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Ethical Evaluation of Workplace Conduct- A Case Study Analysis

Ethical Evaluation of Workplace Conduct- A Case Study Analysis

Question One: Conduct in Question – Morally Acceptable, Morally Unacceptable, or Somewhere in Between

Brenda’s list contains activities that violate company rules and raise moral concerns. However, one of the employees is concerned that Brenda may have made a mistake by indicating that even when workers take non-worth company property, such as a pad of paper home; they will be committing an ethical mistake (Shaw, 2005). This concern is listed under item one, which states that taking office supplies home is morally wrong. In my view, Brenda should have indicated the property worth that she meant by “office supplies.” For instance, taking a sheet of paper home is not morally wrong as its value is insignificant and would not really impact company operations in any way. The business would not cease running, and customers would not be inconvenienced because an employee plucked a pad of paper from the office and carried it home.

Question Two: Utilitarian and the Kantian Perspectives

According to the utilitarian view, an action is moral if it benefits the greater number of people that it would apply to. For instance, Brenda’s list contains actions that are unethical according to the utilitarian view as they would affect employees and, hence, agree with the utilitarian perspective of morality. Kant also offers several perceptions of morality but mainly insists that moral actions are a construct of intrinsic values and that every individual has a duty to act morally if their action is in obedience to the law and not just with the intention to please onlookers (Kant, 2010). Brenda’s list fulfills Kant’s theory of morality and the utilitarian view because the two perspectives insist that engaging in a moral action should be for the benefit of a greater number of people and with the view to fulfill the law. Taking the pad of paper home is not an ethical concern as it is trivial, but if a different non-issue were used in the place of the example given that would hurt the company operations, then it would be morally wrong.

Question Three: Are Some of the Things Listed as Ethically Dubious Are Really Employee Entitlements?

None of the items listed by Brenda are employee entitlements, as they all protect the business interests to make a profit. If employees misuse company property as listed by Brenda, then they will be affecting the output of the business (SHRM, 2021). For instance, even if making personal copies seems to be dubious if employees over-engage in it, they would be misusing company time, yet they are to be working during this time to help the business make a profit.

Question Four: Does the Company Has Only Itself to Blame If It Doesn’t Do Anything to Stop the Conduct on Brenda’s List

It is true that if the company does not enforce Brenda’s list as being the grounds for moral violation of internal policies, then it should blame itself in the event employees violate Brenda’s writings (Shaw, 2005). Implying that none of the items listed by Brenda is wrong would be misleading workers as clearly, engaging in them violates company rules and would hurt the business intention to make a profit.

Question Five: Employees’ Obligations to Their Employers

Employees have an obligation to be loyal to their companies. However, some companies engage in actions, such as insider trading, which may be moral according to them. However, it is not right for organizations to compel employees to act as accomplices in activities they perceive as moral, yet these actions are immoral in reality, such as engaging in insider trading (Shaw, 2005). Lastly, taking company property for personal use and taking someone else’s property without their consent is stealing, and the two actions are immoral.

Question Six: Employee’s Character

If an employee engages in the activities listed by Brenda, then they are immoral as they do not care if the organization meets its goal to make a profit or not. If anyone I knew engaged in the actions listed by Brenda, I would consciously avoid them as they are willingly ignoring the company’s goal for existence, which is making profits.

Question Seven: Actions on Ethically Dubious Conduct

Brenda should inform the employees she finds engaging in ethically dubious acts that they are violating their employment contracts, and they should desist from doing the same. However, if the employee still insists on violating Brenda’s listed actions, then she should escalate the issue to management for the perpetrator to be punished accordingly


Kant, I. (2010). Groundwork of the metaphysics of morals. Createspace Independent Pub

Shaw, W. H. (2005). Business ethics (9th ed.). Cengage Learning.

SHRM. (2021, July 7). Use of company property policy


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Brenda Franklin has worked at Allied Tech for nearly eight years. One day she tacked a list on the bulletin board outside her office entitled, “Ethically Dubious Employee Conduct.” She could not have imagined the attention that it received from her coworkers (Shaw, 2017, p. 398). Read Case 10.5 “Ethically Dubious Conduct” in the textbook on pages 398-400 and address the following questions in a paper that will be submitted to Dropbox:

Ethical Evaluation of Workplace Conduct- A Case Study Analysis

Ethical Evaluation of Workplace Conduct- A Case Study Analysis

Review each item on Brenda’s list and assess the conduct in question. Do you find it morally acceptable, morally unacceptable, or somewhere in between? Explain.
Examine Brenda’s list from both the utilitarian and the Kantian perspectives. What arguments can be given for and against the conduct on her list? Is the rightness or wrongness of some items a matter of degree? Can an action (such as taking a pad of paper) be both trivial and wrong?
Someone might argue that some of the things listed as ethically dubious are really employee entitlements. Assess this contention.
How would you respond to the argument that if the company doesn’t do anything to stop the conduct on Brenda’s list, then it has only itself to blame? What about the argument that none of the things on the list is wrong unless the company has an explicit rule against it?
What obligations do employees have to their employers? Do companies have moral rights that employees can violate? What moral difference, if any, is there between taking something that belongs to an individual and taking something that belongs to a company?
What, if anything, can we learn about an employee’s character based on whether he or she does or does not do the things on Brenda’s list? Would you admire someone who scrupulously avoids doing any of these ethically dubious things, or would you think the person is a pig?
What should Brenda do when she finds a fellow employee engaging in what she considers ethically dubious conduct?

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