Business Ethics Case Study


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Introduction The situation currently inside Eclipse Airline is one that involves the absence of ethics. There is no ethics program of any type in line with the daily functions or the future progression of Eclipse Airline. As so, “ethics” is defined by the employees and is passed on under management from employee to employee via verbatim. The CEO of Eclipse Airline further recognizes possible problems that may arise in the absence of an ethics program, one that recognizes the safety of the employees and also of their client passengers. The problems are compounded by the duality of unrefined form of ethical culture in the company and the economic pressure which is at the face of any business progression. Further note, because the airline conducts business outside of the U.S., to define ethics is another hurdle due to the differences in culture in foreign soils. From the top down perspective, there is no one to be identified who models exquisite behavior for which others can follow in foot step.

Assumptions The assumptions that is made for Eclipse Airlines is that there is no current form of any ethical programs which yields no positive ethical culture. It is deemed important to note that because no such programs or culture exists, there seems to be no communication being conducted from top management down to the entry-level employees about any ethical procedures or values except from the hear say of the employees amongst themselves. The most prevalent assumption to be taken away is that Eclipse Airline wants to succeed and share the success within the organization across all relevant personnel. By assuming these three elements, it is to the benefit of the board of directors for the company of Eclipse Airline to immediate put into effect the following recommendations.

Comp advantage By assuring ethical behavior that meets the satisfaction of the organization, the general public may also be satisfied. According to Weaver, studies show a positive correlation in the perception that general public can hold on the company that exhibits a superior ethical foundation. The media attention gained by the ethical values of a company and its employees, if positive, can influence the behavior of future passengers/clients and the groups that look for prospects to invest in (Weaver, 1999). In terms of competition that is in the airline industry, the victor within the industry will have strong progression of future business with growing demand by the general public/clients.

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To ensure that Eclipse Airlines remains competitive or even exceed the current position in financial standings, Eclipse Airlines have to adhere to developing a strong ethics culture that will permeate out to the satisfaction of the customers. In turn, having a prestigious public image will acquire better returns as customer base and loyalty will grow complemented with ethical and loyal employees.

Ethics Committee Values and moral across individuals differ and furthermore, an individual’s claim to ethical code of conduct and substance of ethics may be incongruent with what is to be expected from the organization’s stand point. In the case of Eclipse Airlines, the issue at hand is the lack of committed individuals who sustain the ethical views of the company. Currently, the situation in Eclipse Airline is one without a standard to live up to for the employees. Employees are given the freedom to hold ethics to their own moral foundations (whether it is just or unjust; it is right or wrong). What is recommended is an Ethics Committee that once established, should develop policies regarding ethics inside Eclipse Airlines. This committee has to be in charge of evaluating the employee’s actions, investigating and enforcing ethics policy violation (Weaver, 1999). With the establishment of an ethics committee for Eclipse Airline, it will help to set a standard for which employees can measure their personal ethics to and will also help to maintain an ethical culture across the company uniformly. This Ethics Committee has to be made up of well qualified personnel who understand the differences between ethnicity cultures as well due to the fact that Eclipse Airlines is an airline company that is saturated all over the world. This committee can ensure the substance of an individual’s ethical conduct instead of individuals judging for themselves.

Ethics Training Program

Through the Ethics Committee, the company has to regulate ethics training. The airline needs to recognize that an individual working for the company differs amongst themselves. Even though one may find inconsistency between individuals, what is currently consistent in the employees is that they all share differing ideas and norms of what is and isn’t ethical. To curb this problem, Eclipse Airline has to create an Ethics Training Program. The program has to share the organizational values and provide a guide to the employees when and if they come across ethical issues (Trevino, 1999). The key element to be gained by the establishment of an Ethics Training Program is broadly acknowledging a base in ethical thinking/behavior that is shared by everyone in the company. While the employees learn about the company’s mode of ethics, they screen through potential ethical problems that the industry can bring about.

Ethical Communication System and Ethics Personnel The Ethical Training Program will help to ensure the proper ethical development in the employees’ behaviors. As so, the Ethics Committee will be able to regulate what that norm will be and also will carry out in seeing that a positive ethical culture is being maintained within the company. What is needed to further avoid the silent abuse of ethical behavior by employees and managers alike is a system of communication. An anonymous system needs to be in place to protect employees who are reporting ethical dilemmas faced by other employees or when ethical conduct is in question by another employee (Weaver, 1999). This system can come in different forms i.e. email system, telephone hotlines, etc. but needs to be readily accessible. Once systems of communications are in place, the company needs to have ethics officer or ethics personnel in place to answer or give guidance to the standing issues faced by the calling employees. The personnel who will be charged with the duty to guide and to answer also need to be available in case further investigations or counseling is needed. What a system of communication places in the company is standardization of behavior (Weaver, 1999). It prevents employees from going outside of the commitments of the organizational goals and values. It is important to have a fully functioning anonymous system to moderate behavior without the fear of persecution and to protect employee privacy.

Commitment of Top Executives Economic pressure combined with the current situation in Eclipse Airlines may lead to short cuts and unethical conduct to save money by top managers of the company. Economic pressure is a variable that can not be controlled and the progression of the company is driven by monetary means so saving money has to be maintained in the daily functions of managers in the company. To curb any unethical conduct that may contribute to the saving of money, there has to be the involvement of the top executives. According to the upper echelons theory, the commitments of the top executives prove to have the necessary influence on organizational actions (Weaver, 1999). Establishing an ethics culture is not enough if no one is a model example of them and since the top executives are influential to the views of the management and below, a commitment has to be made by the top executives to enforce and follow the ethics that are to be followed by this company. The Board of Directors for Eclipse Airlines has to play a big role in the changes being recommended. Without the cooperation of the top executives, there is no way to ensure any success for the company’s lack of ethical culture.

Evaluation By establishing all the recommendations, Eclipse Airlines will engage business in an ethical manner. The problems concerning potential client safety will digress due to the fact that employees will act on good ethical conduct to ensure the safety of passengers. Positive change in the culture concerning ethics will prove to be a vital sign in the business itself as it can be measured by customer satisfaction. The effects of ethical conducts by the employees and the organization as a whole will permeate to the customers and clients as well as capitalists that are out there to invest in the growth of good promising companies. The firm believes that there will be a positive correlation in company outlook of future growth and the positive perception of the people that use its products and services. In this case, the growth of customer satisfaction will lead to good publicity for the company yielding in growth in sales and growth in the funding provided by the people and companies out there that wants to invest, which ultimately will help Eclipse Airlines to grow.

Toffler, B. L. (1999). Managing ethics and legal compliance: What works and what hurts. California Management Review, 41(2), 127-149


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