A New Work Ethic
The following questions are to help us analyze and maybe even understand where business in America is heading, especially with a capitalist society. 1. Describe how typical the attitudes that Sheehy reports appear to be in work environments you have experienced. The attitude described by James Sheehy unfortunately is not uncommon among young employees on these days, therefore is very likely that all of us at some point have come across an employee that has poor work ethics.
I have worked in a call center environment for several years and have experienced how my younger coworkers, some of them still attending college, think of their job as a transitional one; they feel they don’t have to excel in their tasks even though they have the ability to do a better performance, because they work in customer service. The problem with younger generations I believe it starts at home and school; parents usually want to give their children what they didn’t have growing up but they’re failing in teaching them appreciation and value f the things they receive, and that sends a message that they deserve something, instead of having to earn something; and at school they learn they can pass their classes by pulling enough extra credit even if they did poor in their tests and assignments, contributing to that get-away-with-it mentality that Sheehy talks about. 2. Explain the implications of the work ethics Sheehy describes for the future of American business. Elizabeth Vallance (1995) reflects that business ethics “involves articulating a coherent set of values for a business and trying to set decision making within the context of these values” (p. ), but the values described by Sheehy are not the ideal ones that would lead a business to success, subsequently, there must be a change in those values, or a change in the way Americans do business, acknowledging that there is a new business ethics, understanding and adapting to the new generations, but never ignoring the moral values that characterize our society and that have built the business system which is the core of the capital system now.
Shaw (2010) advices that as long as these new generations have the “freedom to influence the nature of their jobs and pursue their lifestyles,” they would be willing to work hard (p. 156), so ignoring the attitude that Sheehy’s co-workers have is not the solution to the problem, instead, delegating responsibility, getting the employees more involved in the decision making process, and accepting positive feedbacks are excellent ways to avoid business failure in the future.
Unquestionably there are several factors that contribute to a business failure other than attitude, but definitely this aspect of business will keep our capital society afloat. 3. Explain whether it is more reasonable to expect workers, especially in a capitalist society, to be more devoted to their jobs, more concerned with quality and customer service, than Sheehy’s coworkers were.
Adam Smith’s concept of the Invisible Hand explains that human beings are acquisitive creatures and self-motivated, in an economic sense, to gain personal advantage; if we believe this concept is the core of capitalism, we should think it is reasonable to expect workers to be devoted to their jobs. However our reality shows a decline in the commitment people have towards their jobs for many reasons, the one I believe is the most important is the focus on the Short Term, explained by Shaw (2010, p. 54), which tends to make workers “unimaginative, inflexible, and ultimately uncompetitive,” thinking of ways on how to make big amounts of money in short time without much effort, by investing, by inventing, by becoming an artist, a sport star, etc. unrealistically thinking they can succeed without much effort. Customer service as we know it, might be changing in a near future, we are getting more used to a self-service mentality and that’s why many young people don’t think is a priority to show devotion on that area. 4.
Explain the reasoning behind employee theft. Employee theft is explained by a mix of circumstances that employees experience within our capitalist society. People have profit motive, some employees believe they enjoy certain advantages of working for a specific company, let’s say an employee thinks he or she is entitled to take home office supplies that cost the company a lot of money, only because he knows is within the company’s budget and they feel they aren’t compensated well enough so they can supplement their salaries by stealing.
Also most employees that steal do it because they believe they can get away with it, or they have seen other employees doing it without having any consequences, therefore it’s a spread feeling among co-workers that it’s ok to take things from the company when it certainly isn’t. Some other employees that steal do it because they are experiencing truly economic problems and they are not responsible enough to solve them in another way, but stealing from the company to make up for their losses.
Whichever the case, is very important to pay attention to this growing tendency, because businesses do lose considerable amount of money from employee theft, and this can affect the future of American business. 5. Explain ways the culture of our capitalists society encourages attitudes like those Sheehy describes . Capitalism have encouraged a lot of people to better themselves by acquiring a good education; is it necessary to have a better education today in order to have a customer service job than the one required many years ago for the same type of position.
Consequently it takes more effort and more money invested in education for these young people to find better jobs; this can create the feeling that all the efforts are not worth unless you have a nice, big paying job, without having to start from scratch. Also younger generations have grown up with a lot technological help, compared to older generations, they have the Internet, computers, cell phones, entertaining gadgets, etc. that make tasks easier and the use of those is strongly encouraged by our capitalist society.
As a result there is a pressure to have this technology in order to succeed, a pressure of affording the lifestyle that is “accepted” by their circle. United States is one of the very few countries were people can become rich in a very short timeframe, whether is by an business, artistic, or sports skill; some have invested at the right time and have become successful, and this mentality has stuck on the young people’s head, to the point that anyone could become rich overnight, if they only know how to play the right cards, not necessarily having to work a lifetime to build their capital.