1. The conduct of sexual nature (verbal or written, nonverbal, visual, physical) was not welcome by the harassed and that the harassed wanted it to stop because they did not feel comfortable with those conducts 2. The conduct was to such a severe level as rape attempt or the conduct of sexual nature repeated a number of times which the harassed felt hostile in their work environment and affected their conditions of employment 3. The conduct was perceived by reasonable person that it was offensive or hostile such as inappropriate touching, sexual comment on a person’s body
Sexual relationship between people who has professional responsibilities in common is called dual relationship and this dual relationship would become unethical dual relationship if the purpose of the sexual relationship is to influence their profession or to achieve some certain goals in their profession. To this standpoint, the key ethical issue within sexual harassment is the concept of dual relationship. A sexual conduct cannot be viewed as sexual harassment if a mutual consent in writing is created between the two parties
In Vietnam since the laws have not been as strict as those of the US, severe sexual harassment such as raping would be prosecuted only if reported by the victims or known by the authority. Pervasive sexual conducts are heard here and there but there was no obvious evidence for lawsuits so that the condition of employment of the harassed is affected. Some have reported to leave their current position or to move to another department in order to avoid the harassment. To deal with such cases of harassment, it depends on whether it is severe or pervasive.
If it is of severe level, a file should be done for police’s investigation otherwise, relocation of staff to different departments to separate the alleged harasser and the harassed Question V: The ethical decision-making framework was built as a guideline to provide insight and knowledge on the process of making ethical decisions in business organization. Ethical issue intensity, organizational, individual factors and opportunities are the major concepts taken into considerations when making ethical decisions. Each of the concept influences the ethical decision-making process.
For example, the ethical issue intensity deals with the perceived importance of individual toward ethical decision and each individual is influenced by “6 spheres of influences” namely workplace, family, religion, legal system, community and profession. So people come from different religion or profession may perceive the importance of the decision differently. Corporate culture and organization’s values in the organizational factors influence individual’s decision more than that of the individual’s values so a set of values, beliefs, goals of an organization may prevail those of individual’s.
Knowing the individual factors such as age, education, nationality, gender etc help identify the tendency of making ethical or unethical decision. It is obvious that people with higher education plus more experienced in their work tend to be more ethical in their decision. However, ethical decision can be made in accordance to different perspectives. Some can choose the decision to bring about best results for the most number of people. They care about the consequences rather than other elements (teleologist).
Some can opt for the rights of individual so that their basic rights are preserved (deontologist). The framework for ethical decision-making does stress the importance of organization’s own values and culture rather than the employees’ personal values and morals and this is a significant guideline in the ethical decision-making process. Question VI: Leader in a business organization is not only concerned with business orientation but also with the ethical orientation of that organization. Strong leaders should possess some ethical habits as such: 1.
Strong personal character: In which a leader should have intellectual skills to insert his or her own sets of ethical principles to orient, to train the staff so that the staff can recognize the best ethical choice for decision making 2. Passion to do right: Once recognized the emerging ethical issues, leaders would do their utmost due duties to resolve the problems regardless of whatever challenges they might have to face. Rightness is the focal point in their ethical actions 3. Proactive: this habit of a strong ethical leaders reflects in their pioneering programs to prevent possible unethical issues
4. Consideration of stakeholders’ interests: the stakeholders’ interests are met and ethical leaders act to satisfy the stakeholders’ interests not only in term of profitability but also other rights and interests of other stakeholders who do not benefit from an organization’s profit 5. Role models for the organization’s values: This is the typical habit for any strong ethical leaders. They should serve as an example of ethical image in an organization. Their behaviors, ethical or unethical would influence their subordinates or the organization as a whole.
In Vietnam, China, Malaysia, few cases have ever been heard of a strong ethical leaders but more negative cases are heard such as the high content of melamine in milk productions in China in which the most affected stakeholders are consumers. The leaders had not had the considerations for stakeholders’ interests. Once case in Vietnam is the Vedan whose main famous product is monosodium glutamate (MSG), Vedan littered the untreated waster water directly to the river that harms the ecological conditions of the water and affected people who lived in the area.
These examples reflect the needs for strong ethical leaders with such habits described above. Question VII: The three levels of Kohlberg’s six stages of cognitive moral development can be reduced to three levels. In level 1, individuals’ behaviors revolve around the matters of self-interests and punishment. What they do is to their best interest and their concerns whether the act is morally right or wrong and any punishments related to the act. This level is similar to the first two stages of the model. In level 2, a higher level of moral development in which an individual’s action focus on the social norms.
Individual would compare his or her morality of actions to the views and expectation of the society. This level is similar to the stage 3 and 4 of the model. In level 3, an individual goes beyond the social norms, laws. A person would act according to the universal ethical principles which he or she think that people should follow. The actions are usually thought to be due moral without the interference of external pressure. Kohlberg’s model has just introduced the cognitive development of morality through different stages.
The model shows that an individual may make different decision for the same situation depending on the stage of his or her moral development thus knowing the individual’s stage of moral development would help the decision-making process. The view on moral development of Kohlberg is somehow not identical to the view of eastern culture such as Vietnam and China where sets of Confucius and Taoist moral principles were imbedded in a person from childhood through family, schools. Moral development does not seem to evolve fast enough to be on the same level of business development.
Justice is one of the moral philosophies that contribute to the ethical decision making process and it evaluates the fairness in business interactions. There are three types of justice: Distributive, procedural, and interactional justice 1. Distributive justice: is the fairness in result or outcome of the business relationship. For example two employees are rewarded different bonus for the same work. It means that the fairness in reward is not distributed equally 2. Procedural justice: is dealt with the matter of procedures or processes used to create the outcomes or results.
For example, companies should have a transparent process to resolve any disputes should there be any arising perception from employees about the inconsistency of justice in the processes 3. Interactional justice: is the evaluation of the communication processes in business relationship. It deals with the accuracy of information throughout the organization. For example, many employees may exaggerate their business expenditures but in fact they have not spent that much for business purpose. This is an example of untruthfulness about the reason for spending company’s fund. Justice is viewed differently amongst different cultures.
Western countries such as the US or Canada usually have a clearer cut for justice, fairer treatment toward employees and more appropriate reward whereas in eastern countries such as Vietnam or China, the matter of justice has not been paid much attention to. Empirically, many disputes within business organization arise from unfair treatment. Labor disputes and strikes happen here and there due to the distributive, procedural and interactional unjust in business organization.
Ferrell, O. C. , Ferrell, L. , ; Fraedrich, J (2008). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases (7th ed. ). South-Western, Cengage Learning.