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Personal Values

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Personal Values

In today's world the boundaries between different disciplines become increasingly blurred. The rational and dry business realm is being slowly permeated by the softer and more fluid psychology and sociology. The role of values and the set of ethical criteria of the decision makers become increasingly relevant in a modern business research. One of the most popular tools is Williams Institute Ethics Awareness Inventory assessment (WIEM, 2003). According to the Ethics Awareness Inventory [EAI] (Williams Institute for Ethics and Management [WIEM], 2003), "[My] ethical perspective is most likely to be based on equity, and least likely to be based on obligation."

The EAI states that my ethical perspective is based on " individual's duty or obligation to do what is morally right..." (WIEM, 2003). In my personal and professional life, this means that I tend to look behind the person's actions to determine intention, rather than concentrating on results. The EAI supports my belief that human beings are entitled to basic rights, and therefore, our actions must respect the rights of others: "The ends do not justify the means" (WIEM, 2003). Therefore, I believe individuals have an obligation to make choices which benefit the whole, yet do not infringe upon the rights of the individual. Thus, for example, in my ethical standpoint, the management must make policies which benefit the whole company and its employees, without stripping away individual freedom of each.

Being "obligation oriented" poses certain problems as well. Being clearly individualistic and independent can cause frictions with either peers or management. Moreover, a belief that people have a moral obligation to do the "right" thing leaves a little room for compromise.

In my view, the Kudler Fine Foods (KFF) ethical philosophy is mostly based "... on the results or consequences..." of its actions "It is not enough for an individual to "talk the talk." Results are needed to indicate that she/he is "walking the walk." [...] what really counts in reaching the ethical decision is the bottom line" (WIEM, 2003). The proof of this approach is reflected in KFF's Compensation Philosophy. "Our philosophy is that highly satisfied employees create highly satisfied customers, so we intend to provide a total rewards system that is above the market. However, we also believe that pay should be linked to performance, so our base pay opportunities will be indexed to the market median in each of the markets we serve. We will offer incentive plans to those who perform well to increase their overall compensation" (KFF's Compensation Philosophy, 2003). Being results oriented also means that the company "[believes] that conduct should be directed toward promoting the greatest good to the greatest number of persons... Therefore, [its] approach to ethics is likely to focus on what could be done to improve the wellbeing of the greatest number of persons" (WIEM, 2003). This approach is best exemplified in KFF's Strategic Plan (2003) "Kudler Fine Foods uses only the finest organic ingredients. Whenever possible, we purchase local produce from organic farmers. We use unbleached flour in our bakery goods



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