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Addressing an Ethical Issue

Addressing an Ethical Issue

Sample Answer 

Addressing an Ethical Issue

One of the roles of an organization’s management is to create an ethical and safe environment for its employees and other stakeholders. There are many factors that contribute to the creation of such an environment, one of them being the development of policies to guide employees’ behavior. This paper includes a proposed policy that is specifically aims at combatting workplace bullying in this organization. The policy has been developed based on the occurrence of an ethical dilemma that is affecting some of the employees’ performance. The following is an evaluation of the dilemma, the proposed policy and its implementation in the organization.

Describe an ethical dilemma and its importance and relevance.

An employee in the company’s finance department noticed suspicious activities in the company’s books. It came to the employee’s attention that someone had been changing the figures in the company’s accounts, indicating some form of fraud. The employee decided to confront the immediate superior with the issue with the hope of having a solution. Instead of getting the solution they hoped for, the employee has been intimidated into keeping quiet about the issue. There has been both direct and indirect bullying on the employee with actions such as deliberate denial of some resources and information, being threatened with losing his job, unjustified criticism, and hostile treatment by the manager. These experiences have made the work environment to be hostile in general for the employee. The employee faces the dilemma of reporting fraud and intimidation by the superior and risking the loss of their job and keeping quiet to protect his job but taking the superior’s hostile treatment.

The importance of this ethical situation is that it is representative of the ethical nature of the organization at the moment. This situation is indicative of the kind of interactions contributing to developing a negative ethical climate. This situation represents two ethical issues that are against the organization’s values and principles. First, there is apparent embezzlement, which represents a lack of integrity in the organization, and there is employee intimidation, which is representative of workplace bullying. The dilemma is relevant for discussion because it will help to better understand the expected ethical values and behaviors in this organization. With the help of this employee’s experience, an anti-bullying policy will be developed to discourage intimidation of employees for whatever reason including confronting their superiors on unethical behavior.

Identify the various stakeholders and their positions

            Two main stakeholders are involved in this ethical situation; the superior employee and the junior employee. In this case, the superior employee is a finance manager who has access to all the company’s financial books. This manager has potentially been involved in suspicious activity that could involve embezzlement of the company funds or is aware of and protecting another person who has done this act. On the other hand, the junior employee is an accounting clerk who has access to some of the company’s financial records. This employee noticed the suspicious activity and confronted the manager. The employee has since become a target for workplace bullying and intimidation to scare them into keeping quiet about the issues in the company’s finance. While these are the main people involved, there are other stakeholders who may be concerned about this ethical issue for the well-being of all employees and the organization’s ethical environment.

  • Human Resource Officers: Part of the HR role is ensuring that employees have a positive work environment and access to resources and avenues that promote their satisfaction with their job roles as well as productivity (Nielsen & Einarsen, 2012). The HR officers should be concerned about the bullying of employees because it interferes with this objective.
  • Union delegates: Workers’ unions work as the intermediaries between employees and their employers. Their concern in the issue of bullying may be advocating for creating a positive workplace environment that is free from bullying and discrimination.
  • Lawyers: The intimidation and bullying of an employee put the organization at risk of litigation. The law is against workplace bullying, and it’s the lawyers’ role to ensure that there is a positive work environment to support (Barnett & Vaicys, 2009). Lawyers may be involved to reduce the risk of liability to the organization.

Evaluate an ethical decision-making model, apply it to the chosen issue, and analyze options for resolving this ethical dilemma.

The recommended ethical decision-making model for workplace bullying is the duty-based, also known as the deontological ethical approach. This ethical model was developed by Immanuel Kant (Bowen, 2004). It emphasizes on following the duty to do the right thing rather than focusing on the consequences of an action. According to the deontological ethics approach, the end does not always justify the means (Weiss, 2014). No matter the results expected from an action, it is considered unethical if it does not follow the duty to perform a particular action (Van Staveren, 2007). As a result, the decisions made using this mode might not always be beneficial to the majority; they only ensure that rules are followed.

The deontological approach is most favorable in this ethical issue because it is the duty of the management to ensure that the organization has a positive and safe working environment for all employees. No matter what effects are to be achieved by bullying, this action can never be moral or a reflection of a positive ethical culture. It is important that there are rules in place to ensure that bullying is never used in any kind of situation. For instance, there are some managers who may use bullying as a strategy to get employees to do what they want. Whether the action may have a positive or negative effect on the organization, it is the organization’s duty to ensure that no kind of bullying occurs. For example, in the ethical situation presented, the manager threatens a junior employee and intimidates them into keeping quiet about an issue they have noticed in the finance department. Threatening and intimidating an employee amounts to workplace bullying. Therefore, there is a need for a policy to help this employee feel protected by the organization. The existence of a protective workplace policy will help them to be comfortable speaking up about unethical behavior in the organization without fear of negative consequences.

Recommend a corporate policy for resolving the issue and support the recommendation with well-reasoned analysis and specific examples, including the impact on various stakeholders.

The following is a representation of this organization’s policy on workplace bullying. In general, this policy is representative of the company’s zero tolerance for bullying in the workplace environment. No form of intimidation, mistreatment, or harassment will be allowed for whatever reason. This policy applies to all organization stakeholders regardless of the position or status in the organization. The consequences of engaging in workplace bullying are broad, including unpaid leaves of absence and termination of the employment contract.

Analyze and recommend a strategy for communicating the policy to the organization in a manner that meets the needs of the audience.

This policy aims at creating a comfortable working environment for all employees. The policy presents a clear and concise definition of what workplace bullying is and some of the actions that may fit into this definition. Therefore, by reading this policy, the employees will understand the types of actions they must avoid to prevent bullying and the kinds of experiences they must report as bullying. In addition, this policy is an expression of the organization’s commitment to the protection of all employees regardless of their authority or power in the organization. This policy will create a culture of justice and fairness such that all employees feel protected. The policy also mentions the procedure for reporting bullying to make it easier for employees to report experiences without fear of retaliation. There is also a list of the consequences an employee could experience if found guilty of workplace bullying. This policy is likely to enhance the organization’s ethical culture and promote positive behaviors within the organization.

Definition of Bullying

Bullying refers to any unwelcome malicious, and pervasive mistreatment of employees intending to harm, intimidate, degrade, or offend another employee (Hauge, Skogstad, & Einarsen, 2010). Bullying can constitute different kinds of actions, such as physical, verbal, or interference with another employee’s work efficiency.

Procedure for Reporting Bullying

The company assures all employees of a safe environment for reporting any form of bullying. The company promotes a positive environment where all people can be protected from any form of mistreatment. The following are the procedures that will be taken for reporting bullying. First, any employee who experiences anything that they feel could be bullying should report it to human resources management. Reports can be made anonymously when the employee does not feel safe enough to disclose their identity to the organization. Regardless of how the case has been reported, all complaints will be investigated by the organization’s ethics committee.

The investigations of all reports will be investigated promptly and impartially to ensure that all employees are protected. In case of any form of conflict of interest by a member of the committee, the member will have to recuse themselves for the specific case involved. The investigation of complaints will include the protection of the involved employees from the danger of retaliation or reprisal. Most importantly, there is no statute of limitations on making reports on bullying. Employees may decide to make a report whenever they are comfortable enough to do so. However, it is encouraged that cases of bullying are reported promptly, as this will aid in easier investigations of the issue.

Consequences of Workplace Bullying

Any employee who has been found guilty of bullying another member of the organization will face the risk of the following consequences.

  • Termination of employment contract
  • Risks of litigation
  • Compulsory unpaid leave of absence or suspension of an employee for a period of time to be determined by the ethics committee
  • Demotion from a position of power.
  • Transfer from one branch of the organization to another.

Strategy for Communicating the Policy to the Organization

For the bullying policy to serve its purpose, it is important to ensure that all the organization members have access to it and fully understand its components. This communication strategy aims to ensure that all stakeholders have access to the company’s policy on bullying, to ensure that employees know what to do in instances of bullying, and to change perceptions and behaviors pertaining to bullying where applicable. The following are the key communication methods that will be used to ensure that the policy message gets to all the targeted stakeholders.

  • Company website: A copy of the company’s policy on workplace bullying will be readily available on the company’s website. The website is accessible not only to internal employees but also to external stakeholders and interested parties. Therefore, this mode of communication will not only be helpful in educating the employees internally but also demonstrate the ethical culture of the organization to external stakeholders.
  • Bulletin: The workplace policy on bullying will be published in a bulletin which will be available online and in print form. The bulletin will be given to each employee to ensure that every person has a reference guide on the expected behaviors and values in the organization.
  • Posters: There will be anti-bullying posters in various places in the organization to remind the employees of the kind of behavior that is expected of them. The posters will be large enough and with illustrations to create a clear understanding of behaviors that constitute bullying, reporting procedures, and the possible repercussions for employees who engage in bullying.
  • E-mails: Each stakeholder will receive an e-mail with a copy of the policy. E-mails are an easy method of sending a message to a multitude of people using limited resources and within a short period of time. The e-mail will contain an attachment of the policy bulletin to ensure that all stakeholders have a copy.
  • Memos: There will be an internal memo intending to communicate issues pertaining to the recent occurrences in the organization and the steps the organization is taking to create a more positive environment for the employees.

Specify potential limitations of the policy and strategies for monitoring and compliance.

While this policy has been created solely to positively affect the organization’s ethical climate, there is a chance of some limitations that may affect its effectiveness. One of the limitations of the policy is its ability to bring about hostility between employees. It is likely that the definition of bullying might be misunderstood and affect interactions between employees. Ordinary conflicts may be seen as acts of bullying within the organization. The strategy for monitoring this limitation is ensuring that there is due process to be followed any time there are complaints made. An employee will not face any consequences based on reports alone. The ethics committee will perform an investigation of the situation to ensure that an actual act of bullying took place before the punishment of the accused person.

Another possible limitation is resistance to change that the employees can experience. Implementing this policy will require changes in how employees interact with one another within the company. It may be difficult to achieve a change in attitudes and behaviors within a short period of time. For instance, if some employees have normalized the behavior of intimidation, it may take them a long time to adjust their behavior to meet the principles and guidelines that the organization has set. The strategy for dealing with this challenge and ensuring compliance is the implementation of change management strategies such as effective communication and having leaders guide the employees to adjust to the new policy.

Employees’ understanding of its components may also limit this policy. In case of inconsistencies in the understanding of the provisions of the anti-bullying policy, employees may not be effective in complying with its requirements. Therefore, compliance will be enhanced by measuring the understanding of the policy. Quizzes and surveys are an effective way of measuring the employees’ understanding of the policy. If the results of the measures are not good enough, the employees may need to be trained on workplace bullying to help them understand the expected standards of behavior.


Bullying in the workplace is a common problem that affects the ethical climate of many organizations. As seen in this organization, employees undergo various ways of mistreatment and intimidation. In this case, the bully is a senior employee, and the victim is a junior employee, which is common in many cases of bullying. This policy aims to create a positive environment for all employees where they can be comfortable working without fearing being bullied by their workmates or superiors. The policy defines bullying, provides a procedure for reporting, and the consequences of bullying in a bid to discourage this behavior. The successful implementation of this policy will create a positive ethical climate and enhance the employees’ productivity.


Barnett, T., & Vaicys, C. (2009). The moderating effect of individuals’ perceptions of ethical work climate on ethical judgments and behavioral intentions. Journal of Business Ethics, 27(4), 351-362.

Bowen, S. A. (2004). Expansion of ethics as the tenth generic principle of public relations excellence: A Kantian theory and model for managing ethical issues. Journal of public relations research, 16(1), 65-92.

Hauge, L. J., Skogstad, A., & Einarsen, S. (2010). The relative impact of workplace bullying as a social stressor at work. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 51(5), 426-433.

Nielsen, M. B., & Einarsen, S. (2012). Outcomes of exposure to workplace bullying: A meta-analytic review. Work & Stress, 26(4), 309-332.

Van Staveren, I. (2007). Beyond utilitarianism and deontology: Ethics in economics. Review of Political Economy, 19(1), 21-35.

Weiss, J. W. (2014). Business ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.


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Assignment u10a1 Addressing an Ethical Issue

For this final project, imagine that the CEO has asked human resources department to review the company’s policies. You have been personally asked to identify an issue you feel needs addressing, to evaluate different parameters for ethically deciding on how to address the issue, and then to evaluate various polices and propose a policy that the company can implement to addresses the chosen issue.

Addressing an Ethical Issue

Addressing an Ethical Issue

In your paper:

  • Describe an ethical dilemma and its importance and relevance.
  • Identify the various stakeholders and their positions.
  • Evaluate an ethical decision-making model, apply it to the chosen issue, and analyze options for resolving this ethical dilemma.
  • Recommend a corporate policy for resolving the issue and support the recommendation with well-reasoned analysis and specific examples, including the impact on various stakeholders.
  • Analyze and recommend a strategy for communicating the policy to the organization in a manner that meets the needs of the audience.
  • Specify potential limitations of the policy and strategies for monitoring and compliance.

As you can see, you have already accomplished many of these points in the previous components of the project (in Units 2 and 7). In this assignment, consolidate those pieces and add additional information to complete the evaluation and recommendation to the CEO.

Review the Addressing an Ethical Issue Scoring Guide to understand the grading criteria for this assignment.

Submission Requirements

Your paper should meet the following requirements:

  • Written communication: Written communication is free of errors that detract from the overall message.
  • APA formatting: References and citations are formatted according to current APA style and formatting guidelines.
  • Number of resources: Minimum of four resources.
  • Length of paper: About 2,500 words, or 10 typed, double-spaced pages.
  • Font and Font Size: Arial, 10 point.

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