Semester Project Business Ethics





Semester Project Business Ethics

Ethics are regarded as the moral codes of conduct that govern good behavior. Ethical behavior brings about ethical issues and dilemmas where individuals have to deliberate on what is the right way of approaching or executing a certain duty. During my employment career, there are several ethical situations that have had to be tacked. During one of the college long vacations, I worked for a popular eating and drinking establishment that was located at the local beach. The restaurant was appealing to its local customers due to its nightly bands and local entertainment. The management had fronted an official uniform for the waitresses that included tight jeans and a “Sandtrap” T-shirt. Business peaked during summer when most people were on vacation but dwindled in the winter.

The administration therefore suggested to the waitresses to adorn low-cut and tight-fitting shirts and very short shorts as a new strategy of increasing the sales. This strategy was double edged as it ended up increasing sales but also led to some of the customers making sexual advances, lewd and abusive comments to the waitresses. This leads to the waitresses being offended by the fact that they have to be scantily dressed in the cold and for being abused by the customers. They later confront the patron and tell him that they cannot continue to dress scantily but he tells them to put up with it for the moment. The patron is therefore in a dilemma since he has to deliberate on what to do. Allowing the waitresses to revert to their original attire could mean dwindling sales while continuing with the practice could mean possible loss of workers and litigation.

The implementation of this strategy brought about various practical constraints. The change of attire in ones that were unbearable to the waitresses formed a basis for the latter to complain. The law is clear on the issue of abuse. None of the staff should be exposed to abuse especially when the short skirts are the one causing them to be provoked. There is the issue of discrimination since the waitresses were treated differently in comparison to their male counterparts (Penslar, 45).

Ethical subjectivism is whereby the moral standards are dictated on will, human nature or divine. This being a corporate venture, the most relevant will when the human will is concerned, and the patron has to abide purely on the legislative law to form basis for his judgment. On the other hand, if the will is divine, then the divine command theory of ethics will form basis for the patron the deliberate on the nest course of action. This being an entertainment restaurant, it is highly unlikely the patron is religious since many religions are against their members working at such establishments.

Utilitarianism is an ethical theory whereby the patron’s decision is merely based on the consequences of his course of action. To a utilitarian, the course of action that yields the greatest benefit to the most people is regarded as the one that is ethically correct. If the patron is to deliberate based on utilitarianism, then he is also in a dilemma since insisting that they continue wearing the attire could lead to some losing jobs but make the business earn maximum profits that is if new staff is to be hired. On the other hand, revoking the new law could lead to a higher benefit in part of the waitress but also lead to decreased losses. Under the rights ethical theory, the rights that are set by the given society are to be adhered to and given the highest priority (Penslar, 60).

Organizations to some extent define what is to be considered as right or wrong. Organizations such as respectable companies usually emphasize on the rights of the employees and work to the effort of creating sub-departments to look into their affairs. There are other organizations that are mainly characterized by the emphasis on profits. These profit oriented organizations influence every leader to make judgments and execute strategies that are mainly aimed at maximizing the profits.  This environment of influence is mainly creating by the management and other industry players. In the industry of restaurants and entertainment clubs, the organizational standards indicate that the customer is always king, anyone else is to work in the effort of pleasing the customer and maximizing the profits. With this regard, the organization influences the patron to maintain the policy of having the waitresses dress scantily since it works to please the customer and also goes ahead to maximize the earnings.

Since business entities are mainly set up to reward the capital invested by the investors. This forms a high source of influence since cut throat competition and the need to maximize the profits makes the management to implement strategies and make deliberations that are purely aimed at maximizing the profits. This is mainly why the management subjected the waitresses to the harsh winter climate clothed in scanty clothes merely to maximize on the profits. This is also the reason why other business entities will go the extent of indulging in other forms of unethical and immoral behavior such as child labor for the sole purpose of minimizing cost and maximizing on profits.

Personal motivation is highly influential in the deliberation process. This is because, since the decision making process is personal affair and minimally exercised as a group, the attitude, beliefs and values of an individual highly influence the decision that is arrived at. As an example, if the patron is supposedly a religious person, then he would have ended up taking a choice that was in conformity with his religion. This would be in utter disregard of the stand of the legislative law, the demands of the administration, the plight of the waitresses but the sole stand of the deity in belief.

During this experience, my expectation was that the deliberation of the patron would be first of all based on the legislative law of the state. This to my belief is priority since it dictates whether the business entity can run in the future. Disregard of state law brings about punitive repercussions on any business entity such as costly fines and to some extreme extent the closure of the business entity. With this regard, the patron should have analyzed the state’s stand regarding the rights of the employees before taking any other step. If the current strategy of attracting customers employed by the business is not legal, then this ought to stop with immediate effect. Secondly, a utilitarian perspective would be most plausible where the cost versus benefit method is taken. This would of course be in conflict with the organization’s goals since it is apparent that the goal of the organization is to maximize on profits in utter disregard of the cost on other stakeholders.

The establishment of rules is very important in any organization and institution since it highly facilitates the deliberation processes. The establishment of rules also works a lot in ensuring that contradicting strategies are implemented within the institution and thereby alleviating instances of ethical dilemmas on the serving leaders.

This situation ended up creating several ethical issues that needed to be immediately addressed. There is the aspect of sexual harassment by the customers that the patron needs to address with immediate effect. Another ethical issue that is raised is that whether the management has the right to force the waitresses to wear uncomfortable clothing in front of the customers. This also leads to the issue of unhealthy working condition in the work place whereby the waitresses are exposed to undue cold during winter. Another ethical issue that crops up is whether there is discrimination when the male counterparts are allowed to wear the original uniform.

The primary stakeholders in this issue are the management, the patron and the waitresses. Any course of action that is to be deliberated is to take into account the resulting impact on these primary stakeholders. This is especially relevant if the patron is a utilitarian whereby his judgment is based on the greatest benefits to the most people.

The possible alternatives that are open to the patron include abandoning the new strategy of having the waitresses to put on scanty attire against their wishes. The patron also has the option of continuing with the implementation of the strategy and fire any personnel who fails to comply with the directive. The patron can abandon the strategy and seek other measures that can both attract customers and friendly to the entire staff. This could include the hiring of a few exotic dancers who could entertain the clients as a profession. Whatever the alternative, the patron ought to be aware of the possibility of having the waitresses bring up harassment and discrimination legal suits against him and the business entity.

The ethics of the alternatives are based on the ethics of the alternatives. As stated above, priority is to be based on the legal stand of the state. If the legislative law fails to have a definitive stand on the matter, then other alternatives include taking up a utilitarian perspective. This involves taking the cost versus benefit perspective. The patron is to analyze the possible alternative that realizes the supreme benefits to the highest number of number of stakeholders. Long term costs and benefits are also to be taken into account. This is because an alternative that satisfies the greatest number but leads to losses could be beneficial in the short term but costly in the long term since it could lead to the closure of the business entity.

Considering the above, the best alternative course of action for the patron would be abandonment of this new strategy of having the waitresses put up scanty dresses against their wishes and look up for alternative strategies. Alternative strategies would involve the hiring of professional exotic dancers who are confident and willing to put on the short dresses for the entertainment of the customers. This encourages professionalism and the satisfaction of the entire staff. The profits are bound to increase since the exotic dancers would perform there services professionally as opposed to the waitresses. This will lead to increased to increased profits and hence satisfaction on behalf of the investors.


Works cited

Penslar, Robin L. Research Ethics: Cases and Materials. Bloomington: IndianaUniversity Press. 2005. Print.


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