6 Many business issues seem straightforward and easy to resolve on the surface

6 many business issues seem straightforward and easy

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Many business issues seem straightforward and easy to resolve on the surface, but are in reality very complex. For example, it is considered improper to give or accept bribes, which are payments, gifts, or special favors intended to influence the outcome of a decision. Ethics is also related to the culture in which a business operates. Experience with the culture in which a business operates is critical to understanding what is ethical or unethical. One of the principal causes of unethical behavior in organizations is overly aggressive financial or business objectives. Many of these issues relate to decisions and concerns that managers have to deal with daily. A discussion of a few issues can help you begin to recognize the ethical problems with which businesspersons must deal. 7
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Theft of time is a common area of misconduct observed in the workplace. Many employees spend an average of one hour each day using social networking sites or watching YouTube. Time theft costs can be difficult to measure but are estimated to cost companies hundreds of billions of dollars annually. It is widely believed that the average employee “steals” 4.5 hours a week with late arrivals, leaving early, long lunch breaks, inappropriate sick days, excessive socializing, and engaging in personal activities such as online shopping and watching sports while on the job. All of these activities add up to lost productivity and profits for the employer—and relate to ethical issues in the area of time theft. 8
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Abusive or intimidating behavior is the most common ethical problem for employees. These concepts can mean anything from physical threats, false accusations, profanity, insults, yelling, harshness, and unreasonableness to ignoring someone or simply being annoying; and the meaning of these words can differ by person—you probably have some ideas of your own. Abusive behavior can be placed on a continuum from a minor distraction to a disruption of the workplace. Abusive behavior is difficult to assess and manage because of diversity in culture and lifestyle. Within the concept of abusive behavior, intent should be a consideration. Bullying is associated with a hostile workplace when a person or group is targeted and is threatened, harassed, belittled, verbally abused, or overly criticized. Bullying may create what some consider a hostile environment, a term generally associated with sexual harassment. Although sexual harassment has legal recourse, bullying has little legal recourse at this time. 9
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Misuse of company resources has been identified by the Ethics Resource Center as a leading issue in observed misconduct in organizations. Issues might include spending an excessive amount of time on personal e-mails, submitting personal expenses on company expense reports, or using the company copier for personal use.
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