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Ethics

Organizational Storytelling, Ethics, and Morality

EJBO Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies Vol. 10, No. 2 (2005) Organizational Storytelling, Ethics and Morality: How Stories Frame Limits of Behavior in Organizations By: Michael S. Poulton Abstract In this article it is argued that codes of conduct may be a starting point in examining the ethics of a business organization, but a deeper understanding of the ethics and morality of a firm may be found in the stories that circulate from employee to employee and, more specifically, from one generation of employees to another.The search for the basis of a firm’s stance on how employees should implicitly respond to both external and internal conflicts should begin with determining the “genesis” story of the firm, the primary organizational metaphor that is derived from that narrative, and how both the master narrative and metaphor frame employees’ organizational self-perception and their responses and subsequent actions in dealing with internal and external conflict. Stories are food for the ‘epistemic’ hunger of our species.
This metaphor is, however, obviously incompatible with the notion of ‘perfect ful? llment. Just as we cannot be ever satis? ed with a single meal, or even multiples ones, even if they are absolute gourmet delights, but have to keep eating at regular intervals all our lives, so we cannot ever be ful? lled by binges of narrative activity. (Rukmini Bhaya Nair in Narrative Gravity) This paper will integrate theories of organizational storytelling and its role in forming a ? rm’s morals and ethics, how an organizational “genesis” narrative and subsequent organizational metaphor develop, and then how these two frame the organization’s ethic and moral responses to ambiguous situations.I. Ethics in the business context Ethics can be approached from a variety of directions: descriptive ethics –non-judgmental explanation of the ethical framework of societies or large institutions in a society; normative ethics – presents a speci? c view or approach to ethics which aims to set a standard of behavior for a group or society; and applied ethics – an o? shoot of normative ethics that tries to develop ethical standards for speci? c areas of human endeavor like biomedical ethics, scienti? c ethics, academic ethics and business ethics (Buchholz and Rosenthal, 1998).Business ethics, as used in this text, pertains to human interactions when sourcing, producing and marketing goods and services for pro? t, and include the relationships between business management and their employees, the ? rm and its primary stakeholders, the business and its relationships to the community, government and society in general. In the broadest sense, ethics is a society’s ongoing examination and pursuit of actions and practices that best promote the enrichment of peoples’ lives- both materially and spiritually.
It is a society’s quest for de? ing and understanding what constitutes “the good life” or “the good [that] has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim” (Aristotle, 350BC), and creating the conditions necessary for potentially all individuals to achieve it (Buchholz and Rosenthal, p. 2). Ethics is a societal discussion of what ought to be considered for overall human well-being, including the broader concepts of fairness, justice and injustice, what rights and responsibilities are operable under certain situations, and what virtues a society admires and wants to emphasize.Ethics takes an over-view, investigating the state toward which the society should be progressing economically, politically, socially and morally. As business is a purely social construct, it, too, must be engaged in a society’s ethics debate. Economist Milton Freidman is not incorrect in suggesting that the responsibility of business is to produce goods and services people are willing to pay for and, in the process, create wealth for its owners.However, as an integral, legally sanctioned constituent of the society in which it operates, business, like every other member of society, should be a participant in ethics; that is, how business might or might not participate in establishing larger social objectives which promote a ful? lling life.

For business not to participate in this discussion and eventual realization of a society’s goals is to subject itself to increased regulation and legal constraint. Regulation is merely society’s way of saying that it does not approve of the way business s operating or, that by operating the way it, is business is ignoring what the society as set as objectives and goals for itself. Unlike ethics, morality re? ects what we are currently practicing, not ethically investigating and conceptualizing where we should be. In other words, morality more pertains to our everyday experience – our “local world” as Kleinman puts it. “Experience is moral…
. because it the medium of engagement in everyday life in which things are at stake and in which ordinary people are deeply engaged as stake-holders who have important things to lose, to gain, and to preserve (Kleinman, 2000, p. 62). In business organizations, people are concerned with their status in the organization, what their work means, job security and the angst the threat of job loss can generate, de? nitions of their worth, relations with subordinates and superiors, coping with aggression and/ http://ejbo. jyu. fi/ 4 EJBO Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies Vol. 10, No.
2 (2005) or humiliation, responding pressures to perform, and the subjugation of one’s non-working morality to the demands of the organization; and each of these has a moral component.Thus, business “ethics,” then, should not be confused with business “morality. ” Morality is the sum total of a particular society’s or organization’s current perceived traditions, beliefs, values, attitudes and norms that have been cultivated over time, institutionalized in religious doctrine, laws, regulations and codes of conduct which explicitly or implicitly suggest how an individual should behave in situations as they are encountered daily. Ethics may well include a discussion of moral trends, but, again, morality de? nes primarily where we are.The use of formal, codes of conduct and carefully constructed principles of corporate “ethics” which explicitly de? ne corporate morality in its policies regarding speci? c, concrete situations such as payments to suppliers, contract bidding, con? ict of interest, external relations, corporate governance and so on, is widespread among large business organizations today. The larger and more complex the business and the greater the number and types of internal and external stakeholders, the more complex and comprehensive is its code of conduct. In the very complex, litigious, and highly regulated world in which we live, it is no wonder.
Codes of conduct are widely used to inform employees and other stakeholders about the ? rm’s recognition of regulatory obligations, to communicate corporate policies that have evolved over time, and/or to iterate the formal relationships between the ? rm and its employees. For example, United Technologies’ (UTC) Code of Ethics is an extensive statement of its Corporate Principles and Standards of Conduct that addresses the ? rm’s relations with suppliers, customers, employees, shareholders, various communities worldwide, competitor relations, and its employees’ responsibilities.Each of these main categories is, in turn, divided into speci? c topics. Under conduct toward employees, there are subtopics of adherence to equal opportunity, workplace environment, drug and alcohol abuse at work, the privacy of employees, communications policies (including use of e-mail), training, and compensation and bene? ts. In total there are thirty-? ve subsections in the UTC Code of Ethics. Additionally, the company has created a network of Business Practices/Compliance O? cers to explain elements of the Code and to advise employees who may have a speci? question (United Technologies). Obviously, UTC takes its Code very seriously.
Where UTC’s Code attempts to be legally comprehensive, a smaller ? rm’s codes or statement of business ethics may be quite simple and address only broad values that frame the ? rm’s response to moral issues. Speci? c rules and regulations may be stated more explicitly in corporate charters and human resource publications, but the “ethics” of the ? rm may be stated less formally. For the mid-sized ? rm, the code may be a simpler statement of “Immutable Values,” such as: 1) Always service the customer ? st – the hierarchy of service, growth, cost and pro? t. 2) Business designed to make pro? t. 3) Always have a strategy 4) Strive to be better before bigger 5) Strong work environment exists 6) Ownership and Accountability is pushed down and clearly understood. 7) Always share the improvements. (quoted by permission) and toward customers, its “Service Values” are: We do what we say.
Integrity What we do, we do well. Quality 5 We are no more that we say we are. Honesty We say we are not more that we deliver. Modesty We abhor mediocrity because we deserve better.Courage (quoted by permission) These values, then, form a structure within which ethical issues might be addressed. Given the rather terse way these principles are outlined, we can assume there is a more implicit set of rules or values the ? rm employees daily. For example, we do not know what the “hierarchy” mentioned in the ? rst line of “Immutable Values” really is.
We can assume they mean service is the highest and that pro? t the lowest, meaning that pro? t will ? ow from providing consistently good service to customers, although the next line gives pro? t some additional emphasis.Likewise, the “courage” to not be mediocre must have some implied meaning for the ? rm. It is not a connection one would normally make. Yet, despite carefully or, in some cases, not so professionally crafted codes, we may in fact discover more about a ? rm’s ethical and moral environment by listening to the narratives of employees and management. Where the formal code may address unambiguous moral circumstances, there are always situations which require an interpretation of rules and may rely more on personal ethics than those formally discussed at the corporate policy level (Buchholz and Rosenthal, p 177).How do individuals learn how to respond to those “gray” areas of organizational behavior? What does an employee do if the Code does not address a particular circumstance? Perhaps, as suggested in this paper, the answer lies in the stories about solutions to ethical conundrums or morally bounded situations which have occurred within the organization and which, when taken as a whole, eventually frame the ethical limits of employee responses in the future. In other words, codes of conduct represent what the ? m espouses what individuals should do normatively, while stories may transmit to others what individuals in the ? rm actually did do – successfully or not – at any given period of time.
One could argue that stories are merely tales of a response to a particular situation at a particular time in the ? rm’s history, representing the existing morality of the ? rm “at that time. ” However, there are some values in a ? rm which become, over time, truly “immutable” as the stories are told repeatedly.There are moral responses for any business that do not change drastically over time as discussed below. II. Stories in Organizations The narrative is a way for us to make sense of our experiences to ourselves and relate those experiences to others. Generally speaking, a narrative is merely the recounting of a series of events in a particular place in which actors (ourselves, included) move through or cause a series of chronological events – a fabula (Bal, 1997).A story is a structured narrative related in a particular way, that is, the sequence of the events may not be perfectly chronological, the recounting may use non-verbal signs, descriptions of place, actors, or reactions may use a variety of tropes, and the voice of the narrator may well be a participant or observer of the fabula or simply a conveyor of the story itself.
The purpose of a “good” story is to make the common themes new and fresh by using a range of poetic techniques (Shklovski, 1965; Tomashevsky, 1965).A story is a narrative that conveys a thought, a moral or virtue, a consequence in a way that forces us to look at a common message in a new way, allowing us the opportunity of not being repetitive or mundane conversationalists, that is, “story-tellers tell particular stories in order to illustrate general truths which they expect their recipients to infer; storyhttp://ejbo. jyu. fi/ EJBO Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies Vol. 10, No. 2 (2005) tellers prefer to imply rather than baldly state the general truth they are illustrating” (Nair, 2003).Oral stories can take many forms – “terse stories” (Boje, p.
115) like “You know the story, don’t you? ”(implying the listener already knows the story and has full command of the storyline and its meaning), the joke (punch line de? ned), anecdotes (crystallized, unadorned tales), narratives of great length and told with dramatic zeal (epics, sagas, myths), carefully constructed “stories” with public relations intent, and simple recounting of events. Unlike written texts, an orally recited story can be and probably will be told in myriad ways.In all cases, however, there is a moral/general truth motivating the telling. Storytelling is a powerful tool in organizational learning as well in that they communicate implicit organizational values (Schein, 1984; Randall and Martin, 2003), “legitimise [sic] types of behavior” or relate events or actions of individuals that exhibit that behavior ( Johnson and Scholes, 1999), control the behavior of others in an organization (Wilkins, 1983;) by the use of stories themselves or the words used to tell the tale (Czarniawska-Joerges and Joerges, 1988), play a signi? ant role in organizational change and are basic to the process of organizational socialization (Brown, 1985) and change (Denning, 2001) and are in integral to the storage and retrieval of organizational memory (Walsh and Ungson, 1991). An organization might be even viewed as a “collective storytelling system in which the performance of stories is a key part of members’ sense making “(Boje, 1991). But perhaps most importantly, “the power of stories and narrative derives from the story’s ability to create a framework that our mind can understand” (Brown, 2005).Weick suggests that sensemaking in an organizational setting consists of creating a meaningful present through a “combination of a past moment + connection + present moment of experience” and that “frames are past moments of socialization and cues are present moments of experience” (Weick, 1995).
To create meaning for ourselves we look to the past for generalized circumstances we have either witnessed or learned about and connect them with present experiential events, and by doing so provide ourselves with some sense of what it all means.As Weick also points out, stories are part of an organizations total “vocabulary” of sensemaking (Weick, p 111). Stories can be about frames or past socialization events, past connections made, and the cues which were extent at the time the story took place. In fact, the format of a fabula is similar to Weick’s formula above. Every story has a beginning+ middle+ end, which is in turn a kind of life dialectic of steady state + disruptive predicament + solution (new steady state). It is not a single event that makes a story, but rather a sequence of connected events. The very “sequence is the source of sense” Weick, p.
28). In a story from my working life in agribusiness, there was one about a silo that was both storing federally owned grain and privately owned grain for an export silo on the Gulf of Mexico. The manager was asked to ship a trainload of grain to the export silo immediately due to the unexpected arrival of a ship. Not having enough of his own privately owned stock, he shipped federally receipted grain on a Friday, hoping to replace it on Monday. As fate would have it, the federal inspector arrived on Monday to verify the federal stocks, which were unfortunately on their way south.The manager, it was always noted, had ? ve to ten years in Leavenworth to think about his error. The moral of the story to young silo managers was clear and is still clear today – manipulating Federal receipts is dangerous.
The point here is that each event by itself carries no real meaning; but the sequence of events and the ending steady state meant a lot to a new managerial trainee. By hearing the story 6 and putting ourselves in the role of the main character, we could envision what the consequences of our actions would be should we do the same thing.Thus, it is the stories about those employees who responded morally and were applauded or about those who exceeded the ethical and moral limits of the ? rm and su? ered the consequences which will begin to frame the organizational morality. At the same time, stories allow us to learn by vicariously living experiences of others through story. Throughout our lives, much of what we learn we do so through stories that they provide a opportunity to “organize lived and listened-to experiences” (Bransford, Brown and Cocking, 2000, p. 108;) in ways that provide new or enhanced understanding and meaning (Prusak, 2005).In fact, it is interesting to consider Vittorio Gallese’s theory of embodied simulation and its implications for understanding the power of storytelling, that is, if simulation is “an automatic, unconscious, and pre-re? exive functional mechanism” of the brain that “generates representational content,” it could, therefore, “…play a major role in our epistemic approach to the world” (Gallese, 2004).
Similar experiments using disgust as the basic emotion have determined that “there is a common mechanism for understanding the emotion in others and feeling the same emotions in ourselves. (Wicker, Keysers, Plailly, Royet, Gallese and Rizzolatti, 2003) Further experimentation may conclude that when individuals listen to stories (which generally includes visual cues by the teller) and “relive” someone else’s humiliation embarrassment over an admonishment, fear of losing one’s job or respect, joy at attaining success and so on, they may well be simulating those same feelings and responses on a neurological level. This could create as powerful a meaning or be as signi? cant a learning tool as experiencing the events of the story oneself. It is beyond the scope of this paper to delve nto the current theory of embodied simulation, but further studies may well suggest that much of the meaning of story may well be in “shared body states” (Gallese, 2004). If this is true on an individual level, it may well add to the understanding of organizational memory as “not just an individual-level phenomenon, but [one that] can apply to a supraindividual collectivity as well through a process of sharing” (Walsh and Ungson, p. 68) with storytelling only one of several methods of sharing and retaining organizational experiences as memory (Walsh and Ungson, p. 4).
Stories people tell evolve over time as external conditions and their own sensemaking needs change. After all, it is well known that Charles Perrault’s original 17th century Little Red Riding Hood (“Le petit chaperon rouge” -1697) was a precautionary tale for young girls concerning the dangers of getting into bed too quickly with unsavory, but determined, sweet-talking “wolves. ” In Grimms’s “Rotkappchen” version (in Kinderund Hausmarchen, 1812) it becomes a tale of resurrection with the live grandmother being cut out of the wolf ’s stomach by the huntsman.Today, it is more a tale of courage, revenge, and the triumph of good (Riding Hood and the since added Woodsman/Huntsman) over evil (the Wolf ) and may completely spare children the gory details about slitting open the wolf. In the modern tale the wolf is merely drowned in a well. Some versions have even paci? ed it further by having the huntsman make the wolf “spit up” grandma, knocking the wolf out, and carrying him o? deep into the woods where he will not hurt anyone again. The point here is that stories develop depending on how the morality they were initially meant to convey itself changes.
After all, stories are constructs. They are seldom concrete representations of reality. Stories are what individuals interpret as experiential reality as it is ? ltered through their psyches. As http://ejbo. jyu. fi/ EJBO Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies Vol. 10, No.
2 (2005) their realities change, so do stories. Organizational stories are no di? erent (Weick, p. 128). As one aspect of an organization’s overall culture, stories begin and evolve over time as the organization develops through its lifecycle (Schein, p. 13) and as their ecologies change.If stories are a signi? cant aspect of organizational memory in that they create a basis for relating how organizational problems were handled in the past (Boje, p. 106, Walsh and Ungson, p.
61), those stories also must be ? exible in order to handle new and perhaps even more destabilizing circumstances. At the same, time, organizations will witness the emergence of new stories as individuals comprehend, summarize and create a meaningful wholes out of the bits and pieces of organizational information that come their way (Daft and Wiginton, 1979) and become part of an organizations memory banks.Walsh and Ungson note three functions of organizational memory (1) an ‘informational role” by which organization collect and retain facts and problem-solving in the past which are then used to expedite future problems, (2) a “control function” to reduce the time necessary to implement a newly arrived at decision, and (3) a “political role” in that information and its control provide a source of power by which the actions of others can be in? uenced (Walsh and Ungson, p. 73). Storytelling plays an important role in the ? st of these three uses in that it may well be a primary method for collecting, transmitting and retaining information about past decisionmaking. But the question still arises, within what context do all of these bits and pieces become framed into a coherent whole so that speci? c solutions to internally or externally instigated problems can be approached by all members of the organization ethically and morally, using a uni? ed model? III. Genesis narratives as ethical frames A metaphor may be used to de? e an organization in that the metaphor becomes a “experiential gestalt” ( Lako? and Johnson, 1980), but the organization’s use of a metaphor to describe itself is something more.
The metaphor is derived from the genesis narrative as a way of simplify a complex of events that make up the story. The metaphor and the causal narrative behind it become the basis for how individuals in organizations frame their perception of who they are, what the organization is, and how it responds to con? ct or chaos. The genesis narrative is the wellspring for understanding the new cues which employees glean form incidental narratives heard everyday. The genesis narrative is a frame for interpreting cues to add meaning to the purpose of the organization, relations within the organization, and individual location in the organization. From a social science perspective, Somers and Gibson list four types of narratives: (1) “Ontological narratives” or those which individuals use to de? e themselves, (2) “Public narratives” or those used by organizations to de? ne themselves and act as frames for ontological narratives, (3) “Conceptual narratives,” or those narratives used by social scientist to establish a “vocabulary” by means of which major issues of society can be understood, and (4) meta- narratives or master narratives which are those all encompassing narratives of the environment in which we live such as narratives of social and economic progress and are general perceived as general truths (Somers and Gibson, 1994).Here a meta-narrative can become so powerful that it may shape our theories of history, economics, and social research despite the fact that the narrative may not coincide with the truth. It is our search for “the answer,” the great “Why? ” of systems and civilizations.
For nearly 80 years, the meta-narra7 tive of the battle between capitalism versus communism as the great ideological con? ict of the last century shaped our views of politics, history, theories of economics (Marxism and market capitalism) and even good and evil.The idea of a master narrative concept for history, for example, seems to falling out of favor (Fulford, 1999), but the term is still used in many other ? elds and may be useful here is discussing the genesis story. In this paper, a “genesis narrative” is the overriding, overarching story of an organization. I am reluctant to use the terms epic or myth – both terms conjure up something magical, ethereal, and god-like. That is, an epic is highly involved, complex narrative of discovery full of chance meetings with exotic, fanciful characters and “myth frequently involves fantastical elements (e. . man-eating ogres) subject neither to the constraints of logic nor empirical falsi? ablity” (Pondy, 1983).
Despite the desire of some to infuse organizational stories with mythical properties, the reality is that organizations are made up of ordinary people, albeit some with a more circumspect sense of leadership. It is normal for people to use metaphor or simile in narratives about “heroic” acts of past and, occasionally, present leaders, but storytellers are merely reconstructing events that involved the actions of quite regular people.True, storytellers may well exaggerate a founder’s or ground breaking hero’s “bravery,” tenacity, vision, “heroism,” honesty or borderline dishonesty in attaining organizational goals by “being victorious” over the “enemy” and “battling” regulators (my apologies to Lako? for using such metaphors), but certainly they cannot attain the mythical qualities of Achilles, Odysseus, Cuchulainn, or Gilgamesh – even over time. A business boardroom is no pantheon. In my ? rst ? m, we were amazed at the story we were told about how the founders heroically moved tons of wheat in horse-drawn wagons from Ukraine to Europe to “combat” the hunger due to prolonged drought – but we also realized that the reason for the decision was to earn a pro? t from grain starved European mills. Yet, this master narrative de? ned our purpose as young, opportunistic traders and eventually, by telling the story over and over, we convinced ourselves that we were made of the same stu? and were supposed to spend our time looking for prospects to accomplish the same feat – and the same pro? . We were living an embedded narrative that transcended our realities.
For us, the genesis narrative of the ? rm relieved us from having to ask the question “Why? ” Like our genesis story, we saw a world where commodities moved freely due to market forces, not governmental intervention. We could provide commodities where they were lacking by drawing from areas of surplus. We where the force behind the market’s relentless march toward equilibrium – and we were awarded a pro? t for doing so. Our genesis story, moving grain to alleviate a shortage, crystallized into our metaphor – the “? w. ” It seemed to us that commodities indeed did “? ow” like a global river, emanating from a ? ood of a glut, streaming into areas of least resistance. We learned we were an instrumental part of the ? ow. Genesis narratives can become so ingrained in individuals in the organization that the narrative becomes the primary way individuals organize their perceptions about the organizational component of their lives.
Much like Schein’s organizational culture, the genesis narrative is similar in that it is deeply embedded in they way individuals conceptualize the organization in which they ? d themselves. In fact, this narrative can be seen as the foundation of an organization’s culture; and where the narrative is particularly prevalent in organizational memory, the organization’s culture is strong and more easily characterized. People do not consciously conjure up the genesis story (although some try and spend millions doing so), it is simply there because it http://ejbo. jyu. fi/ EJBO Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies Vol. 10, No. 2 (2005) is told and retold so many times that individuals “relive” those aspects of the organization’s memory.
In reality, it may become one of Boje’s “terse stories” in the form of a single metaphor that is able to conjure up the entire narrative. But more than that, the genesis narrative can become so implicit that it dictates behavior – a kind of “this is what we are, so this is the way we should act” – the moral basis for ? rm and employee actions. The narrative becomes a template for our responses to both internal and external con? icts, a basis for day-to-day motivation, the organization’s raison d’etre.Most young people will recall Steve Jobs’ and Steve Wozniak’s Apple Computer genesis story that began in the Fall of 1976 in the Jobs’ family garage when the two amazingly talented young men (21 and 26 respectively) founded the Apple Computer Co. with the introduction of the ? rst Apple I personal computer. The values their story exempli? es were those of innovation, creativity, experimentation, and a conviction in the belief that personal computers would truly change lives. We also know its downfall in the face of extreme and new leadership.
According to Jobs, “What ruined Apple wasn’t growth. What ruined Apple was values.John Sculley ruined Apple and he ruined it by bringing a set of values to the top of Apple which were corrupt and corrupted some of the top people who were there, drove out some of the ones who were not corruptible, and brought in more corrupt ones and paid themselves collectively tens of millions of dollars and cared more about their own glory and wealth than they did about what built Apple in the ? rst place-which was making great computers for people to use” ( Jobs, 1995). Interestingly enough, HP was also owes its 1939 origins to a California garage, where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard built the company’s ? st product – an audio oscillator. The same readers may be less familiar with a private ? rm like Coca Cola, born in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 8, 1886 when Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a local pharmacist, produced a mildly narcotic, caramel colored syrup, took a sample down the street to Jacobs’ Pharmacy where it was mixed with carbonated water. It seems to have been a hit from the beginning.
But what the ? rm has become truly famous for, merchandising, was begun by the man Pemberton sold out to, Asa Candler, in 1889.Chandler was a dedicated and vigorous marketer and promoter, relentlessly pushing the product from the beginning via advertising, coupons, and o? ering promotional materials all imprinted with the product’s increasingly recognizable trademark. The symbol we know today was merely Pemberton’s original bookkeeper’s hand written rendition of what he thought would be a great name for the new carbonated drink (Coke website). The symbol has become ubiquitous. It exempli? es what the American market capitalist system has become to many – the ability to sell two cents worth of caramel coloring, sugar and carbonated water for a quarter.These two genesis stories have provided their ? rms with a de? nition of how they see themselves and provide their employees with an organizational gestalt in terms of their brands – Coca Cola and Apple computers – which have become metaphors themselves. Apple Computer seems to see itself as was an innovator of playful, user friendly technology, as true creators helping others create.
“Almost all of them [people working on the Mac] were musicians. A lot of them were poets on the side. They went into computers because it was so compelling. It was fresh and new. It was a new medium of expression for their creative talents.The feelings and the passion that people put into it were completely indistinguishable from a poet or a painter. Many of the people were introspective, inward people who expressed how they felt 8 about other people or the rest of humanity in general into their work, work that other people would use.
People put a lot of love into these products, and a lot of expression of their appreciation came to these things” ( Jobs). Thus, Apple’s ethics were clear. Their vision was a world where people would have easy-to-use technology to create whatever they wished. It was only later when this vision of itself transitioned into a technology marketing ? m did the company itself change as did the meaning of its genesis story and organizational metaphor for a time. Apple appears to be in the process of revitalizing the older narrative, coming out with new, innovative products like the iPod and iPhoto which support user-friendly consumer creativity. Coca Cola, on the other hand, has become a metaphor itself for universal brand name marketing and brand recognition. Chandler’s original ethic of having Coca Cola consumed by millions in every state of the Union has expanded to have Coca Cola become a global symbol of American brand marketing.
Coca Cola is what its logo as metaphor implies and is a continuation of the ? rm’s genesis narrative. Like any other story, a genesis story evolves over time. The energies and feats of founders are exaggerated and less savory aspects of their personalities are downplayed, successful problem solving methodologies become inculcated into organizational memory, failed solutions are minimized or forgotten, and new cues and events are “recorded” and relived via each new telling. What remains, however, is the genesis story itself as both master narrative and organizational metaphor. As Schein notes, “Culture is perpetually changing . . .
But this ongoing evolutionary process does not change those things that are so thoroughly learned that they come to be a stable element of the group’s life”(Schein, 1984).Genesis stories can be both positive and negative for an organization’s development. On one hand, again similar to Schein’s concept of organizational culture, they can be useful in training new employees as they begin a process of socialization, coping with disruptive external and internal con? icts, creating a sense of collegiality, or perpetuating and reinforcing the values and norms of the organization (Schein, p. 2 ). On the other hand, genesis stories that do not evolve over time can become formidable barriers to change and growth as ? rms become locked in their own stories and cannot envision themselves being anything else or responding the environment in any other way. Witness the litany of ? rms that have disappeared because of their inability to change their narrative in face of changing business and societal demands. In these cases, the genesis story became a cataclysmic anchor.
This, of course, is material for another article.One must be concerned, of course, when ? ms create genesis stories disingenuously, sustained or even “re-energized” to reinforce the metaphor and corporate coherence, and where internal marketing communications “recreate” the ? rm for control or manipulative purposes. However, forcing organizational change by creating a genesis story and metaphor that are not in tune with the embedded culture of an existing ? rm or are arti? cially messaging the facts to develop a story about a start up to force uniform, compliant behavior where none exists can only lead to employee confusion and resentment. Corporate fantasies” (Gabriel, 2000) or o? cial stories are not the same stories told around the lunch table, during after hours social sessions or at those times when employees discuss personal anxieties or question themselves, their actions or those of the corporation. Genesis stories are just that – stories. The more they are told and retold by members of an organization – and not just its management public relations department – the more embedded the ethics and the morality of the ? rm become.

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Ethics

Legal and Ethics

Stakeholdes are people who hold a stake or some share in a certain company, system or an issue. The analysis of stakeholders is a way of discerning a company or the system itself, wherein areas such as power, objectives, aims, position and relationships can be looked into. An analysis of these stakeholders will show a pattern of communication, conflict and understanding between these shareholders. This will help in resolving any differences and issues.
According to ICRA these are different types of stakeholders,
·    Key stakeholder. Are those stakeholders who have a great influence over the project and its success involved.

·    Primary stakeholder. Are those stakeholders who are direct beneficiaries of the results and the of the project.
·   Secondary stakeholder. Are those stakeholders who act as “intermediaries” inside a project or a system.
·  Active stakeholders. These stakeholders directly affect or may even determine decisions and actions in a project or a system.
·   Passive stakeholders. These are stakeholders who are directly affected by any decions and actions taken by the others.
·  Important stakeholders. These stakeholders are very important to the project itself. Their needs are of high signifcance.
·   Influential stakeholders. These are stakeholders who have the influence or the power to make decions regarding an activity or who can convince others in making a decion.
Any ethical obligations to the stakeholder can be easily balanced by offereing them substantial roles of responisibility. According to Bittner and Spence (2002), you need to identify the type of stakeholder for the kind of role. These roles can be that of ambassadors (Key/Influential/Important stakeholders), advisors (Active/Primary stakeholders), visionaries (Active), executive sponsors (Passive stakeholders) marketeers (Passive/Secondary stakeholders) or standard users (Secondary stakeholders). These roles can be interchangable depending on the responsibility that is involved and the influence that the stakeholder has in the project or the system.
According to Robertson (2000), the first step would be to identidy the requiremnts and inturn to identify the stakeholders. Next step would be to recognize the kind of role they plan to play in the project along with their level of involvemnt and commitment to the project. This will very well enable us to understand any conflicts that arise and help us to comeup with any resolutions for it.
Stakeholders are very important people irrespective of the kind of role they play. All need to be respected and taken care of equally so that the project does not suffer in the long run but instead benefits with the experience and idealogies of such capable and able people.
References
ICRA. ICRA Learning Materials – Stakeholders – Key Concepts.
Bittner, K, Spence, I (2002). Use Case Modeling. Addison-Wesley
Professional. System design
Robertson. S (2000). Project Sociology:Identifying and involving the stakeholders. The Atlantic Systems Guild Ltd

Categories
Ethics

Ethics Assignment

Table of Contents 1. 0 Aims1 2. 0 Objectives3 3. 0 Introduction5 4. 0 Questions (a) and (b)13 5. 0 Conclusion14 6. 0 References15 1. 0 Aims To understand students understand the importance of work ethics in the work place. 2. 0 Objectives 1. Instill strong organizational values. 2. Build an integrity-based organization. 3. Develop ethical behavioral influences. 4. Implement plans and strategies to achieve ethical excellence. 3. 0 Introduction According to Chester Barnard, an organization is a system of consciously coordinated activities or efforts of two or more persons.
His meaning of organization implies formal planning, division, of labor and leadership. On the other hand, Bedeian and Zamnuto see organizations as social entities that are goal directed, deliberately structured activity systems with a permeable boundary. Their meaning of “deliberately structured activity systems” basically means that organizations are structured in a proper way jobs are divided among people to achieve a common goal. According to www. dictionary. com, an organization a social unit of people that is structured and managed to meet a need or to pursue collective goals.
Every organization has a management structure which will divide and break down the roles and tasks of different members. Organizations are also regarded as open systems which affects and also are affected by environment. (dictionary. com, n. d. ) In any organization, reputation is very important and ethics plays a vital role in the success of an organization. In short, ethics is the choices which individuals make both in their personal and professional lives which deal with morality such as right versus wrong. Charles D. Little, 2000) Business ethics also refers to ways in an organization carry out its business according to the accepted moral standards. It is actually a set of moral principles and code of conducts applicable to all businesses which not only relates to the customer itself but to the society as well. It also implies the ways of conducting business in a way which not only benefit oneself but to benefit everyone as a whole. According to Charles D.

Little, organizational business ethics is the application of these morality related choices as influenced and guided by values, standards, rules, principles, and strategies which is related to an organization’s activities and business situations. Laura Nash with a Ph. D. from Harvard University further asserts that business ethics deals with choices about what laws should be and whether to follow them, about economics and social issues outside the law, and about the priority of self-interests over the company’s interests. (Laura Nash, 2000) . 0 Questions a) How can employers develop a better work ethics in the workstation? i) Employers should lead by example and practice what they preach. Employers should always lead by example by first doing what they want their employees to do. This is because if the manager itself practices what he preach, it shows how serious he is in leading by example. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) ii) Reward and praise those who deserve. Simple things like a thank you note or a note of praise will go a long way in showing you appreciation towards the employee.
It will show how the employers appreciate its employees and also that the employers are not those who will take all the credit by themselves. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) iii) Reprimand those who go against work ethics. If there is anyone in the organization who breaks the rules of a company, action should be taken towards that employee to show how serious the organization is in dealing with ethical issues. It will also serve as a reminder to others to not go against any ethical code of conducts set by a company. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) iv) Legal and regulatory compliance.
One way to develop better work ethics in the workstation is through legal and regulatory compliance. Employers should conduct their businesses according to the law in order to hold fast to the values of integrity which will help contribute to a company’s good reputation. (John J. Kane, n. d. ) v) Be accountable. Employers should also be accountable to whatever they do. The Code of Ethics by the Society of Professional Journalists states that admitting their own mistakes will make employees know that one should owe up to their own mistakes instead of running away from them.
By doing this, employees will know that they would have to owe up to whatever they do and it is not right for them to push the blame to someone else for their own deeds as it is unethical. This practice will greatly help avoid unethical practices in the workstation. (spj, n. d. ) vi) Maintain true and accurate records and also proper disposal of records. Employers should always maintain true and accurate records and also the proper disposal of records. Information should not be alter or falsify to mislead the public.
When appropriate, business information should also be destroyed according to the legal requirements in a proper way to protect the privacy of stakeholders such as customers and employees of the company. (John J. Kane, n. d. ) vii) Should not practice favoritism. Employers should not practice favoritism in the workplace. They should always treat all employees equally. This to prevent any jealousy by any parties which could cause unethical work practices. A work environment where everyone is treated fair and just will reduce the chances of unethical behavior because employees will not feel less important or unappreciated. Code of Conduct, n. d. ) viii) Do not practice bribes and kickbacks. Bribes and kickbacks should not be practice in the company and should be strictly prohibited. Managers should never accept any bribes or favors from any parties for their own interest. Business arrangements with any outside parties should also be written out in a proper document and be approved by the legal counsel or authority in charged to avoid unhealthy practices in an organization. (John J. Kane, n. d. ) ix) Penalties The company should also enforce penalties to those who engage in unethical practices.
Those who engaged in unethical practices should be demoted, laid off or be made responsible for their acts such as paying a fine. This would help prevent others in the organization from engaging in unethical behavior. (John J. Kane, n. d. ) x) Establish whistleblower provisions. Employers should also establish whistleblower provisions to protect employees who in good faith report misconducts by any party. This is to avoid retaliation, threats, harassment and discrimination by other employees.
The establishment of this kind of act will encourage more people to speak up and unethical practices in a company can be eliminated. (John J. Kayne, n. d. ) xi) Tighten electronic and security requirements. Companies should tighten electronic and security requirements. This is to commit to protecting all aspects of information systems and at the same time make sure that all the organization abides by the policies established. This will help protect private information from being leaked out or stealing of information from other parties.
This could help reduce the number of hackers whose aim is to steal private information. A system to monitor electronic data used in the company should also be implemented so that employees and employers alike could not simply disclosed or misuse information for activities that are unlawful and inappropriate. (John J. Kane, n. d. ) b) How do we (employers and employees) ensure that positive shared values are practiced and promoted to create an ethics-driven culture in the organization? i) Respect and avoid criticizing your employer.
Employees should communicate effectively with the boss and respect them as their superiors. As times have change and more employers are more open to suggestions and feedback from employees but it does not mean that the employee could lash out anything at the employer. The employee should always know where to draw the line and never go overboard to criticize them or talk behind their backs. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) ii) Do not befriend your colleagues for the wrong reasons. Times have change and people nowadays are getting more busybody.
There is always the office gossip where people want to know what is going on in other people’s lives. However, the best way is to always be honest in all your friendships and do not befriend others just to benefit from them. This is because people will always appreciate genuine friendship and befriending someone just to get something from him or her will not leave a good impression about you to others. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) iii) Avoid comparison. Everyone is unique in their own way, have their own set of talents and skills which is why people are assigned to different roles and tasks.
One should not compare one’s work to other people or complain whenever another gets promoted. This is because promotion will come when you deserved it. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) iv) Do not interfere in other people’s affairs. Each and everyone in an organization should respect other’s privacy and should never try to interfere in people’s private affairs. Do not insist on knowing something if that colleague is reluctant to tell you and do not be too enthusiastic in giving your opinions.
If someone confides in you about his or her problem, one should only listen and give them support which they need instead of tons and tons of advice. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) v) Do not be a busy-body. One good attitude to be practiced in the workplace is to not stick into other people’s affairs. One should instead use the energy to do better in their own work instead of poking into other people’s business. By doing this it will create a pleasant environment to work into and people will feel comfortable working with you. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) vi) Dress professionally.
Both employers and employees should always dress up professionally as the attire will speaks for itself and it will reflect well about the company towards an external organization. Therefore, people should always the dress code set by a company. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) vii) Leave personal matters at home. People should not bring their family to work as it may make other employees’ uncomfortable. Second, they should also not talk about family matters in the office as not everyone will be interested in their family matters. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) viii) Respect the contribution by others.
When a colleague is praise or rewarded for his or her good performance, one should not get jealous because it will help to improve the organization and you yourself will stand to benefit from his or her performance. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) ix) Take credit only if it is yours and do not brag about it. If you had contributed to the success of something, then you should acknowledge it and should celebrate your achievements. However, if it is other’s work, then by all means direct credit to them. Besides, one should also not keep bragging their achievements in the workplace. Prema Jayabalan, 2013) x) Be informed. One should always themselves about everything which is happening around in an organization. It is not good to not know anything about your company as it will reflect how people look at you as a person. Besides, being updated in an organization will help generate a good impression about you to the employer as it shows that you are competent and relevant to the workplace. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) xi) Should not share or access any confidential information. Both employers and employees should not access or share any confidential information with anyone.
It is very vital for both employers and employees to protect any information within their records so that each and every person’s privacy is respected. Private information should also never be sent over the Internet except through the use of secure methods to prevent the leakage of private information. This practice will ensure that every person’s private and personal space is respected. (John J. Kane, n. d. ) xii) Never let conflict of interest intersect with work problems. Employers and employees should never let conflict of interest intersect with work problems. They should always put the organization’s interest before their own interest.
To prevent conflict of interest from affecting professional judgement, employees are also not encouraged to deal with customers or others who are their close friends or relatives. (John J. Kane, n. d. ) xiii) Maintain a professional work environment. Both employers and employees should always maintain a professional work environment. Everyone should be treated fairly with respect, courtesy and consideration and they should not be any biasness in the workplace. This is to maintain a workplace free of any harassment or discrimination to ensure that both employers and employees could work in a positive environment with an ethics-driven cukture. John J. Kane, n. d. ) xiv) Stay free of substances such as drugs and alcohol. Both employers and employees should stay free of substances such as drugs and alcohol. Everyone should report to work free from any abuse of substances to prevent the influence of any drugs or alcohol while working and also to prevent any discomfort to other colleagues. This is also because working under the influence of alcohol and drugs could cause one to not be able to think properly and may cause tantrums which may disturb the peacefulness in the workplace. xv) Give everyone equal treatment.
Employers and employees alike should be given equal treatment meaning that everyone is given equal opportunity. The setting at the workplace should be such that cultural differences are celebrated and does not discriminate by gender, sex, race, colour, or creed. Employment should be based on a merit system related to competence and qualifications of the worker rather than based on a person’s gender, race, colour, or creed. (John J. Kane, n. d. ) xvi) Be honest and truthful. Employers and employees alike should always be honest and truthful in all their actions.
When everyone in an organization is honest and truthful to each other, they will be a high level of trust among each other and this will lead to higher productivity as it is always easier to work with a trusted person. (Code of Conduct, n. d. ) xvii) Practice integrity. Employers and employees should practice integrity at all times. They should be fair and honest in all business dealings and also all other aspects of business so that outsiders such as suppliers, customers and the public will have faith in the organization.
Thus, the reputation of the organization will be uplifted and everyone in the organization will be more motivated to practice ethical behaviour in the company. (Code of Conduct, n. d. ) xviii) Be responsible. Employers and employees should also be responsible at work. They should be committed to their work and develop a high sense of accountability as these would make working in an organization more pleasant. (Code of Conduct, n. d. ) xix) Practice high citizenship behaviour. Employers and employees should practice high citizenship behaviour meaning that they are patriotic, loyal and highly committed towards their company.
They should always participate in all the matters relating to the progression of the company as this action will benefit and further motivate everyone in the company. (Code of Conduct, n. d. ) xx) Care for each other. Employers and employees should be caring towards each other. They should always show compassion and kindness to their colleagues and this must come from the heart. It will make people touch and people will be ready to open up to each other. This practice of openness will help discourage unethical behaviour and it will further stimulate a highly ethical work environment. Code of Conduct, n. d. ) 5. 0 Conclusion Ethics is a very important aspect which must be practice by all companies to ensure their survival and also its reputation. Lack of ethics in a company could easily cause a company’s downfall as it loses trust from other parties. Ethics is also important to ensure employees’ commitment as an employee will definitely not leave if he or she is treated appropriately. Long serving employees will also contribute to increase investor and customer loyalty and confidence as it is an undeniable fact that everyone loves and honest company who looks after its people well.
Workplace ethics is very important because it enhances teamwork. With teamwork, it will enable employees to work together without any conflicts or prejudice. They will also be better to understand their employer’s expectations and could motivate and push each other to excel in a given task. This will also make working easier as they is a high level of trust, sincerity and partnership in the organization. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) It is also important as every employee will want to feel secure in a job. This will make employees more motivated to go to work as they know that they will not lose their job if they were not given valid reasons.
Thus, employee productivity will be higher as they will feel appreciated and will not be harassed by other workers. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) Workplace ethics are also important as it helps protect the company’s privacy as well as property. Organizations where all employees strictly adhere to the code of ethics need not fear any leaking out of company’s information, truancy, taking false sick leave and other disciplinary and ethical issues. From then employer’s viewpoint, they should always treat their workers with respect and reward those who deserve. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) Ethics is also very important in aintaining a company’s reputation because the society at large will always admire and look up to a company which is ethical. This is because it shows that the organization is sincere and genuine in conducting their business and this will help attract more people towards the organization. (Prema Jayabalan, 2013) 6. 0 References Prema Jayabalan (2013), Workplace ethics: Ensuring harmony in the office [online] Available from : http://mystarjob. com/articles/story. aspx? file=%2F2013%2F2%2F2%2Fmystarjob_careerguide%2F12606844&sec=mystarjob_careerguide (Accessed on 27th February 2013) John J.
Kane (2013), Code of Conducts and Ethics [online] Available from : http://codeofconduct. pdf (Accessed on 25th February 2013) Businessdictionary. com (n. d. ), What is an Organization? [online] Available from : http://www. businessdictionary. com/definition/organization. html#ixzz2LVVEI0Il (Accessed on 27th February 2013) Managementstudyguide. com (2008), Business Ethics – A Successful way of conducting business [online] Available from : http://www. managementstudyguide. com/business-ethics. htm (Accessed on 27th February 2013) Spj. org (2012), Society of Professional Journalists: SPJ Code of Ethics [online] Available from : http://www. pj. org/ethicscode. asp (Accessed on 27th February 2013) Don Knauss (n. d. ), The Role Of Business Ethics In Relationships With Customers [online] Available from : http://www. forbes. com/2010/01/19/knauss-clorox-ethics-leadership-citizenship-ethics. html (Accessed on 28th February 2013) Sumitama Mukherjee (n. d. ), What is an Organization? [online] Available from : http://whatisanorganization. pdf (Accessed on 28th February 2013) Charles D. Little (n. d. ), Organizational/Business Ethics [online] Available from : http://wweb. uta. edu/management/Dr. Little/… /Organizational%20Ethics. ppt (Accessed on 28th February 2013)

Categories
Ethics

BUS ETHICS

The concept of a soft drink has evolved significantly over the past few decades. Over a period of time, the industry’ has broadened by offering more of a variety to its consumers. With health issues on the rise, the industry has made healthier beverages available to consumers. The soda industry consists of many beverage companies, but the industry/s giants are Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Actuary Speeches. The soda industry is represented by the American Beverage Association, and many franchise companies are now members of this Association. Some companies assist and provide funding for scientific initiatives.
The American Beverage Association and its companies are unified in wanting to take a leadership role in obesity/nutrition issues (Koshering, 2005). The Center for Science and Public Interest says that teenagers are consuming more high calorie drinks than ever, and fewer diet drinks than in years past, despite growing concerns about obesity (Affairs, 2005). The ASPI and other groups have sought to limit the sale of soft drinks in schools as part of a larger effort to combat the growing problems of childhood obesity and related health issues.
Despite all, it is not feasible to blame one food product r beverage as sole contributor to any health issue. Consumers are at liberty to choose for themselves. The soda industry assumes responsibility by educating its consumers on the sugar content in all beverages. In addition, soda companies offer many alternatives to consumers. “Obesity and other issues are bigger issues in the states than in Washington, and they are tougher to fight in the states because you are dealing with 50 legislatures and maybe 100,000 school boards” (Finniest, 2005, p. 0). About one in every four people aged 18 to 34 drink one or more sodas per day, compared to people 55 or older (Mendel, 2014). It is the responsibility of parents with underage children to monitor their children’s soda intake since most soft drinks are high in sugar. The negative effects that will occur when soft drinks are abused are inevitable. Most people are aware that too many sugary drinks can negatively affect their health; however, they continue to over-drink due to lack of concern, flavor, and easy accessibility.

Although sugary drinks are the major contributor to the obesity epidemic, and our nation spends $1 90 billion a year treating obesity-related health issues, consumers are still downing soft drinks. Is it the industry negligent if consumers are over drinking? Absolutely not! The industry is not responsible for the amounts of sodas consumers drink; the consumers are! Many people believe that the soda industry is more concerned with its profit than its consumers. All businesses strive to gain profit and target markets where sales will be higher through advertising and marketing; however, consumers are important.
Coca Cola is one of the giants in the soda industry. In 2013 Coke launched an anti-obesity advertisement recognizing the sweetened soda and many other food and drinks that contributed to the obesity epidemic. They then advertised their wide array of calorie-free beverages to encourage consumers to take responsibility for their own drink choices and weight (Chance, 2009). I advocate for the industry because of its continuous effort to gear towards the needs of consumers. The soda industry is constantly satisfying their responsibility by educating the public about the dangers of compulsive consumption of sugary drinks.
Sugary drinks combine with caffeine should heighten the awareness of the public and spark consumer attention to its health risk. Explain the Role Capitalism Plays in Corporate Decision Making Capitalism souses on profits driven by sales of products and services to willing consumers. Senior corporate executives generally have authority over the promotion of public goods and are under government control. It is also customary that the distinction be made between public and private sectors. In this industry, capitalism motivates and encourages stronger competition.
Competition stimulates the economy, and it encourages productivity. Beverage companies compete through marketing strategies. For example, Coca Cola has an edge on PepsiCo because of its connection with people. Coca Cola conducts a market research study every three years across 55 cities. This market research was constructed around understanding human motivation. For example, human motivation is important to Coca Cola, that same motivation stimulate feelings of belonging, and the desire of affiliation (Saurian, 2013).
When making corporate decisions, executives rely on human desire; therefore, the market is limited by what people desire. Capitalism embraces human desires, and corporate decision making play an important role in shaping the collective life of society as a whole. Capitalism plays many oleos; it allows business to sell their products or services at whatever the market accepts. Under the role of capitalism, people are able to work at jobs they so desire. It is in the interest of corporations that an increasingly greater proportion of people have the ability to enjoy the good life (Journeyman, 1993).
Discuss if you Believe it is Possible for a Company to Cater to Both its Best Interest and the Consumers Conjointly or if one has to Prevail. When we focus on the success of any business, the first element considered is their customer base. Without loyal customers, the business merely exists ND will soon fail. Often times many employees working for companies forget that customers want to be loyal, it makes them feel good to belong; however, companies forget that loyalty is a two way street.
Customers are the meat to any successful business and it is the responsibility of the business to cater to their customers. Maximizing customer satisfaction makes an important contribution to maximizing profits; however, the company is still faced with other factors such as; cost control, marketing, and productivity. These key factors can impact a business’s bottom line. When customers are testified there is an opportunity to increase the repeat of sales. When customers are satisfied they tell other customers and in return, businesses profit.

Categories
Ethics

Ethical Norms That Muslims Are Expected to Uphold

Prior to start the answer of my question, I would like to explain what we mean by morals and ethics. To define ethics would be relatively simple. According to dictionary “ethics” may be defined as a set of principles of right conduct or a system of moral values. But moral is something within our self i. e. something innate. According to Abul ‘Ala Al-Mawdudi “Man has been blessed with an innate sense of morality, which has served to guide him through the age, enabling him to distinguish between right and wrong and good and evil. Now, the problem is that the degree according to which a person thinks a certain act as good or bad varies from person to person.
Therefore to ease us from this problem, God through Quran told us certain moral & ethical norms which we are supposed to follow. This can be explained through certain principles: First of all, we need to see that according to Quran, who is a good Muslim? The answer to this question is given beautifully in Quran when Allah tells us the description of a righteous and religiously committed Muslim. According to this verse, a good Muslim is who, ho obeys all the regulations mentioned in Quran and whose focus in life is love of Allah.
And after that the focus is love of humanity. He is the person who believes on Day of Judgment and therefore is afraid of that. We can be a good person if we do good deeds e. g. giving charity to poor and needy people, looking after the orphans, offer prayers and give zakat. Finally his individual faith must remain firm and unshaken in all circumstances. 1. ATTITUDE TOWARDS PARENTS: After Allah & the Prophet the Quran tells us to give maximum respect to our parents.

In Quran its written at 17 : 23-24 “Your Sustainer has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life-time, do not say to them a word of contempt nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor and, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say: My Sustainer! Bestow on them your mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood. ” From this we can see the amount of respect given to our parents. In Quran we have been told that we should not say a word of contempt to our parents and should always give them respect.
This is because when we were small and were unable to look after our self, they were the one who looked after us. Therefore when its our turn to look after them we should not feel bad rather should try to keep them as happy as we can because one should never forget that if today we are young, tomorrow we will be old and if we won’t look after our parents, our children won’t look after us because our children will learn from us. Thus when we will be kind to our parents, our children would be kind to us. 2. GOODNESS TO NEIGHBOUR AND GUESTS. The importance of neighbors is emphasized a lot in Quran.
Its importance can be well understood by the statement by the prophet that “He is not a believer who eats his fill while his neighbor beside him is hungry”. Islam is so caring about the rights of neighbors that even it doesn’t requires that we should only be good to our neighbors provided that he is a Muslim. Our neighbors can belong to any religion A Muslim must treat his neighbor and guests kindly whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims. 3. ATTITUDE TOWARDS WIVES AND CHILDREN We should never ever forget that Islam was the first religion which gave women equal rights as men.
Before Islam wives were miss treated and new born female babies were killed. But Islam condemned this. In Quran at (2:22) its written that ”And they (the women) have rights similar to those (men have) over them in a just manner”. Islam also gives lot of importance to children especially if they are orphans. We can find numerous times in Quran the importance it gives to children. In Quran at (4:127) its written that “You should deal justly with orphans”. 4. ATTITUDE TOWARDS FELLOW MUSLIMS: Islam is a religion which tells us about brotherhood. It’s a religion which emphasizes a lot on helping each other in difficult times.
According to Islam, all Muslims are brothers and sisters. There is a special term used in Arabic as ”UKHUWWAH ISLAAMIYAH” meaning Islamic brotherhood. In Quran Allah tells us (49:10) “The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy. ” Islam tells us to live in peace and harmony. The Prophet (p. b. u. h) said:” A man does not accuse another of being a transgressor nor does he accuse him of being a ”KAAFIR”. But it (the epithet) comes back to him, if his companion is not such. ‘ In Quran (25:63) “And the servants of the Beneficent Allah are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace. ” 5. ISLAM…… A POLITE & PEACEFUL RELIGION: Throughout Quran we find teachings of Peace, teachings about doing well to others and to talk politely with others.
According to Abul ‘Ala Al-Mawdudi in his work on “The Moral System Of Islam” “People who are polite, sincere, upright, dependable, who are prompt in discharging their obligations to others, who live in peace and allow others to do likewise have always formed the core of any healthy society. And this is what Islam teaches us. Allah in Quran has told us that “And the servants of the beneficent are they who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, PEACE! And they who pass the night prostrating themselves before their lord and standing. ” (25:63&64) 6. PATIENCE IN ISLAM: Over the course of time, Allah sent many Prophets to mankind to guide and instruct them in their daily as well as religious matters. All the Prophets guided us. But among all the Prophets, the Prophet who had most patience was Hazrat Muhammad (p. b. u. h).
Since our Prophet was a symbol of patience, therefore we the Muslims are supposed to show patience in our daily lives as well. Allah through Quran tells us ” O you believe, seek assistance through patience and prayer, surely Allah is with the patient” . In another place in Quran, Allah talking about His blessings and His mercy says “And none are made to receive it but those who are patient and none are made to receive it but those who have a mighty good fortune. ” 7. FORGIVENESS IN ISLAM: Throughout Quran, we have been given instructions for forgiveness. If we forgive our fellow human being, Allah will forgive us.
Allah in Quran tells us that “Praised are they who restrain their anger and pardon the faults of others; and god loves those who do good to others. ” (3;133). If we start forgiving each other there will be many disputes which will end and most of us would be able to live a peaceful life. PART II (a): These days we are living in a strange world, where nations are in conflict with each other, a world where strong dominates the week. If we look around us, we will see that everywhere there is anarchy. It is very unfortunate of us that most of moral & ethical norms which are told to us by our religion are missing from our society.
We have lost patience, we have forgotten the meanings of forgiveness, we are least concerned about the rights of fellow society members, we are unjust in our daily dealings, there is no one to look after the orphans and our minds have transformed into totally profit oriented and self centered minds. We are Muslims. The name of religion which we practice is “ISLAM” meaning “PEACE”, but unfortunately this is one thing which is in a serious lack in our society , rather if I say that this is one thing which is lacked in almost every society of the world, I don’t think that I would be wrong in saying that.
The times through which we are passing are disturbed and distressing and in order to live in a perfect society, we need peace. “PEACE” is basically a very broad term and if I start writing on that then this would require many pages. But while I will talk about Peace, I will concentrate more on a sub category i. e. Relations with other people living in our society. Let’s start from our homes and discuss peace. In past years, families especially in our part of world used to live together in peace and harmony. But with time our traditions and culture has changed. Now people don’t prefer living in joint families.
And if in some circumstances the Parents of married people live with them, mostly they are not respected. Parents are considered as a burden. Although in western societies, the concept of old homes is not a new one but in our society even now, this is not considered good. But there are many parents in our society, who would prefer living in Old homes than with their children because they are not at-all respected in there homes. They are treated like an extra family member and sometimes are even treated worse than the servants. This practice is totally against the very basic teachings of Islam.
Then in order to get a closer look at PEACE in our society we put a glance at peace inside our society i. e. relations with other society members. Many people living in metropolitan cities even don’t know the names of their neighbors while our religion tells us that those people are not true believers who eat by them self while their neighbors sleep hungry. But on the other hand, due to various economic pressures every person wants to get better and better than other. And in this pursuit they many time do certain acts which are not at all good for the society as a whole.
And it is due to these practices that the gap between the rich and poor is widening at a drastic rate. The rich people are becoming richer while the poor people are getting poorer. The jealously among the poor for rich is increasing. If we look around us, we will see many children who don’t even get bread two times a day while on the other hand we have people whose dogs eat better than many poor people. There are people who are sending their children abroad to get higher education by paying hudge amounts while we have children who when learn to walk are sent to workshops to earn money to support their families.
And due to this we find the daily newspapers filled with news of terror, people getting robbed, women are unsafe alone at their home, people prefer not to go outside during nights, and the economic depressions are increasing day by day. Even at times we get to hear news like brother killing his brother just for the sake of money or land. To implement peace properly, we need justice. But if we look around us, we will find that hardly in our society. Justice for any ordinary person is simply out of reach. While on the other hand our religions talks about justice available at the door step of every citizen.
These days’ people buy justice. Our society has been divided unfortunately in different casts. Many people are so cast oriented that according to them Justice and other rights are only for their own people (casts). This all injustice has caused a serious lack of peace and harmony amongst us. Quran always talks about merit but we see that there are many well educated people who are unemployed because of the fact that they don’t have references to get the jobs. They have got degrees, they deserve but the less deserving candidate gets the job because he has got reference of a strong and well known person.
So peace is something missing from our society and when I talk about peace I mean peace in general while concentrating more on relations with other fellows of our society. P. S: While I am writing this I don’t mean that every person living in our society has forgotten the true meanings of Islam but while I talk, I talk about the majority and unfortunately the majority has forgotten the true meanings of Islam. PART II (b): Identify and discuss three solutions (in order of priority) that we, as a society, can work on to overcome this problem.
For each of these three solutions, clearly sketch out a plan that could be used to eradicate the problem. In order to overcome the problem of peace we can act on the following three steps. They are: Minimun wage level and opportunities of jobs for every person. * An efficient system of taxation and its re-allocation: If we look around, we will find out that most of the lack in peace is caused due to the hudge gap between the poor and the rich. What we need is such a system other than the “zakat” that should make sure that the gap between the rich and the poor is reduced.
What our society needs is basically an efficient system of taxation and very well system of its re-allocation. The system should be such that the Government gets enough amount to spend on the over all growth of society as well as maintaining a decent living standard for every person of our society. There are many people in our society who can’t afford to eat even two times in a day. With an efficient system of taxation the Government should make sure that every liable person who is supposed to pay tax, pays tax and can’t do tax stealing.
This can be a progressive tax system in which the rich people pay more while the poor pay less. In this way the hudge gap between the poor and the rich will be reduced and this reduction will cause a reduction in jealously amongst poor for rich. Then with an efficient system of tax re-allocation the Government should make sure that those people who can’t find jobs are given enough amounts on monthly basis for the time they are unemployed that they can at least feed themselves and their children.
Then with the proper re-allocation of tax amount the Government can open Orphan homes in which it should be the responsibility of the government to look after orphans as they are also a part of our society. Normally what the Governments of our society do is that they spend the tax revenue on their own perquisites e. g. increasing the pays of member of parliaments, buying new cars, making foreign trips and sponsoring the Government officials and their families to get the medical treatment from abroad. On such type of expenses the Government pays a hudge amount.
Our society is not a society which can afford this all stuff. What our Governments need is to spend on the reconstruction and growth of our society and economy. Only by doing so we can create a peaceful society. This is because of the fact that when people will see that the Government is doing for their betterment they will feel good for the society as a whole and would try to contribute to the society positively. By doing so, people will feel better about each other. When the economic depression on people will reduce their daily lives will be better and society as a whole will improve.
Most people in our society have adopted an attitude of indifference to the practical problems of life so what we need is that we should realize those people that they are a part of the society and the society is a home for us and we cant adopt the attitude of indifference towards our home. So when we can’t do that for our home then why to adopt that for our society. Therefore we should try to solve the problems that our society faces everyday and should not give impression to Government that whatever it does, we are indifferent.
Rather we should give the impression that whatever the Government does has a direct impact on us. * Proper enforcement of Justice Justice is no doubt a very important foundation of every successful society. Societies have become successful on the basis of a good system of justice and the availability of justice to every citizen without the fact that the person who seeks justice is poor or rich. Islam gives a lot of importance to Justice. Justice is not just restricted to courts. Rather along with courts justice should also be utilized while giving jobs and in Police Stations.
Unfortunately a parasite which is destroying our society is a new trend that job is only given to people with strong references. Due to this practice the deserving people for jobs are not given the jobs while the people who don’t deserve the job are given the jobs. Due to this people who don’t have any references get a feeling that since the society has done injustice with them therefore they need to take revenge from the society and in that pursuit they often walk on the path of crime which is a serious threat to peace.
This fact can be seen from the various newspaper news that when the robbers and thieves have been caught they were very well educated people rather some were even gold-medalist in their respective fields. So if only we can control the justice at the time of giving jobs, we can see a major change in the over all peace of the society. And this can be done by properly enforcing the merit procedure. Then comes “justice in Police Stations”. Unfortunately Police Stations in our society are considered as nightmares for respectable and ordinary people.
In many circumstances Police officials have been caught working with thieves and robbers. In our society, Police is used as a weapon of people with money against the poor people. Usually Police even don’t write the complaints of poor people against people who have got strong positions in our society. In order to correct this, the government needs to start a very strong accountability process in Police department, so that whenever a Police official even thinks of doing some wrong work, he should reject that idea due to the fear of accountability.
Then we need to give Police jobs to well educated people not people with strong references who don’t even deserve the job. Then while giving the job as police officer, we should see the past record of the person that whether the person has any criminal record or not. Then we need to increase the number of Police officials so that police can work more efficiently towards maintaining the peace and law & order in the society. Then another problem which we face while giving justice to people is that we have a very limited amount of courts and judges. The trials even go for generations.
Hence if we increase the number of judges and courts, the process of trial will also increase its speed and the criminals moving freely in our society (on bails of months & months) can be caught. * POVERTY CONTROL AND MINIMUM WAGE: A famous Greek philosopher once said that “poverty is the root of all evils”. It is poverty which makes ordinary poor people to do evil works. Unfortunately the poverty level of our country is horrifying. If we look around us we will find people extremely poor who don’t have any thing to eat, people who want to do work but are unable to do anything because of lack of opportunities.
And there are many people who are working but the wage they get is so low that it is extremely difficult for them to support their family with that wage. It is due to this that we often see news like a man killing his family and himself due to extreme poverty. If we can control the poverty in our society, we will be able to create a lot of peace in our society. Therefore to do that what we need is that Government should establish a minimum wage level for labor class so that they could enjoy at least a normal living standard. This method has been adopted by many developed societies & communities e. . American Society etc. The Labor and the Social Welfare Departments should make sure that the labor class can at least get a decent standard of living. Then the Government can start different poverty control programs whose aim should be to provide the unemployed people with different opportunities so that they could contribute for the society as a whole. In many western societies, the Governments have started Poverty Control Programs which give small loans to people who want to start their own business. With the help of that the people get self employed and are no more burdens on the society.
They with the help of loans establish their businesses and earn sufficient amount to have a decent standard of living. Then the Government can also open different technical institutes from where the students can get some technical education and can work on their own. Therefore if the Government controls the poverty level then the young generation will have no excuse to opt the way of crime in order to survive. And when the young generation will stop opting the way of crime then all in all our society will be one of the most peaceful societies in the world. A society, whose idea has been told to us in Quran.

Categories
Ethics

Torture and Ethics

Torture and Ethics Bradley Sexton April 13, 2013 University of Phoenix AJS 512 Dr. Miron Gilbert Torture and Ethics The torturing of human life always has been and always will be unethical, immoral, unjust, and wrong. Torturing enemy combatants or high-value targets does violate standards of morality in the free world. In addition to violating international laws against such practices, torture violates every basic human right. Torture is a form of cruel and unusual punishment by any standard regardless of the end result.
Torture of one individual is only justifiable by saving the lives of the many, but that does not make it moral or right. The only ethical theory that justifies torture as moral acceptable is the utilitarianism view. This view should remain in the dark ages where it belongs because it is not an example of the moral standards that exit today. For some people, the thought of torturing one person to save the lives of many sounds like the right idea. The problem with torture is the end result is not guaranteed. Under extreme measures people will say whatever it takes to stop the pain.
Torturing lowers the moral standards of the people performing the act to the same standards they are fighting against. In the long run this only fuels the enemy’s commitment to their cause and makes them stronger. An enemy combatant who is considering volunteering information will not come forward if he or she thinks there is a possibility of torture on the other side. Although it is true that other countries have already used torture on American people, future prisoners of war may receive even worse treatment if the enemy knows their prisoners are undergoing torture.

The use of cruel and unusual punishment during interrogation violates human rights and makes any evidence obtained unusable in a court of law. The government and the criminal justice system must observe and follow the same laws they expect society to follow. Laws apply to everyone equally in American society (Evans, 2007). Reasoning, deceiving, and bribing the suspect with rewards will produce more accurate results than torture. The victim of torture under a state of duress and pain may not even think clearly enough to speak the truth.
He or she might even think their own lies are truth. Often only the threat of torture against the suspect or their family is enough to convince them to cooperate. The technology available in the modern world makes torture obsolete and unnecessary. The government can easily put together enough proof to make the suspect think he or she is about to undergo torture, or think someone they care about is in custody. Police agencies use deceitful tactics all the time to cause a suspect to make mistakes or tell the truth without resorting to immoral or unethical acts of violence.
The results prove to be more accurate than torture and do no harm to the suspect. Considering torture only as a last resort after all other attempts fail is up to the people in charge of the interrogation in compliance with the law. Regardless of the outcome the actual act of torture is always morally and ethically wrong. Ontological View Torture is not justified under the ontological theory of ethics because it is wrong to cause harm regardless of the consequences. Freewill allows people to make their own decisions about right and wrong and sharing of information.
Forcing people against their will to tell the truth or lie is morally wrong under the ontological view. Although even under this view, knowing it is wrong to do so will not stop some people from torturing another if the ends justify the means in their eyes. A father may well be within his right to torture the suspect who kidnapped his child. This does not make the act morally or ethically right for the father but may lead to the safe recovery of his offspring. Society would not hold anything against such an act under the circumstances (Himma, 2009). Deontological View
Torture is not justified under the deontological view because the consequences of the actions do not matter. Society considers torture ethically and morally wrong so the deontological view of torture is also wrong regardless of end result. Deontological ethics state that people should always follow their obligations and duty to society. In the case of torture a person’s duty and obligation is to uphold the rights of the suspect. Even if the end result saves the lives of thousands of other people torture is still unethical and immoral. This does not stop many governments from performing the act of torture.
In any given situation in which many lives are at stake a government will resort to anything that reduces the risks and saves the lives of the many. When human life is at stake, morality, and ethics tend to take a back seat to humanity for all (Souryal, 2007). Utilitarianism View Torture is justified under the utilitarianism view because pleasure for the majority outweighs the pain of the few. Utilitarianism sees pleasure for the most people as justice regardless of the pain this may cause a few people. Torturing enemy combatants and high value targets does not violate standards of morality under the utilitarianism view.
Whether this act violates basic human rights is not a concern for utilitarianism as long as it results in happiness for the majority. The problem with this view is that it opens the door to other immoral acts. If torture continues until the suspect is dead without gaining any knowledge that could provide happiness, then the act is immoral. Many innocent people could face torture leading to no results and utilitarianism becomes immoral. Under this justification using humans as guinea pigs for the happiness of the majority is also moral.
Causing cruel and unusual punishment for prisoners is moral if the acts deter future crimes. Genocide is moral if the minority population is interfering with the happiness of the majority (Driver, 2009). Natural Law View Torture is not justified under natural law because the basis of right and wrong is on the act itself not the results. Causing harm to another human for any reason is immoral and wrong under natural law. Humans have moral standards that prevent them from acting like animals in that they do not harm another person to survive. The strongest find another way to survive without harming others.
Humans help their fellow man live rather than taking advantage of them. Everyone has equal rights to freedom from persecution in any manner. Even the worst criminals who are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt are free from cruel and unusual punishment. Although this right is granted in the United States Constitution, it began as a natural law. Under natural law the use of any type of physical or mental pain to seek information or the truth is a form of torture and is ethically wrong. Although society may agree with harsh sentences for prisoners, they do not cross the line to unusual punishment (PSU, 2007).
Conclusion Even during times of war against another country the standards of morality in America should not to heed to same immoral acts the enemy has. The moral and ethical standards in America are higher than anywhere else in the world. Torture of any type is never a good idea and rarely produces effects great enough for the ends to justify the means. Any country that condones torture of their enemies eventually will use torture against their own citizens if it fits their agenda. Out of four ethical theories only utilitarianism views the act of torture as justice.
In America the utilitarianism view is not the normal view of society in general. Torturing enemy combatants or high value targets does violate the standards of morality in America. Torturing should never be given legal status as there are always other options to choose from that do not violate human rights, ethics, or morality. References Driver, J (2009) “The History of Utilitarianism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Edward N. Zalta (ed. ), URL = <http://plato. stanford. edu/archives/sum2009/entries/utilitarianism-history/>.
Himma Kenneth (2009) Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Philosophy of Law Retrieved on 4-14-2013 from http://www. iep. utm. edu/law-phil/ PSU (2007) Ethics in Criminal Justice components of justice retrieved on 3-31-2013 from https://courses. worldcampus. psu. edu/welcome/crimj465/moral_05. html  Souryal, S. (2007) Ethics in criminal justice: In search of the truth (4th ed. ). Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Pub. /LexisNexis. Evans, R (2007) The Ethics of Torture, Human Rights and Human Welfare. Retrieved on 4-13-2013 from http://www. du. edu/korbel/hrhw/volumes/2007/evans-2007. pdf