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Section 1: Introduction

Unfortunately, we, as individuals, do not always behave in accordance with our stated
values nor are we always aware of the specific values which we hold (Cochran, 1983)
These wording stay true to the present days as value conflicts are occurring on a daily
basis. This essay presents a detailed case where personal value conflict occurred. By
reviewing relevant material such as Mary Gentiles Giving Voice to Values (GVV)
criteria and literatures on ethics and values, insights towards possible methods in
resolving the value conflict was obtained. From here, an action plan is developed by
utilising critical self evaluation and research to help rationalize and explain the internal
struggles that constraint myself from voicing my values. The plan also details on how I
could approach these conflicts and present my values better something I would
hopefully do in the future.
Section 2: The case
I was enjoying my job as a waiter at an Asian store, given the friendly and supportive
work mates around me. The only negative aspects was that our management treated us
poorly, providing us with the minimum retail wage while requiring us perform
additional responsibilities such as handing out flyers, or washing dishes for a few hours.
As I was lucky to have picked up a job without any prior experiences in food and
services sector, I didnt voice my complaints towards the boss. On one occasion when
my boss went out, there was only me and John left at the store. As we saw each other
often, we became very close friends, and were trusted by the boss to handle the cashier
while he was out.
While I was cleaning up some tables, I caught a quick glimpse at John
who was handling the bills for the customers. When he went to get the change for the
customers, he took a hundred dollar note and snuck it down his side pocket. I initially
doubted that act, thinking it was a joke and that he would return it later, as stealing $100
off the cashier is quite outrageous. I walked over and whispered, your hand slipped in
some extra note there buddy?. He responded with Man, we are always paid so crap
for the load of work, plus Im in need of money for paying the university bills. I was
stuck at this moment, as my conflicting values of being honest and being loyal had
struck me hard. As a honest worker, I would never forgive the act of stealing, but being
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an understanding and loyal friend of John, I sympathized his position of being paid
poorly while trying to cover his university bills with this job. I couldnt tell my boss as
there was only me with John at the store, and hed know it was me that betrayed him. As
I thought about all these reasoning, I just replied with I never saw what happened bro
to ignore what happened while trying to give the slightest indication that I didnt agree
with what he did. When I think about this incident, I wonder how I could have
approached John and change his behaviour, and how I could have voiced my opinion
more effectively.
Section 3: Organisational Behaviour Theory on Values
Article 1:
Sims, R. L. 2002. Ethical rule breaking by employees: A test of social bonding theory.
Journal of Business Ethics, 40(2): 101-109.
This article aimed to describe employees tendency to perform ethical rule breaking
misconducts (lie, cheat, steal) based on the social bonding theory (Sims, 2002). An
interesting find was that of the four elements in social bonding theory, attachment and
involvement were likely to impact the chances of employees performing misconduct
behaviours. The most significant factor was attachment, measured by job satisfaction
and organisational satisfaction. Results indicated those who didnt care about the
organisations wishes and expectations have high tendency in performing misconducts
(Sims, 2002). John in the above case was probably dissatisfied with the wage in relation
to workload, thus explaining his act of taking the money from the cashier. The article
also suggested that organizational tenure, though highly related to ethical rule breaking,
wasnt a strong measurement of an individuals involvement and commitment (Sims,
2002). Initial results indicated that those who stayed longer at the organisation would be
less likely to commit rule breaking behaviour. This information will help form my
action plan as I take into account the social bonding theory elements and its effect on
ethical rule breaking behaviours.
Article 2:
Verbeke, W., Ouwerkerk, C. & Peelen, E. 1996. Exploring the contextual and
individual factors on ethical decision making of salespeople . Journal of Business
Ethics 15(11): 1175-1187.
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This study explores how organisation environment and organisation climate affects a
salespersons ethical decision making (Verbeke et al., 1996). One discovery found was
that the control system is both directly and indirectly influential towards ethical decision
making. It was shown that in an organisational environment where managers took their
time and offered guidance and evaluation for their salesperson, greater ethical decision
making climate was formed (Verbeke et al., 1996). Another interesting finding was that
internal communication, the communication with people inside and outside the
organisation, would affect ethical decision as salesperson learns to take others
viewpoint into consideration as they speak with various people (Verbeke et al., 1996).
On the flipside, internal communication also increases the tendencies for attracting
people with Machiavellian characteristics, thus causing negative ethical decision
making. The author proposed benefits to eliminate applicants during recruitment who
have the tendency to be Machiavellian in order to promote a stronger ethical decision
making environment for the company (Verbeke et al., 1996). This article is helpful in
understanding how value conflicts may be the result of poor organisation environment
and climate and how to increase the positive ethical decision making skills of workers.
Section 4: Analysis and Action Plan/Script
Given the situation, I wanted to express my belief towards my friend that taking 100
dollars from the cashier was wrong, especially as the boss trusted us with the
responsibility. I had a common value conflict between organisational priorities and
loyalty, as I felt the need to report to my boss but also to stay loyal to my friend
(Gentile, 2010c). In order to understand the situation, I first have to consider all the
stakeholders involved in this ethical dilemma.

John

Highly likely of getting fired if found out by


the boss. His ethical reputation would be
lowered and a positive job reference from
this owner wouldnt be very likely. It would
be hard for John to find a new job. In
addition, owner has the choice of reporting

Myself

his actions to the police.


I was the only person with John so the
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probability of losing Johns trust is likely if I


told the owner about the cash stolen. If I
dont tell the boss about the incident,
regardless of him finding out the issue or not,
I wouldnt be held responsible if I never
speak about the issue, as he presumes I didnt
know about it.
Likely to miss out on the issue as the book

Owner of restaurant

keeping is purely with cash and no electronic


records or receipts are produced. His monthly
profit would be affected slightly.

Reason and Rationalisation


Considering that I knew Johns intention and his background, his actions are somewhat
justified from my viewpoint. Like all other workers, we are paid with minimal wage
while having to deal with extra responsibility, something that greatly reduces the
organisational environment of the restaurant (Verbeke et al., 1996). In addition, as we
know that our store attempts to avoid proper taxation by doing cash-only transaction,
the behaviour and decisions of the owner has moulded the organisational culture to
breed negative ethical decisions. With these backgrounds in mind, Ive created a list of
rationalisation and probably responses that Id give when presented with the situation.
Rationalisation
Loyalty to friend

Response
John would likely tell me to keep it a secret

and ignore his actions.


As loyalty is a deep value I hold (appendix 1)
I would question if John was respecting me
and being loyal to me as a friend, because he
knew my traits of being an honest and loyal

Culture bred behaviours

person yet did that action in front of me.


With the owner being unethical in his method
of handling the business, its easy to justify
Johns action with a poor ethical climate

(Verbeke et al., 1996).


I would remind John that the distributed task
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for me and him to handle the cashier


increases our personal responsibility (Gentile,
2010a). Ill remind him that his action would
lead to shared negative outcome of
generating a negative ethical climate, and
thus future staff would be likely to steal
through internal communication of him and
Seeking balance through compensation

other staffs (Verbeke et al., 1996).


John would feel that getting the $100 is
simply balancing the workload he has to do

with the amount he gets paid (Sims, 2002).


Reminding John of the stakes at hand,
because hes most likely focused on personal
stakes rather than viewing the effects on a
broader scale (Gentile, 2010a).

Viewing the situation, its clear that John chose to act in a poor manner as he chose to
satisfy his personal wishes rather than complying with the expected responsibilities of
being a moral agent and following the moral commands (Price, 2006). The main
conflict of interest was developed because of Johns dissatisfaction towards his job, an
attachment element in the social bonding theory (Sims, 2002), thus leading to him
performing unethical decisions. As an individual that sympathizes and am supportive
(Appendix 1 + 2), but also honest and direct (Appendix 2) the best solution was to talk
directly to John about my feelings towards his actions. As Mary Gentiles GVV
suggested the assumption that voicing my values is worth doing and will lead to better
decisions (Gentile, 2010b), thus I should act on the enabler of courage that my action
will result in a positive impact (Gentile, 2010a). As I realize that John isnt experiencing
good job satisfaction due to a poor organisational environment, I would recommend the
solution of him finding another job where he is feelings a higher sense of attachment
(Sims, 2002; Verbeke et al., 1996).
However, due to my nature of being non-confrontational when the issue doesnt directly
affect me, my greatest barrier is the tendency to avoid conflicts that involves people
who are close to me (Appendix 1). My avoidance of conflict arose from having to face a
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decision where both my options seemed right in relation to my values, also known as a
right-vs-right dilemma (Gentile, 2010c). Gentile does provide a solution for these
situations by stating that if we recognize the pattern of these conflicts and view it from a
broader perspective rather than the immediate situation, we would identify the choices
as just another rationalization (Gentile, 2010c). In addition, its actually John thats not
displaying loyalty towards me, because he disregards my personal integrity, which is
being honest (Gentile, 2010c). Therefore, if provided with another chance, I would
approach the situation with a different action plan (Appendix 4) rather than hiding my
values and not voicing them to John.
Section 5: Conclusions and Reflections
As I reflect on this incident, Ive realized certain aspects of voicing my values that are
effective for me. When faced with a value conflict, I should approach the different
options by first voicing my values with the intent of providing a better outcome (Gentile
2010a). This should be followed by taking my time in considering all the possible
alternatives in a situation, and weighing their value for the situation provided. As Ive
failed to do so in the given situation, Ive failed to voice my opinion on being honest, as
I weighed loyalty of friends over honesty.
The most difficult part of the process was to weigh out the importance between the two
conflicting values: honesty and loyalty. As an individual that hated confronting friends
but also having the trait of being honest and direct, I was torn between two decisions.
Once Ive learnt that by looking at the aspects at a broader scope, Ive realised my
loyalty has been broken by my friend, thus choosing to be honest and confronting my
friend should become the obvious option.
From what Ive learnt, I can improve my ability to voice my opinions, therefore
maintaining and promoting my set of values to others. With this mentality, I can help
future organisations and friendship circle around me benefit from an ethical
environment, thus increasing the chances of others also behaving ethically (Verbeke et
al., 1996). I would also be capable of thinking ahead and analysing possible value
conflicts that may arise to prepare for methods in countering these issues when they
present themselves in my life (Gentile, 2010c).

References
Cochran, L.: 1983, 'Implicit Versus Explicit Impor tance of Career Values in
Making a Career Decision', Journal of Counseling Psychology 30(2), 188-193.
England, G: 1967, 'Personal Value Systems of American
Gentile, M. 2010a. Building a GVV toolkit: Enablers for voicing values. Course
blackboard site.
Gentile, M. 2010b. Starting Assumptions for GVV. Course blackboard site.
Gentile, M. 2010c. Ways of thinking about our values. Course blackboard site.
Price, T.L. 2006. Understanding Ethical Failures in Leadership. Cambridge, U.K.:
Cambridge University Press.
Sims, R. L. 2002. Ethical rule breaking by employees: A test of social bonding theory.
Journal of Business Ethics, 40(2): 101-109.

Verbeke, W., Ouwerkerk, C. & Peelen, Ed. 1996. Exploring the contextual and
individual factors on ethical decision making of salespeople . Journal of Business Ethics
15(11): 1175-1187.
Appendices
Appendix 1 Personal Professional Profile
Appendix 2 Self-Assessment 2: Strongest-Self Feedback Exercise
Appendix 3 Self Story
Appendix 4 Action Plan/Script
Take time to consider Johns
position and his possible
Seek afor
suitable
reasoning
performing
setting,
time to have
unethical
behaviours.
Think
the
conversation
with
of possible answers to
John.
counter
his thoughts and

Setting:
preferable
out
provide insight
to my values
of work where we feel
and rationalizations.
comfortable and are
isolated.
Timing: Hopefully the
talking happens within
3-4 days after the
occurrence of the
event.

Preferred result
John has accepted the
Explain to John the
arguments
his act of
arguments
andagainst
will
stealing
enable him to better
understand his values,
Taking money
help
thus doesnt
improving
hisimprove the
organisational
environment.
methods
of voicingHe
hiswill still be
unhappy about
work
opinions next time.
Suggest
changing jobs and finding a
workplace where he feels content and
thus attached to the company
I would also end by explaining why he
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mightve acted the way he did and
provide supportive advice and comments
to aid him understand his actions.