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Old 28.08.2011, 17:03
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Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

I have some questions that has been popping up in my mind a lot lately:
  • What do people feel doing a job that they know that the ethical and moral value behind the business is not right ie. money laundering, underpaid employees in 3rd world countries, underage kids working,...etc?
  • Does your existence and having a good life with your family become a higher priority than thinking about how moral the business you're working for is?
  • Do you feel you're doing the right thing and ignoring the fact that other people are suffering for you to have such a life?
  • Have you ever thought to give your job / job offer up as you refuse to be a part of such businesses?
  • Do you really sleep well at night knowing you're a part of this sort of businesses?
I would appreciate clear truthful answers with no much ideologies / sarcastic comments, as i consider this a real issue that needs to be addressed.
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:09
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Re: Ethical and moral values during employment

Rather than your list of loaded questions, I was rather expecting a thread on the ethical aspects of employment.

Are you a student ?

AYB
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:12
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re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

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Rather than your list of loaded questions, I was rather expecting a thread on the ethical aspects of employment.

Are you a student ?

AYB
I changed the title to make more clear and no i'm not a student
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:13
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Re: Ethical and moral values during employment

Although I never had to do it, I did reject an offer to work for a tobacco company some 10+ years ago. If I was in THAT place I would look for another job, not just quit and look around. My family has prio. #1, prio. #2, prio. #3, and prio. #4 and as much as I hate saying it like this my values come after them.
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:14
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

Will leaving such a company (unless it's part of a wider spread discontent among employees) change more than if you were to stay and try to influence operations from the inside?
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:18
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

I found myself thinking about a somewhat similar issue just the other day when my friend told me that she just started a new job at a plastics factory (in the US). When she told me this, my initial instinct was to cringe at the thought of working for a company that is part of an industry that contributes to so much pollution, etc. (My initial reaction was probably also due, in part, to a documentary I just recently watched about the negative impacts of plastics).

I then thought about it a little more, though, and realized how long it's taken for this friend of mine to find a job (considering the state of the US economy) and that she has a child to support, no husband to help her, etc. And so I was glad that I held my breath and didn't give her any kind of obnoxious lecture about working for a plastics company, because in her situation -- and quite sadly, probably also for many others -- some sacrificing of one's integrity or ideals may sometimes be necessary just in order to survive.

Sadly, though, I do think that unethical behavior is on the rise among employers -- especially in the US -- because they know that there are so many other people wanting these jobs, and so they feel they can get away with underpaying their employees and treating them poorly.

Meanwhile, Karl Marx must be rolling in his grave.
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:18
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Re: Ethical and moral values during employment

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Although I never had to do it, I did reject an offer to work for a tobacco company some 10+ years ago. If I was in THAT place I would look for another job, not just quit and look around. My family has prio. #1, prio. #2, prio. #3, and prio. #4 and as much as I hate saying it like this my values come after them.
Well, and here in lies the dilemma. Tobacco is an individual choice.

But what about car companies or companies that make airplane parts but also missile parts? What about companies who comply with European standards in Europe, but then dump all kinds of crap in the environment in other parts of the world? They are still just following the rules of the country they do business in. Etc, etc.
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:25
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Re: Ethical and moral values during employment

What about them ?

AYB

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But what about car companies or companies that make airplane parts but also missile parts?
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:32
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

For me there are some absolutes, like tobacco and arms, but honestly very few.

The rest become a little grey. Take child labour, for example, thats always a bad thing, right? Well, i think that there are several levels and i dont know where we all draw the line

1. 8 year old kids producing textiles using harmful dyes and chemicals
2. 8 year old kids stitching footballs and trainers for 60 hours per week for a dollar a day
3. 8 year old children living in company provided housing with their parents and being educated in the factory complex and doing a couple of hours after school each day
4. An eight year old kid working in the fields with his father, mother and family during the harvest for sugar cane or gathering nuts, as that society has done for years

So...is child labour always a bad thing? Or only in case 1? Or maybe 2 as well?

For me, i wont work for a company that deals in the absolutes...but if i can work in a company which does its best to make these situations better, even if not solved overnight, then i can sleep at night
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:34
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

Yeah, it would be so nice if more people were able to use their better "moral judgments" when it comes to who they work for and what industries they work in. Perhaps then some real changes could be made (via some kind of employment boycott). But quite sadly, I think most people do not have that luxury or simply don't really even consider such things.

Perhaps this is due to some kind of self-defense mechanism wired into our psychology. It seems we can often find a way to convince ourselves that our actions are somehow justifiable.

But my heart does go out to all the people in the world who are forced by circumstance to work in horrible conditions or to sacrifice their integrity in order to feed themselves or their families.

I can only hope that employers will finally come to realize the true value of their work force and place the importance of this above the importance of profits.
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Old 28.08.2011, 17:40
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

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Perhaps this is due to some kind of self-defense mechanism wired into our psychology. It seems we can often find a way to convince ourselves that our actions are somehow justifiable.
Exactly, while posting from an Apple iPad manufactured by some poor person in China working for Foxconn and slowly heading towards suicide.

"I love Apple, it's hip and not as evil as Microsoft"
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:15
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Re: Ethical and moral values during employment

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What about them ?

AYB
Would Caleb also decline a job offer from them? My point is tobacco does damage on an individual level. It's my choice if I smoke or not. These other companies cause damage that I have no control over. Where does one draw the line?
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:21
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

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What do people feel doing a job that they know that the ethical and moral value behind the business is not right ie. money laundering, underpaid employees in 3rd world countries, underage kids working,...etc?
You can't lump all this stuff together and generalise.
For example, money laundering is a crime. I wouldn't commit a crime for my employer so that's under the line straight away. Ditto fraud.

Moral and ethical issues like underpaid employees are tougher. It comes down to your own principles. I have no problem pricing wages to the local market - so folks in some countries get paid less or more than folks in other countries for doing the same job. But I wouldn't exploit workers by paying below the local minimum legal wage or demanding excessive hours or unpaid overtime.

Child labour? What Caviarchips said. And that's from an ex paperboy and potato picker!
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:25
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

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Exactly, while posting from an Apple iPad manufactured by some poor person in China working for Foxconn and slowly heading towards suicide.

"I love Apple, it's hip and not as evil as Microsoft"
???
Sorry I'm confused -- who is/was posting from an Apple iPad? Or was that just hypothetical?
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:31
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Re: Ethical and moral values during employment

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Rather than your list of loaded questions, I was rather expecting a thread on the ethical aspects of employment.

Are you a student ?

AYB
For real. Long list of loaded questions.... OP: are you suffering something specific you'd like to share? Did your boss make you feel dirty? Not all bosses make you shower with them you know.
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:38
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

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I found myself thinking about a somewhat similar issue just the other day when my friend told me that she just started a new job at a plastics factory (in the US). When she told me this, my initial instinct was to cringe at the thought of working for a company that is part of an industry that contributes to so much pollution, etc.
Ethicals qualms about someone working at a plastics factory? Aren't we just a bit hypocritical here? Ever thought about all they plastic items in your life? It's not like your friend is working at a weapons factory, is it?

Feel free to reply that it's none of my business but I was just wondering: If you have ethical qualms about your friend working at a plastics factory, what industry are you working in?
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:39
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Re: Ethical and moral values during employment

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For real. Long list of loaded questions.... OP: are you suffering something specific you'd like to share? Did your boss make you feel dirty? Not all bosses make you shower with them you know.
I find comfort in knowing that I'm not the only one who has the ability (and tendency) to make an otherwise perfectly clean thread naughty.
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:42
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

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Ethicals qualms about someone working at a plastics factory? Aren't we just a bit hypocritical here? Ever thought about all they plastic items in your life? It's not like your friend is working at a weapons factory, is it?

Feel free to reply that it's none of my business but I was just wondering: If you have ethical qualms about your friend working at a plastics factory, what industry are you working in?
I definitely agree that we should point the finger at ourselves before pointing it at anyone else...
But again, my reaction was due to the documentary I had just watched about plastics, which was still very fresh in my mind.
Anyways, to answer your question... I'm not exactly sure what you would call the "industry" that I work in. I am an Area Manager for a series of online Science job boards (which posts primarily academic research positions).
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:42
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Re: Ethical and moral values of businesses while employed

what I have a problem with is a corporate culture of dishonesty. If lying, misrepresenting, or falsifying is a requirement to be successful, then I don't want to be a part of that.
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Old 28.08.2011, 18:50
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Re: Ethical and moral values during employment

OP, there are 2 trail of thoughts in my head, depending on what your situation is.

trail#1: if i'm a family man and that is my main source of income, i would just close my eyes and do my job for the sake of my wife and kid. i would sacrifice if at the end of the day it means that my kid would go to school and i would be able to support my family. if i can't do this then i would try to find a new job ASAP.

trail#2: as a professional employed by the company, i would do my job the best way i can. here's a hypothetical scenario, say i need to do designs to market cigarettes to minors, i would do it the best way i can and make those minors smoke more.. reason being, is even a company that is doing something wrong, still have people who depend on it for their bread and butter and their families depend on them.
either way, if i really can't stomach the business ethics, i would just find a new job and leave. at the end of the day, you should be able to go to bed with your conscience intact.

that's what i think.
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