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Responsibility Management

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In the Fall of 2010, I worked for an organization entitled Kumon Math and Reading Center LLC where I worked with students of all ages to better their education. Five of my fellow employees and I were assigned to a team and location in which we were given the task to work with thirty children of all ages over a span of three months. At first, everything went smoothly, however I soon came to realize that my cohorts were using the autonomy given to them in an immoral way. I defined the situation as an ethical dilemma when I felt that my personal values as well as the organizational values of Kumon were conflicting with their actions. From a personal standpoint, I did not see the professional values I held being displayed by them and believed they should be punished; from an organizational standpoint, a lack of loyalty and respect for authority was evident. I eventually set a meeting with the team and informed them that I would tell the manager if their behavior continued. Drawing no response, I become more emotional and enraged as I spoke and stormed out of the room in an unethical manner myself. By looking at different ethical frameworks, I am better able to understand why I acted the way I did, and what I could have done to effectively mediate the situation.

Through Ferrell's Framework for Understanding Ethical Decision-Making in Business, I was able to see what factors led to my actions and how I can better mange them in the future. When determining the actions taken to mediate an ethical dilemma, one must look at the impact that those actions have on the people around them. The ethical issue intensity was very high for me, as I felt that myself and fellow employees were privileged to be given a special team project outside of the normal work environment. I also saw the issue as ethically intense because of the impact that these actions would have in the eyes of the organization as a whole. Because of this, the situation's sense of moral intensity was evident as I knew that whatever approach I took, someone would be negatively affected. There were many times that I thought it wasn't my duty to make sure they do their work as long as I did mine, suggesting a low moral intensity, but over time I saw the effects of their actions and recognized the need for immediate action. Individual factors also played a large role in my decision making process. Personal ethical issues that came into conflict with their actions were dishonesty and the unacceptable behaviors displayed in a professional environment. Honesty is a core value of mine and something I live by every day. My peers blatantly disregarded this by their lying to managers and falsifying progress reports. This in turn led me to act out in an inappropriate way, suggesting a low level of emotional intelligence. Another personal value of mine is to act and behave appropriately in a professional environment; this was breached by their coming in late and leaving early, as well as the lack of focus on helping students understand concepts and not just the problem. This has been instilled in me from my youth, and also led me to act in an emotionally unintelligent manner.

Organizational factors also played a tremendous role in this process. These included the corporate culture and the ethical climate of Kumon. The collectivist culture of Kumon has always been aimed at positivity, helping others, and attaining knowledge outside of school. Norms within Kumon are to always be on time, be cooperative, and always be willing to help. Upon seeing these being broken, I was influenced to act out; as the culture of Kumon is very similar to the way I approach my life. I felt that not only were they hurting the organization as a whole, but myself too. The ethical climate of Kumon also contributed to my actions, as there was no code of ethics established for me, therefore giving me no true course of action to follow. Also, we were given no previous training for situations such as this and there was no supervision present, leading me to act in a way that let my emotions affect the way I conveyed my words. The opportunity for unethical behavior was evident, as previously stated, because there was no true code of ethics by which to follow their actions. The immediate job context played a major role, as we were put into a new location with no supervision. The opportunity to let them continue goofing off was clear, however my actions were based on the harmful effects they were causing on the children, parents, and Kumon as a whole. I also did not want to be associated with a group of people acting in this manner, suggesting my personal values had a strong influence on my actions.

By assessing these factors, it is clear to see my business ethics evaluations and intentions. I came to the realization that my low level of emotional intelligence was the clear contribution factor leading to my actions. My ethical judgment was that they were acting inappropriately, however my behaviors did not display this. By reprimanding them and storming out of the room, it was clear the my intentions were no longer to create a better tomorrow, but to only blame them for their wrongdoings. This led to a strong sense of guilt, and ultimately my resignation from Kumon. I felt that I let my personal influences and morals factor into the decision making process too much, when I should have focused more on the organization as a whole. I believe that I could have acted in a more appropriate manner that represent my and the company's values, and therefore characterize my behavior in this scenario as unethical.

Ethical Framework Pros Cons Comments

Rawl's Justice as Fairness Principle 1: Equal Liberty

The freedom of speech to voice issues with my peers. This states that I have the right to speak out to my peers, supporting the actions that I took. Principle 2: Equal opportunity

These employees had the same chance to get the job as others but aren't deserving anymore as evidenced by their actions. How would this affect future opportunities, should they be judged based off of this previous instance? The framework feels too broad and abstract, as numerous people have different definitions of justice and fairness. Because of this, I don't believe this had a substantial impact on the actions I took.

Golden Rules/Divine Theory The recognition that my actions towards employees were wrong. I can see through this framework that acted towards my peers in a way I would not want done to myself. The problem with



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