This week we reviewed connections between culture and ethical climate in a business. Our reading for the week highlighted how the values of people who operate the business lead to different decisions about how the business is run, how employees, suppliers, and customers are treated. We gained a little insight into how the tone at the top effects the way employees act throughout.
While some people consider all that is required to be ethical is to do no harm, others hold that ethical behavior requires also preventing harm when possible, and still others believe ethical behavior requires an even higher standard of doing good.
Topical Option #1
Consider the Case of the 70k Experiment. Whatever the reasons were, CEO Dan Price raised the minimum salary of every employee in his privately owned business to $70,000. This is an amount Price believed necessary for his employees to achieve a reasonable quality of life in the costly greater Seattle area. Had he chosen to continue paying market rates it would be hard to make the case he was doing harm to people, and some could argue he was even doing good by providing employment opportunities. Yet Price, and many other CEOs such as Jim Sinegal, chose to see employee wages not as a detractor from profits, but rather as a moral obligation to improve the quality of life of people working for the company. In both cases, comparable but distinct, benefits were seen by the companies. For this week’s discussion you are to respond to the following prompts:
What is the purpose of making a profit?
At what point does profit lose its value?
In other words, what would need to occur, or under what circumstances, would the value of making a profit not be worth it any longer? Such as “Profit loses its value to me if I have to break the law to get it…” but use other examples besides that.
The market rate for wages is set by this basic premise: You should pay employees as little as possible, just enough to keep them productive and to keep them from going to your competitors. While certainly logical, is this model ethical? Explicate your position using ethics and concepts we’ve covered in the course.
Topical Option #2 (Added 8/2)
In lieu of the above case discussion, you may opt to write on the following question for your module 5 discussion post:
What does it take to build and sustain an organizational culture that supports ethical behavior and business integrity? This can be applied to the culture of a team, department, or full organization.
The post must feature content reviewed this week and may incorporate theory from any of the materials covered this semester.
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