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MGMT3016 : Business Ethics

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MGMT3016 : Business Ethics

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Course Code: MGMT3016
University: Australian National University

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Country: Australia

Question:
1. Background, re: use of social media among employees. This section should provide an overview of the broader issue of organisations and the ethics of determining a social media policy.2. Case study scenario . This section should outline the situation faced by the company in dealing with this employee.3. Alternative solutions . This section should describe 2-3 possibleapproaches to be taken by the company, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.4. Recommendation and conclusion . This section should make a recommendation as to the most appropriate solution, and provide a justification for it. The justification should be drawn from relevant, specific academic theory. Assumptions can be made about local labour laws that they are similiar to generic ones relevant in Australia.
Answer:
Background

Over the last years, social media has been cemented in our culture and people are using in every aspect of life for gaining benefits. Trevino & Nelson (2016, p.10) stated that it has many advantages like recruiting employees, gaining knowledge of working procedures of companies and understanding the demands of emerging market. However, some organizations perceive social media as the waste of time and energy (Trainor et al. 2014, p.1207). This leads to organizations discouraging usage of social media in the workplace or banning it altogether. Social media has certain disadvantages like posting any message on social media gets spread instantly and it is nearly impossible to change the message once given. People have the habit of believing whatever information or message they get on social media (Brown & Duguid, 2017). Social media has the ability to create the false impression among people as they are more dependent on it than any other sources of information.  
It is therefore advised that personal use of social media by the employees need to be managed by Quarshie, Salmi & Leuschner (2016, p.90) argued that using the principles which have been used for inappropriate behavior or misconduct. However, organizations should not consider terminating an employee or taking disciplinary action against an employee without considering the right reason for justifying the action (DesJardins, 2014, p.56). It has been said that employees using social media outside working hours can have a negative impact on employment which can be seen as a breach of employment (Michaelson et al. 2014, p.80). This gives the organizations guidance on the situation when the employer or the company can terminate an employee while conducting outside working hours. It has been found that the comments that have been made on social media by an employee that can mar the image of the company can be a valid basis for termination. Beck (2017) commented that posting comments on social media against an employer or a company which is seen by a large number of people is not a private but rather a public comment. It will be foolish for the employees to think that whatever they are posting on Facebook has total immunity from results.  
The scenario of the case study 
In the case study, Kenton, an employee of reputed firm Downcity, has been found of making disparaging comments on social media regarding other company twice. In the first time, the employee has been let out as he was told that he has been sharing the pictures with his friends and family. Weiss (2014, p.11) is of the view that the management can ask e4mployees to refrain from posting such comments which can harm the image of their companies. In this case, he has made some disparaging comments regarding the strategic position of the company. As Kenton has a good performance record and has helped in increasing sales of the company, employers are in cross heads whether to give him a warning or fire him. Dell is of the opinion to fire him while Tyson is in the favour of giving warning to him. However, Susannah is in a dilemma whether to fire him or give him a warning. As the company has no such policies on social media, Susannah is worried about what needs to be done so that it does not hamper image of the company. In this case, Susannah can think that Kenton has done this out of sarcasm and should try to talk to him for understanding his problem, instead of giving disparaging comments on social media.
Alternative solutions 
Taking disciplinary actions
As Kenton has tried to mar the reputation of the company through his comments on media, the company can level disciplinary action against him on the basis of misconduct. According to Jussila, Kärkkäinen & Aramo-Immonen (2014, p.608), social media has the ability to form relationships and getting the required information about the company. In this case, the privacy of Kenton is not set to his families and friends who imply that his posting comments are available to a large number of people. This means that other organizations that are associated with the company can get access to his comments and form a misleading opinion of the company. According to Fan & Gordon (2014, p.78), the advantage of taking disciplinary actions against employees is that it can prevent them from posting any disparaging comments on Facebook or any other forms of social media. It can create deterrence for him and he can understand that the company will not tolerate these kinds of social media activities. The disadvantage of this is that Kenton can sue the company by telling that the company is levelling wrong charges as it does not have any policies on social media.  
Firing him
Grégoire, Salle & Tripp (2015, p.180) is of the view that organizations can terminate the employment of an employee if it has been found that the activities are against the norms and rules of the organization. In this case, the activities of Kenton can malign the reputation of the company though he has done the right thing in showing an actual picture of the company. The advantage of firing him is that it can create deterrence for other employees for posting comments or remarks on social media. It can make clear to other employees who are regular users of social media that Downsyuk will not tolerate any kind of bad comments or remarks that can create a bad impression to people. However, Gudivada, Baeza-Yates & Raghavan (2015, p.22) argued that its disadvantage is that employees can post any comments or information as they like since they are not a part of the company. In this case, He can reveal all the confidential information of the company and its drawbacks since he has been working for many years. Moreover, he can use them on the pretext that the company is infringing on his privacy rights since his comments are private.
Have communication with him
The third option, which is available in resolving this issue, is having communication with him regarding his problems, strategic problems of the company and ways it can be dealt with. Paniagua & Sapena (2014) commented that effective communication can help in understanding the problems of employees and resolving them for enhancing organizational productivity. The advantage of this communication is that it can help the company to understand the strategic problems and devise strategies as required. It can prevent him from making any types of disparaging comments on social media. Kenton will feel that the company pays heed to his information and is concerned with his ideas and knowledge. Holt (2016, p.49) argued that its disadvantage is that it can give a lenient picture of the companies encouraging social media activities. It can make Kenton feel that he the right to make any type of comments as he wishes on social media.
Recommendations and Conclusion 
It can be recommended that the company should have effective communication with Kenton in order to know his issues regarding the company instead of writing it online. Effective communication will help him to reach the management directly if he wants to do things differently. The management needs to make Kenton understand that they do not want him to publish things which can mar the reputation or brand image of the company. They required listening to the advice and suggestion given by Kenton so that he does not feel that the company has an indifferent attitude towards him. It is required for the management to upgrade its policies regarding social media so that no other employees can post comments as they like. As per Business ethics theory, it is required for the management to give importance to the needs of stakeholders as they have a direct influence on operations of the company. It should implement the guidelines of the National Labour relations Act 1935 so as to understand the rights of employees.  
It can be concluded that organizations need to apply business ethics for resolving ethical issues pertaining to the activities of employees. Organizations should have clear policies and procedures which can create deterrence for employees to do any activities which can damage the reputation of the company. In this case, Kenton has posted some comments on social media which have not gone well with the management of Downcity Motors. The management can explore options like taking disciplinary action, firing the employees or talking with him for preventing any kind of activities that can damage its reputation. Excessive leniency on the part of the company can give scope to other employees to post anything on social media.  This can make employees aware of the policies and procedures which can prevent them from making any types of misleading comments.
Introduction:
It is very important for organizations to implement business ethics for creating brand value and customer loyalty. Business ethics ensures that organizations adhere to the needs of its stakeholders and devise the necessary strategies for organizational progress and development. This study focuses on the importance of business ethics that Downcity Motors need to implement for ensuring sustainable business practices. The company has been facing a problem of an employee who has been making disparaging comments on social media regarding the company.  It needs to consider ethical principles for resolving this issue.
As the employee has a good performance record and the company does not have any policy regarding social media, so it is facing ethical dilemma of whether to discipline him or fire him. It needs to explore all the possible interventions and strategies that can be adopted for resolving this ethical issue. This study focuses on two approaches like disciplining them and firing them for resolving the ethical issue. Use of social media among employees and ethics for determining social media policy have been evaluated. The ethical implications of each of the approaches have been evaluated in this context. In this case, National Labour Relations Act 1935 has been focussed on for understanding the rights of employees. Recommendations for the most appropriate solution have been provided so that the company is able to resolve future ethical dilemmas.
References:
Beck, J. 2017 Emerging Issues: Social Media, Viewed 11 Jan 2018
Brown, J.S. & Duguid, P., 2017. The Social Life of Information: Updated, with a New Preface. Harvard Business Review Press. Viewed 11 Jan 2018 https://www.ojphi.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/739/648
DesJardins, J.R., 2014. An introduction to business ethics. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Fan, W. & Gordon, M.D., 2014. The power of social media analytics. Communications of the ACM, vol. 57, no. 6, pp.74-81.
Grégoire, Y., Salle, A. & Tripp, T.M., 2015. Managing social media crises with your customers: The good, the bad, and the ugly. Business Horizons, vol. 58, no. 2, pp.173-182.
Gudivada, V.N., Baeza-Yates, R. & Raghavan, V.V., 2015. Big data: Promises and problems. Computer, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 20-23.
Holt, D., 2016. Branding in the age of social media. Harvard business review, vol. 94, no. 3, pp.40-50.
Jussila, J.J., Kärkkäinen, H. & Aramo-Immonen, H., 2014. Social media utilization in business-to-business relationships of technology industry firms. Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 30, no.1, pp.606-613.
Michaelson, C., Pratt, M.G., Grant, A.M. & Dunn, C.P., 2014. Meaningful work: Connecting business ethics and organization studies. Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 121, no. 1, pp.77-90.
Paniagua, J. & Sapena, J., 2014. Business performance and social media: Love or hate?. Business horizons, vol. 57, no. 6, pp.719-728.
Quarshie, A.M., Salmi, A. & Leuschner, R., 2016. Sustainability and corporate social responsibility in supply chains: The state of research in supply chain management and business ethics journals. Journal of Purchasing and Supply Management, vol. 22, no. 2, pp.82-97.
Trainor, K.J., Andzulis, J.M., Rapp, A. & Agnihotri, R., 2014. Social media technology usage and customer relationship performance: A capabilities-based examination of social CRM. Journal of Business Research, vol. 67, no. 6, pp.1201-1208.
Trevino, L.K. & Nelson, K.A., 2016. Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right. NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Weiss, J.W., 2014. Business ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach. NY: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 

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