Business ethics are important principles that help the business stakeholders to make effective decisions on how to handle themselves in different situations during business operations. Business ethics are guided by many sets of principles that every employee must familiarize himself /herself with. In all employment contracts, both the employer and the employee have personal interests in the business. It is the responsibility of these two parties to ensure that their interests do not conflict. Any conflicts of interest tend to endanger the overall performance and operation of the business. This paper focuses on various aspects of ethical principles that are evident in a situation where a senior officer in the military is using his position and rank to acquire things from the supply clerk for personal use, by looking at responsibilities, expectations, and interest of the parties involved.
The parties involved in this case study are the employer, the senior military officer, and the supply clerk. Each of these parties has their interest, expectations, and responsibilities. In the case study, the employee and the supply clerk have some responsibilities to undertake. One of the responsibilities of the senior officer is to ensure that he safeguards the property of his employer against any misuse. The fact that both individuals are working together in misappropriating the military property show that they have failed in their responsibilities.
The expectation of these two individuals is to respect the rules and guidelines set by the employer. Under no condition should the military officer use his position to acquire things for personal use in the name of his employer against the employer's consent. Each of these individuals should understand their roles and rules guiding their relationship with the military. None of them should put their interest first at the expense the military. The supply clerk should desist from being used by the officer is doing things that are contrary to his business partner.
From the case study, it clear the senior officer has his interest. The interest of the senior officer is to benefit from the military properties against the law. Due to his seniority in the military, he can command the supply clerk to submit to his command. On the other hand, it is possible that the interest of his supply clerk is to increase the amount of supply. The interest of this two people does not conflict in any way. However, their interest may be in direct conflict with the interest of the military who is the employer of the military officer. The interest of the employer in the case study is that its properties are used for the benefit of the employer and not for any other purpose that does not benefit the military. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the military to ensure that well-developed policies are put in place to guide the employees on ethical matters concerning the use of its property. Since it is possible that the supply clerk may have colluded with the senior officer in supplying products against the set policies, then is important for the military to inform its employees about the policies concerning the issue.
It is clear that the actions of all parties, especially the officers are short of their expectations. They failed to uphold their professional responsibilities as expected. It is the responsibility of the employees to be aware of the extent that they can use the powers given to them by the employer. The employee should not use their powers to perform activities that are against the employer interest. Instead of using their power of personal gains, they should use it for the maximum benefit of the employer. Also, every employee should avoid engaging in activities compromising employers interests. For example, the employee should not engage himself/herself in business with the employer's competitors. It is also the responsibility of each party to give the employer necessary information helpful in ensuring that the goals of the employer are achieved. Such information may also include any unlawful or unethical activities on the job. In the case study, it was the responsibility of the supply clerk to inform the employer of the senior officers actions. It was also the responsibility of the senior officer to ensure that he uses his power within the bounds provided by the employer. Other professional responsibilities include avoiding the use of employer name without formal authorization. Lastly, the employee should not use their employers purchasing power in making purchases for use that are not associated with the business of the employer. However, in situations where such programs are in existence, it is important to make sure all arrangements are fair to the employer and the supplier.
The issue concerning officer and supply clerk can be seen regarding values, virtues and ethical principles used in business operations. One of the virtues broken in the case study is honesty, honor, and loyalty. Every employee is supposed, to be honest with his employer. He/she should also be honest while dealing with employer's suppliers concerning what is to be purchased in the name of the employer. In the case study, the senior officer failed to adhere to this virtue by using the name of the employer in acquiring resources from the supplier for his personal use at the expense of the employer. Also, the supply clerk fails to honor the terms of the supply contract between him and the military. The behavior shows that none of the parties were loyal to the military. This is because their actions are against the expectations and business contract between each and the military. Some of the ethical principles governing the relationship between the employer and the employer third parties include not to receive any form of payment from any of the employer's third party for performing any responsibility that is part of their official duties or duties that conflicts their duties in the office. Also, no employee should be conditioned in any manner by the business stakeholders who are extraneous to the organization they work for; regarding making decisions that are in contrary to his/her official responsibilities.
In conclusion, it is clear that business ethics are important in helping individuals to make the right decisions on issues concerning their professions. Business ethics are important in protecting employers interest in the business. Failure to adhere to this business result in conflicts of interest between all parties involved. It is, therefore, important for all involved in any business to ensure that they perform their duties based on the expectation of the contract and to ensure that they understand the limitations of the authority bestowed upon them in order avoid any unhealthy conflicts of interest.
Institute for Supply Management. Principles and standard for ethical supply management conduct. Institute for Supply Management, 2016.
McGee, R. W. Business ethics & common sense. Quorum Books, 1992.
Velasquez, M. G. Business ethics: Concepts & cases. Pearson, 2016.
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