29 Jan 2010

Sample Essay: Ethics

In every society the general public as well as business organizations will be guided by certain norms on the basis of their respective ethics. Traditional values, customs, and religious thinking are influential in shaping individual values. At the same time the government and its agencies will make use of statutes and legislation for maintaining a disciplined social life. Various law enforcing agencies of the state will be interfering with the activities of individuals and organizations in case of conflicts with rules and regulations meant for greater common goods. In majority of the cases the ethical values of a society or of a business organization will be constructively serving the functions of legal agencies by maintaining the required discipline. Therefore in normal cases the interference of government agencies with legal powers can be avoided in the case of a society or organization preserving healthy ethical values. In such society or organization, the individuals are expected to follow the code of conduct and socially acceptable values, voluntarily. While defining and forming the code of ethics, larger interest of the society as a whole is taken into consideration. On such occasions individuals are expected to function in such a way that the greater common interest is respected (Ethics Today: Personal, Practical and relevant). The accusation of the antitrust and oppressive competitive activities against the Microsoft has come up before the court, when Bill Gates was functioning as its CEO. Bill Gates tried to deny the allegations but the court ruled against his argument and as a result the employees and stakeholders of the company were demoralized. Business Ethics was the major point in this case.

Social acceptance is the most important factor in shaping the ethics of individual as well as the group. Therefore for ethics to get established in any society, it must have social acceptance. The code of ethics will be nurtured and strengthened by personal values associated with positive attitudes and positive behaviors. On several occasions, in a social set up, members with diverse values may find it difficult to adjust with the code of ethics of a group. On such conflicting occasions the personal values must be adjusted with socially acceptable values so that destructive conflicts are avoided. Basically business organizations are working with an aim of making profits. (Is U.S. Society Serious About Business Ethics?).

By having a strong corporate ethics, a business organization will be able to follow fair business practices in order to avoid any damages or injuries to the customers and stakeholders. By fulfilling the legal requirements such as attaining of proper documents related to licensing and insurance, the organization can reinforce its corporate ethics with legal validity (Business Legal Issues). This is against business ethics to bargain stiffly by using the strong partner against a weak partner, by trying to impose the plans as per the unilateral decisions. The business organization must be given enough time to study about the possibility of structural changes. Mutual cooperation and trust between the companies, which has got developed as an ongoing process of business practices involving the active partnership must be respected and protected. As a natural process some kind of dependency may get developed between the two companies and in this relationship one may be at a weaker position due to its position being that of a junior partner. The flexibility and dynamic nature of a company will be decided to an extent by the structure of the organization. But on the part of one dynamic and flexible company, it is neither fair nor ethical to adopt a policy of bargaining with an intention to exploit the weakness and dependency of a faithful partner. Instead of adopting coercive methods of bargaining on the basis of its supremacy in the market, it will be better to have an amicable settlement to the issue by giving some more time to the partner to achieve the goals set by an appropriate team.

In the modern era of global economy and dynamic information technology, a company with strong culture and ethical values is in need of leadership with creative thinking. Knowing about the right tools combined with some regular practices will enable anybody to acquire the ability of creative thinking. In the case of organizations, managers and staffs can encourage creativity by ensuring the participation of people in decision making, problem solving and making changes in the work place. It is found that the best solutions to problems are possible when people are encouraged to and assisted with finding solutions. This aspect encourages organizations to develop creativity. (Practical workplace strategies).

On several occasions, due to adverse social realities, it may not be possible to follow practically the Ideal principles of values and ethics in a world of diversity. On such occasions it is advisable to adjust in a better way in conformity with the statute and in the interest of the organization. In the case of an individual, values are more related to beliefs and ethics are more related to behavior. Therefore values and ethics are not same. Values are based on beliefs and therefore not visible for the public. But in the case of ethics, as it is based on behavior, it can be seen by others. For an organization while deciding upon its values and ethics the relationship with these factors must be taken into consideration to avoid any major conflicts. At the same time adherence to legal requirements established by the respective government agencies is mandatory. (Values and Ethics).In this case the organization is functioning in the information technology sector and the mission and vision of the organization is guided by the social values and ethics related to the concept of optimization of efficiency by abiding by the rules, and regulations of the industry..

Assumptions, values, norms, and behaviors of the members of an organization play important role in shaping the culture of an organization. Culture of an organization is a decisive factor in projecting the personality of the organization. Every member of the organization can sense the culture, even though they may find it difficult to express it. (Organizational Culture). The aggressive steps taken by Bill Gates as the CEO of the Microsoft Company were crucial in broadening the business area of Microsoft and thereby making it a company with wonderful and the fastest growth. On the other hand Bill Gates along with his wife Melinda Gates created the charitable foundation known as the Bill& Mellinda Gates foundation. This charitable foundation became famous for its transparency in operation (Flat-pack accounting). Many of the business practices of the Microsoft, which have faced litigation, were approved by Bill Gates as the CEO of the Microsoft. The Microsoft antitrust case is considered as a land mark in the twentieth century corporate case involving antitrust and monopolization. During his deposition testimony in the court, Bill Gates denied the charges by either arguing with or evading the questions of the examiner David Boies. In spite of the denial by Bill Gates, the Court ruled that the monopolization, blocking competition, and the antitrust act were violated by the Microsoft.(Gates deposition makes judge laugh in court).

In the post industrial era business world, the economy is dominated by the trends that are prevailing in the information age and therefore the public policies must be enacted accordingly. In this context the case of United State v. Microsoft was influential in shaping the fundamental terms of competition in the dynamic high tech markets. There were certain similarities between the issues of Microsoft and those of the IBM. The IBM Company was paralyzed due to its entanglement with the government. Bill Gates tried everything in his power to avoid such a mishap with the Microsoft, but the IBM phobia of Gate resulted in government slamming down on Microsoft and thereby creating a situation of uncertainty combined with demoralized employees and slumping stock price. Before the beginning of the Microsoft trial, Bill Gates as the CEO of the company was regarded as a high tech hero with inspirational and innovative ideas. Under his dynamic leadership with full of ideas and burning passion the company was able to unleash an industry and thereby transforming an economy. He was able to reflect his image and foster a culture through the company. At the same time his lack of wisdom to the ways of the world resulted in his failure to develop his peripheral vision (The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth).

The definition of right and wrong may vary significantly as the human activities are getting more and more influenced by science and technology. A well defined system of rules is formed in an organization to provide exact definition of ethics. In such cases it may also happen that an individual’s values and views may be secondary to the code of ethics of the organization. An organization can benefit in many ways by implementing the code of ethics. A basic idea about ethics is that it must have social and legal acceptance. In every society and organizations there will be a set of rules and procedures. While functioning in a volatile and dynamic field of economy the leader of a company like Microsoft must be able to give due regards to the rules, regulations, and ethical standards prescribed by public agencies. If not done so, the aspiring and innovative decisions taken by the CEO like Bill Gates may some times prove counter productive for various interested groups including the stakeholders of the company.

References:

1. (Values and Ethics) can be viewed at website at
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ndu/strat-ldr-dm/pt4ch15.html retrieved 15 March2009.

2. (Organizational Culture) can be viewed at Website at
http://managementhelp.org/org_thry/culture/culture.htm retrieved on 15 April 2009.

3. (Ethics Today: Personal, Practical and Relevant) can be viewed at Website at http://www.casanet.org/program-management/volunteer-manage/ethics-today.htm
retrieved on 15 April 2009.

4. (Is U.S. Society Serious about Business Ethics?) can be viewed at Website at http://www.spectacle.org/0305/shatt.html Retrieved on 15 April 2009.

5. (Business Legal Issues) can be viewed at Website at
http://www.morebusiness.com/legal_aspects Retrieved on 15 April 2009.

6. (Practical workplace strategies) can be viewed at Website at
http://www.practicalworkplacestrategies.com.au/pws/ Retrieved on 15 April 2009.

7. (Flat-pack accounting) can be viewed at Website at
http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=6919139 Retrieved on 15 April 2009.

8. (Gates deposition makes judge laugh in court) can be viewed at Website at
http://edition.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9811/17/judgelaugh.ms.idg/index.html Retrieved on 15 April 2009.

9. (The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth) can be viewed at Website at
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.11/microsoft_pr.html Retrieved on 15 April 2009.

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