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For this paper Washington Mutual has been selected to show how the ethical decision making process can be achieve. When it comes to business ethics in the workplace Washington Mutual has designed what can be considered a well balanced workplace with behaviors that are aligned with their moral values and business ethics. Business ethics are sometimes depicted as resolving conflicts where one option can appear to be the correct choice. There are many different ethical dilemmas that are faced by managers and leaders everyday that are highly complex and have no clear choice or guidelines to assist in making the choices for resolution. There are times when an employee has to decide whether or not to cheat, lie, steal, or break their contract. These ethical decisions are real-life situations where they are forced to make on a daily basis. This is why it is ultimately important that all employee know the six steps to ethical decision making that the company uses.
The selected issue for the paper is where an employee has not given their current or potential customers accurate information when opening accounts or requesting new services from Washington Mutual. When a person is in the workplace proper business ethics is used on a daily basis. An employee can make ethical decisions by applying their critical thinking skills to the situation they can ensure that the decision that they make is the right decision. The decision process can be very tiresome process but with the proper procedures one can become a better decisions maker.
This paper will examine the six ethical decision making steps which are issue clarification, stakeholder analysis, values identification, issue resolution, addressing objectives, and resolution implementation and how they relate to the above issue where an employee has not given their current or potential customers accurate information when opening accounts or requesting new services from Washington Mutual. This paper will examine how each step relates to the company and the selected issue.
Issue clarification is an important part of the ethical decisions making process for Washington Mutual. The reason why it is very important to the company is because this process makes the company stop and think about the customers and employees and the decisions that they are making. It also makes them look at these decisions and analyze them to see if they are ethical. Employees that work at or with Washington Mutual sometimes fail to give their customers the most accurate information due to the tie restraints and trying to achieve their quotas.
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Washington Mutual’s main issue clarification process consists of questioning their potential customers about their services, and products. The issue that Washington Mutual faces is providing correct and accurate information to potential customers when answering questions about account types. An example of this issue is when an employee informs a customer that they are required to open a savings account at the same time they open their checking account to obtain the free checking. This is only being done to make the companies goal or quota and they have no regard to telling the truth the customer can be considered unethical and causes issues for the company.
“Stakeholder analysis is a tool that can be used to assist in decision-making situations where various stakeholders have competing interests, resources are limited, and stakeholder needs must be appropriately balanced” (Kulzick 2003). . When doing a stakeholder analysis one must considered the root of the supported facts. Employees should at all time be honest with the customers and not give them incorrect information to increase their quota or fro their own personal gain. It is Washington Mutual’s policy that the employee should also not participate in this type of misrepresentation of the truth to the customer in order to get a promotion. When dealing with current and potential customers, employees should at all times think about how their decisions affect their advancement in the company. The employee must also think about the decisions that they are making and the affect that they will have on the company and its reputation.
Another issue that Washington Mutual faces is that employees are not informing the customer about all the terms and conditions that goes along with their service. This lack of information from the employee to the customer in the end causes more issues fro the company. The reason why they are not providing all the information to the customer is due to the time restraints and the need to get their quota met by opening as many accounts in the littlest time possible.
According to Washington Mutual’s web site their mission is to “To build strong, profitable relationships with a broad spectrum of consumers and businesses.
We will do this by delivering products and services that offer great value and friendly service, and by adhering to our core values of being fair, caring, human, dynamic, and driven” (Washington Mutual 2008). Their philosophy is to be fair through the use of ethics based on absolute fairness, integrity, and honesty as a guide in everything that is done by and for the company. This can be done by the stability of the expectations and trust of the current and potential customers, employees, and the surrounding community. Washington Mutual can achieve these goals by offering the customers products and services which are designed to meet their needs with exceptional value and the end result is having a happy customer.
Washington Mutual expects their leaders to make intricate decisions, and to carry them out in a way that everyone maintains their dignity, while ensuring that the interaction between customers and employees is one based on courteously, respect, and caring. They have a belief that by being human is to be positive, energetic, and committed to achieving the company’s goals while living its values. Washington Mutual has instilled a belief into their employees that they are talented, committed people who make a difference by working as a team. By working as a team they have the ability to learn from the customer their viewpoint on services needed and deliver to them what is most important.
When it comes to issue resolution Washington Mutual strives to ensure that all of its actions are conducted by absolute honesty, fairness, and integrity. Their idea of issue resolution comes in the form and belief of cooperation and trust in their shared objectives. This belief is vital to the company’s success as a result of this belief employees are expected to be fair and ethical with their customers. Employees are to conduct themselves at all times in a way that they do not take advantage of the customers by concealment, manipulation, misrepresentation of material or any other unethical and unfair business practice that jeopardizes the company or its customer. If an employee does any of the above actions it can result in the immediate termination of their job.
When it comes to addressing objectives Washington Mutual does this head on. The objective that is mostly to occur more often in this situation is the increasing of accounts by an employee when they are working the same amount of time. The objective would be to find out how the employee is doing this without any changes to the amount of customers seen on a daily basis. They do this be constant monitoring of the employees activities during the day. The constant monitoring can be in the form of checking all the paperwork the employee files on customers, and checking with customers how informed they were about the products and services offer. By doing this constant monitoring of employees Washington Mutual is addressing their objectives on a daily basis and meets them head on.
There are many ways that Washington Mutual can implement plans of resolution for the issues present. Washington Mutual’s first plan of action is avoidance of these circumstances but this can not always be done so they have to make sure they have other plans to implement. One plan of action would be to give customers a survey about the customer service they were given and ask questions about what they were told. When giving this survey to customers it gives them a chance to double check on the information that was told to the customer during the negotiation of open an account. When checking on the customer service that they customer received from the employee, Washington Mutual has to make sure that the employee has conducted themselves within the high standard of service and performance that is expected at all times. Other ways that they insure that their high standards of service and performance are being met is through the maintaining all company records to reflect the accuracy of their reporting records. These records reflect that employees are not structuring accounts or misrepresenting information so that they appear more beneficial to the company that what they are in reality. When falsifying or misrepresenting Washington Mutual accounts they believe this can be considered the equivalent of fraud and the employee actions will result in their termination.
Washington Mutual is a very well balanced company when it comes to their employees and the way they make their decisions that affect the company and all of its customers. When issues arise in the company with employees Washington Mutual uses the six ethical decision making steps to find a resolution.
When faced with an issue they work quickly to clarify the issues that are affecting the company and its customers. They then look into who is at stake with the issue and how they can resolve the issue while adhering to their values. By addressing the objections they are able to implement a resolution that will be ethical and fair.
Kulzick, R. S., (2003) Stakeholder Analysis. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from URL: http://www.kulzick.com/Stakehr1.htm
Washington Mutual WaMu (2008) Corporate about us section. Retrieved April 16, 2008 from URL: http://www.wamu.com/about/default.asp