider the evidence and separate it from rumors and hence help make a decision based on real issues. The manager should also consider involving the whole management before making human resource decisions.
From this decision, the employees decided to involve the trade union to lobby for their rights. The organizations main management happened to learn of the decision officially for the first time. Knowing well that the decision was unethical and could lead to serious implications, the human resource manager was suspended to allow investigations into the matter. In the meantime, the two employees were to return to their jobs and compensated. As a long-term remedy, a decision making committee was developed to deal with issues of human resource at workplace.