Ethics – Reflection Paper
Ethics is one of the most important topics that we have covered in this course. It is very important in the field of Business as we often encounter complex situations that will often involve an apparent mental conflict between moral imperatives, in which choosing one would result in discarding the other. But ethics is one thing that cannot be neglected in a Business scenario. Being unethical might fetch you results in the short term but in the long term it might hamper your growth or it might be the cause for your downfall.
Hence, every organization must try to inculcate this habit in its employees. But one major challenge with ethics is that it is a very relative term. What might be right to one person may not be right to another person. Consider the case of Reliance Industries, where Dirubhai Ambani took advantage of the loop holes in Government norms to make money. So was it right? Or was it unethical? It is a very difficult, or rather an impossible task to set any absolute guidelines for that.
However, in the interest of organization stakeholders and community at large, it is important for an organization to come up with basic guidelines/frameworks that assist every individual in ethical decision making. This can also effectively decrease the risk of misconduct as any deviation from the expected conduct would be considered unethical. It was a Monday morning when I was informed that I and another colleague, a good friend of mine, were short listed to work on a product of XXXX at their campus.
I was working as a Software Engineer then, at one of the leading Information Technology companies, and this Product was planned to be developed in collaboration with XXXX in duration of 1 year. I clearly knew that I wanted to take up this work for the kind of exposure it promised. I signed in for the project with high spirits and set off to work in a week. As I would be working at a different location from that of our own company, I was granted External Network access to company’s resources so that I can also complete my pending works. This also meant that I could access all our companies’ resources from home.
This came with a clause that, I shall not use this opportunity to misuse the facility to leak any confidential or non-confidential information to anyone, internal or external to the company. A couple of months later, I got a call from one of my colleagues asking me to share some of the study material from the company’s network, which was actually against rules. I generally follow high standards of ethics both in professional and personal life. But in this case I faced an ethical dilemma as this was for a good cause and also I didn’t want to spoil the relationship that we shared.
So, I obliged to him and gave him the necessary resources. Few weeks later, I found that some of the information from the study material was shared on one of the public forums. When I discovered that it was my colleague who shared the info online, I was angered at him for complete breach of trust, which could have cost me my job, if I were caught. Now, when I reflect upon those series of events, I realize that if I had not broken the company rules in the first place by sharing the files, the issue would not have gone so far.
Though my intention was not bad, the consequences were. This was completely unexpected. This is a very small case where the impacts were only limited to me and my colleague, but when I try to imagine this situation on a large scale where most of the company stakeholders would be affected, it frightens me to take any such decisions. From one such past experience and the debates that stirred up in the class, I realized it is correct to follow ethics as set by the company.
It is not just an individual employee of the company, but every stakeholder involved with the company who must follow the fixed guidelines set by the company in order to maintain an ethical conduct in our decision making. Otherwise, it affects all other stakeholders. For Example, In the case of YYYY Technologies, the higher management tried to cheat people around them and in no time the company was in dumps. XXXX and ZZZZ group are perfect examples of firms that follow highest standard of ethics and today they are Leaders in their fields. Truly, a Leadership by example.