Now for creating some dialogue on the other very important issues which involve ethics in the workplace:
Most of this has to do with production and cost control as the enemy of creating a safe workplace. For everything a manager does to make a workplace safer, there is almost always a cost and a resulting reduction in short-term profits. Remember, the idea of a business is to make money so people (whether stockholders or employees) can eat, pay the rent, pay for a car and other necessities and luxuries, like nice or fashionable clothes or concert tickets, fuel for our vehicles, or drugs (hopefully the legal kind).
We as individuals are responsible for ourselves. Our employers and families are not required to protect us from every risk after we become adults. We have a responsibility to care for ourselves, and to only take reasonable risks. Let me argue for a moment that if I take a job in a coal mine, or a job as a test pilot or astronaut, I am assuming a risk. Likely I will be paid a lot for taking some risks, but some risky jobs dont pay well, such as in the coal mines. Why do you think people choose, generation after generation, to work in the coal mines despite the offer of free education? Education is a ticket out of the coal mine. They observe many friends and family who leave the coal mining areas to work elsewhere -and in a safer environment to boot some doing quite well for themselves. Yet they stay working in the mines. Is it that they are afraid to leave? Afraid of what? Are they too lazy to finish a higher education? Are they so stupid that they dont recognize the danger of the local coal mine jobs? How could that be, when they witness occasional disasters in the mines?
In light of the human requirement that we should be looking out for ourselves, how do companies become responsible when there is a mine disaster? Didnt the miners acknowledge the risk when they signed up? So, once signed up to work, what is the companys responsibility to protect the worker? There are laws about what levels of safety must be present in a mine, just as there are exit doors in buildings where those exit doors are not for everyday use, but for emergencies only. Those doors are not to be locked so as to prevent quick exit. Some businesses argue that these doors allow shoplifters to easily escape quickly with goods. The compromise was to make a huge push-bar door handle that, when pushed, sounds a loud alarm (good idea if its a fire), but it will unlock the door only after 10 or 15 seconds. If its not a fire but is a shoplifter, store officials may be able to get to the person before they exit. So only bold shoplifters might use that door. But what if the fire is from a propane canister which blew up inside the store and created a fire, and there are other propane canisters sitting right beside the fire, and you need to get out right now?
For you to create your online dialogue, discuss the compromises you think would be appropriate for a business when it comes to the employers need for profits versus the employers desire or responsibility to create a safe environment for employees and customers. Create a hypothetical scenario as I did above and discuss the pros and cons for each side. Discuss whether there should be laws requiring businesses to provide certain safety measures and how is it paid for. Consider the case in the textbook where a fast-food worker, after working exhausted (whether from the work or from school or from staying up playing video games or whatever we dont really know) caused a deadly accident.
Come up with at least one example on your own and discuss the aspects of ethics, remembering that the business exists for making a profit, and there is always stiff competition. Factor that into your humanistic tendencies to make a complete, two-sided discussinn. Dont forget to consider the effect on all the stakeholders.