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Whose Ethics?

  1. Dec 28, 2005 #1
    Whose Ethics??

    I just finished doing an online ethics course for work. Lordy was it cheesy!

    One of the things that I thought was really funny was that they are trying to promote the sorts of ethics that they as a coporation want us to have. One of the scenarios outlined in their little video was about a woman who finds out that her good friend and co-worker is going to be laid off but isd told to not say anything. To make it worse she gets a phone call from her friend later that night and he starts telling her about how he and his wife are going to be buying a new home that will be expensive but they should be able to cover it with their two incomes. The course obviously says that the this woman should not tell her friend about his being laid off because she made a promise not to say anything to her manager. They say that she should talk to the manager and tell the manager what the situation is and that they need to let him know right away.
    Then they make the situation even worse. They say well what if she happens to know that the manager had a relationship with her friend at one time and he left her for his current wife. Perhaps she now has reason to believe that this manager may be laying her friend off out of revenge, what should she do? Obviously she still doesn't tell her friend. I believe that one of the people in the video actually says "Under no circumstances should she tell him." She should go to managment above the manager that she is dealing with and tell them and if they don't do anything about it then she should seriously consider whether or not she wants to work with such people, but she shouldn't tell her friend under any circumstances.
    What a crock of hoey.

    This actress did make it somewhat pleasant though...
    [​IMG]
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 28, 2005 #2

    arildno

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    Disgusting example of the common brainwashing procedure.
    Managers and employers are not, as such, the sources of moral authority, however much some of them like to think of themselves in that way.
     
  4. Dec 28, 2005 #3

    PerennialII

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    ... have taken part in similar "lessons", what only got exercised was the gag reflex. A sorry way to try to imply an involvement of "ethics" .
     
  5. Dec 28, 2005 #4

    russ_watters

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    Not quite: they are promoting the sorts of ethics corporations will require you to have. Like it or not, when you get to the working world, you will almost certainly have to work/live under such a system.
    Like it or not, the people in charge make the rules.
     
  6. Dec 28, 2005 #5

    arildno

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    Might makes right, huh?
    I'm fully aware of how the "real world" works, I'm not too sure whether you do.
     
  7. Dec 28, 2005 #6

    russ_watters

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    No, might makes reality. I never said anything about it being "right".*
    With the combative, blanket ati-authority attitude you are displaying, I'm not sure you do.

    *That said, the typical ethics rules do have logical reasons behind them, though they are weighted toward what is "right" for the company vs "right" for the employees (at least on an individual vs group basis - sometimes what is "right" for an individual isn't "right" for the group) - and if the course Ape took wasn't teaching the why behind the rules, it wasn't getting the job done. In addition, more often than not, ethical dilemas happen in business because of people breaking (or worse, telling an underling to break) the rules. But they do occasionally also happen because of a person's position in a company conflicting with a relationship. Ie, trying to be in a position of authority vs being a friend. And people have to make decisions all the time between what is "right" for the company (and their own career) vs what is "right" for their friendship.

    As for the specific scenario in the OP, no it isn't pleasant (if they were, there'd be no dilema and so nothing to teach), but I'm sure you guys can think of reasons why it makes sense for such rules to be in place...
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2005
  8. Dec 28, 2005 #7

    arildno

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    Typical conservative statement:
    "Any action designed to redistribute power in society is morally wrong.
    Any desire, on basis of moral principles, to change the manner in which people act is "fanciful", because the "real world" doesn't work like that".
     
  9. Dec 28, 2005 #8

    BobG

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    Do they at least have a course that teaches managers that there are more than just the "official" lines of communication and that they'd better learn to tap into all lines of communication if they want to be successful?

    This scenario ignores the reality of today's working world. A person isn't likely to work for the same company for their entire life anymore and neither are their coworkers. You should always be preparing yourself for your next job and one of the ways of preparing yourself is networking. That friend that is being laid off may just get you a job somewhere down the line. About the only thing your employer will do to help you find a future job is to give a good reference if someone calls them (provided, of course, you don't blatantly defy corporate expectations, like leaking official info that you're not supposed to).

    In other words, the scenario has a purpose, even if it is in overkill mode, but the employer would have to be extremely naive to believe this training would allow them to handle a real world situation like this.
     
  10. Dec 28, 2005 #9

    russ_watters

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    Do not put words in my mouth. I said no such thing.
     
  11. Dec 28, 2005 #10
    I work in "that" system and looking at my contract it doesnt say anywhere I am required to do what was outlined in the OP...

    And before you disect my post due to choice of words, it also doesnt say I am required to have the same mentioned ethics..
     
  12. Dec 28, 2005 #11

    arildno

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    I never said you said this.
     
  13. Dec 28, 2005 #12

    russ_watters

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    :confused: :confused: You quoted me and then responded with that! Clearly you meant to imply that either I meant that and you were paraphasing or that what I said implied it. Either way, that's putting words in my mouth I didn't say.

    If you have an actual argument to make about the case or the concept, make it. What you are doing now is insulting and disingenuous.
     
  14. Dec 28, 2005 #13

    arildno

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    You started the insulting game by coming with flippant, utterly irrelevant remarks about "how the world works".
    I suggest you stop that first.
     
  15. Dec 28, 2005 #14

    russ_watters

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    The entire point of such classes is that things like that are not specifically outlined in your contract. They can't be because contracts can't cover everything. But that scenario is a fairly typical (if a little over-the-top as Bob mentioned) scenario where a person in a position in authority has information that they are not allowed to pass on to their underlings. People are in that scenario in the corporate world every day.

    Heck, I work in a company with only 5 people and because I'm the second from the top, I know about such things before the guys under me do and I was in a similar situation. In my particular case, had I known the guy being fired was about to make such a commitment, I would have made my boss aware of it, so we could stop him from doing it. If my boss had disagreed, I probably would have disobeyed, but my boss is not a heartless guy and he's aware of the realities that Bob mentioned, so it probably wouldn't have been a problem. But that doesn't mean that it still wouldn't be a difficult situation to deal with.
    :confused: :confused: Your post is quite straightforward.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2005
  16. Dec 28, 2005 #15

    russ_watters

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    If you thought my first post was flip or irrelevant, you should have made an argument stating why. Frankly, I though your first post was flip and missing the point and I pointed out why and made an argument showing why. And the correct way to respond is by making an argument explaining youself. But instead, you either misunderstood my point or intentionally misconstrued it (twice! already, in two separate posts). If you made a mistake, fine - admit it and move on. If you intentionally misconstrued it, that is not acceptable and you need to correct it.

    This may be GD, but you still can't lie about and insult people here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2005
  17. Dec 28, 2005 #16
    By require what do you mean then?

    I work in a company of about 5000 Globally, spilt into several divisions, with numerous departments.. But this scenario could not be enforced, in Europe at least, I cant see anyway they could enforce it, and hence require you to adhere to it.
     
  18. Dec 28, 2005 #17

    arildno

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    You didn't give any "argument".

    The issue in question is that in this course of "ethics", it is assumed without question that a manager has the moral authority of forbidding an employee from saying something to someone else (so that it would be immoral of the employee to go against that sanction).

    Short story: A manager does not, in general, have that type of moral authority.
     
  19. Dec 28, 2005 #18

    BobG

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    This type of scenario is also why it is extremely rare that employees wouldn't be aware that layoffs are coming, even if they don't know how many or who is being laid off. The person should have had an out where they could pointedly address the folly of making a large purchase right before a layoff without revealing any confidential info. Loyalty and communication are a two way street, even between the employer and those that are about to depart for one reason or another.

    Of course, the debate over the specific scenario is probably beside the point. They chose a bad scenario that winds up detracting from the point they're trying to make (they trusted you with confidential info and you shouldn't betray that trust). Unless it's a joint management/employee training session discussion, in which case, the discussion just might open a few eyes on both sides.
     
  20. Dec 28, 2005 #19

    arildno

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    So this is the point, eh?
    If your employers trust you with confidential info that they have been acting as criminals (in some manner), then you are morally obliged not to disclose that info?

    Nope, you're not morally obliged to in any such situation to withhold that info from others.
     
  21. Dec 28, 2005 #20

    russ_watters

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    Well, you used the word "require", but quite simply - not everything you will have to do will be outlined in your contract. That doesn't mean you won't find yourself in a similar scenario: it happens.

    I'm sure it doesn't tell you in your contract what you should do if your boss asks you to switch to a different seat at a meeting, either, but that's still something you may have to deal with.
    Oh, by "require" do you mean physically cause you to take a certain action? Well certainly they can't make you do anything (you can show up to work naked if you want), but that doesn't mean there won't be repercussions if you don't follow the instructions. That is how they exert control/force over your actions. Ie, in the scenario in the OP, if you disobey, your boss could fire or discipline you. You can still, of course, choose to risk it if you want to.
     
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