Business ethical problem

Business ethical problem

Business ethical problem

Businesses are required to uphold to ethics in their day-to –day operations. Ethics is the moral standards expected to be exhibited by people and organizations in their quest to attain certain ends. Various philosophers have formulated different ethical theories that explain how people and businesses behave and whether they uphold ethics or not in our day-to-day experiences, we encounter different business ethical problems. The business ethical problem I experienced and which forms the basis of this discussion is ignoring of safety, healthy and environmental standards by the organization. The problem is discussed based on the deontological ethics theory.

Every organization is required to work and conduct its activities under certain laws and regulations.  Some of the mandatory things that the company is required to adhere to are; to ensure that its employees are safe and healthy and that it commits itself to conserving the environmental as per the set standards.  I experienced these unethical practices while I worked as a technician in one of the companies dealing in manufacturer of fertilizer.  The company violated ethical standards by failing to put into consideration the health hazards it exposed to the workers as well as to the environment. The company employees did not put on protective gears while working in the industry and this was a risk factor on their safety as well as their health.  The company was required to ensure that it protected its employees and provided conducive working conditions something that it violated. Furthermore, the company did not have functioning filters to regulate the amount of toxins that was being emitted in the environment. These toxins paused a challenge to the environment and more so the people in the company as well as to the community and entire world.  This promoted me to confront the situation by alerting the relevant authorities about the same. I first approached the management and discussed with them about the situation and the risk that it posed to the workers and the environment. However, I was not listened to and no action was taken. I decided to seek audience with the authorities dealing with employee welfare and environmental matters.

Deontological ethical theory is applicable to this scenario and has some implications to the problem. Deontological ethics operates on the premise that people must act from duty to be acting in a morally right way (Chatterjee, Sarker & Fuller, 2009). The motives of the persons are what determine whether the action is right or wrong and not the consequences.  Therefore, people should do something because it is their duty and out of respect for the authority or law. The problem discussed above is manifestation of failure to adhere to this deontological ethics theory. The company failed to act in a morally right manner because the motives of the company were outrageous.  It failed do provide safety and healthy working environment and failed in safeguarding environment and yet it has the responsibilities to do that.  Furthermore, the company failed to respect the law which requires that the safety, health and environment are safeguarded. For instance, even after the discussions with the management of the company, it continued to mistreat its employees and exposed them to chemicals, and provided poor safety at the workplace. This in itself is a clear indication of failure to ensure that improvement on its standards.

Kant’s, categorical imperative also applies to this business ethical problem.  Categorical imperative requires that individuals and firms act in a manner that they can wish to become a universal law. It also requires that humanity be treated well not basically as a means but as the means and the ends and that every individual must be able to behave appropriately as law makers in a universal kingdom of ends (Kay, 2011).  This therefore means that no individual should mistreat others or use others as a climbing ladder.  These premises in the categorical imperatives therefore apply to the situation.   The act of the company management towards its employees is outrageous and cannot be allowed to prevail in the universal law.   The law is aimed at protecting its people and ensuring that they lead comfortable lives. Laws are not meant to oppress its people but to make them enjoy their lives. Denying workers’ right to a safe  and health working condition  is something that cannot be allowed in any civilized state or country that appreciate the  impact employees have on the company. Furthermore, as the impacts of climate changes increases, measures are required to be taken to help in reduction of emissions in the environment that increase the effects of global warming. Therefore, this is a regrettable situation and an action taken by the company cannot be approved by other states because of its ramification.  The company further, uses employees as the means to an end. Their, welfare is not given attention but what is of great priority is for the owners to get big profits for their own interests. Therefore, workers are used as means to an end as there concerns are given a deaf ear. Therefore, this illustration denotes clearly the omission and failure of the management to embrace categorical imperative ethical standards.

In conclusion, businesses need to adhere to ethical standards in their operations. This allows them an opportunity to act morally when providing services and products to the consumers. As I discussed, deontological ethical standards that requires people to demonstrate duty was not observed.






Chatterjee, S., Sarker, S., & Fuller, M. (2009). A Deontological Approach to Designing Ethical     Collaboration, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10(3): 138-169.

Kay, C. (2011). Department of philosophy: Notes on Deontology. Retrieved from:   


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