The concept of Business ethics has always been described as the backbone of any business management regardless of whether it is an organizational enterprise or an individual business. There is every need for everybody to have a clear understanding of the basic business ethics in order to enhance efficiency and high productivity. Basically, business ethics define what to be done at any given moment. In simple terms, business ethics aim at differentiating good from wrong which is the basis of either failure of business success. When a person whether the manger or employee does not know what is expected of him, it becomes the initial step towards failure. They are the basic guiding principles in decision making including moments when all possible options seem to be exhausted (Wegman et al., 2004). Many business dilemmas regarding employee-employer relationships are always solved with reference business code of ethics.
It is however important to note that some philosophical and political ideologies may affect the application of business ethics in decision making. These because many existing ideologies determine the kind of decisions to be considered when faced with a problem regardless of the risky involved. One of these ideologies is libertarianism upon which some business and management decisions are based. Libertarianism basically believes in individual freedom and liberty as the foundation of all relationships, political systems and economic exchanges. They believe in voluntary cooperation and free market and find no use in restrictions or guiding principles imposed by states. According to libertarianism, the government has no right to pursue its goals with the community in mind. Libertarians argue that wealth is not supposed to be redistributed by the state and that the sole purpose of any government ought to be the protection of human rights. Together with this, citizens also have to be protected in order to effectively pursue their undisrupted goals (Scriven, 1997).
Freedom is definitely an acceptable aspect of human life. Given chance, everybody would wish to be free in terms of making decisions. As a result many mangers find it hard to make decisions in a system which recognizes libertarianism. It is usually the desire of every manager to set his employees free by creating a working environment that respects the rights everyone regardless of their positions or gender. Matters to do with workplace safety need to be addressed by the management to ensure the comfort of his employees (Wegman et al., 2004). A secure working environment promotes efficiency of the workforce and lowers the likelihood of accidents occurring. Adherence to safety precautions also promotes the health of workers especially in firms which expose employees to risk hazards like chemical manufacturing plants and countless other companies whose operations significantly affect the health employees. In such cases, libertarianism may compromise the health of workers.
As mentioned above, different companies have varying levels of danger. Regardless of how low the working environment is, the management has to ensure that safety precautions are put in place. Most of these measures if not all involve employees and regulate the behavior of the workforce. For instance, in a case where people are working in a chemical manufacturing plant, provision of safety measures is mandatory and of paramount significance. Human life can not be compromised because of libertarianism which constitutes of arguments that may put the life of workers at risk. For instance, libertarianism allows people do choose what they want to do with themselves as long as it does not affect other people’s property and freedom (Scriven, 1997). If this was to apply in a chemical manufacturing, the life and security of workers would be compromised.
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Although it is morally correct to allow workers to make their own choices on whether or not to work overtime in the more dangerous parts of the enterprise, this ought not to be the case. The CEO has to think beyond libertarianism. If workers are left at liberty to decide to work during overtime, many would agree without necessarily considering the risk involved. This would be against business ethics which require managers to make informed fair decisions that are aimed at promoting the welfare of workers (Wegman et al., 2004). How does allowing workers to work in a more dangerous sector of the enterprise promote their welfare? Although the decision is morally acceptable under libertarianism, it is against business ethics and statement made by the CEO should not be allowed.
Likewise, the use of protective equipment protective equipment does not have to be ratified by libertarianism. It is the duty of managers to ensure that workers use protective equipment like goggle, overalls and hand gloves in order to remain safe. The danger of giving workers an option of whether to use these equipment is that some of them may choose not to use them based on libertarianism. How would be possible for workers to handle chemicals like acids without using protective equipment. It is unfair and unethical to allow workers to enter a chemical plant without guaranteeing them personal safety (Wegman et al., 2004). This safety emanates from a healthy working environment and use of necessary protective equipment. In this regard, the CEO’s statement to make it optional for workers to use protective equipment in the plant is unethical.
On the hand, gender issues are always controversial especially in decision making. Libertarianism recognizes equal rights for both men and women. Therefore, like male workers, female workers need safety working conditions and should be allowed to use protective equipment without making it an optional. Allowing female workers to work in dangerous environment is unethical despite the fact that libertarianism gives freedom of choice and does not allow restrictions imposed by external forces like the management or the state (Otsuka, 2005). Moreover, pregnant women need special care and should not be exposed to risky working environment. Although they may be at liberty to choose what is right for them, it would be quite unethical to expose them to danger. Although libertarianism holds that unborn babies are not human beings, pregnant mothers need protection. Like pregnant mothers and men, women of child-bearing equally need protection and safety at work. Based on these arguments it is quite dangerous and unethical for the CEO to have made such a statement although it is morally acceptable under libertarianism.
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