Business 8 Ethical Issues in Management

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  1. Review the scenario on p, 282 regarding the challenges faced by Citigroup in changing their culture. Do you believe that a company as big as Citi can change their culture? If so, what would it take? If not, why not?
    Barriers: Complacency and attachment to the status quo

    Obstacles: building momentum and confidence so that change can take place; not to proposal a far reaching goal where people become fearful and rather than optimistic

    Change Agents: Create ways to create small wins; build confidence; create momentum, and unify key stakeholders in the belief that change can happen.

    Creating the culture through a robust Human resource management effort. Invest in employee training that will foster the company change efforts. Make sure they do not lose sight of the company they want to become and how they want the employees to identify with company and its new mission. Find ways to eliminate complacency and attachment to the old status quo. Build momentum and confidence so that change can take place. Try not to proposal a farfetched goal where people become fearful rather than optimistic. Create successful small wins, which builds momentum. Unify all key stakeholders in the belief that change can happen. These are ways that Citigroup can create a new culture in their organization, so I agree that a company their size can change.
  2. On p. 284, the texts lists four reasons why managing people is important. What are these reasons and what do you think about them?
    The four reasons why managing people is important (Important) 

    Globalization: The world is flat now and economies around the world are open, so firms have to understand how to communicate effectively with people who come from different cultures and communities

    Sustainable competitive advantage: companies seek to find a competitive advantage, which can be very difficult. They understand that part of a competitive advantage can be copied; however, the best way to differentiate themselves is through management practices. This is mostly because of distinct approaches that managers within one company will approach it. This is not easily imitated.

    Decentralization: firms are becoming less hierarchical in nature and employees are left on the frontlines to promote the brand. Employees in making decisions have to make them without asking the superiors, so firms have to find ways to train, educate, and support workers so they can make optimal decisions for the firm

    Knowledge and information: in the global economy, knowledge is power. It’s an advantage for a company to have the ability share information across management systems in the organization

    I think these are very important reason on managing people. This is a reality and not getting it right could cause a firm to lose some very talented and value people.
  3. On p. 284, the text describes managing with and without ethics. Describe the two scenarios.
    Managing without ethics is about getting the stakeholders to do what the firm wants them to do in order to maximize the profits of the firm. Tangible resources and human resources are used in the same manner to increase the firms bottom-line.. bonuses and promotions, layoffs and pay reductions are all of little concerns as long as the firm can get the desired outcome

    Managing with ethics is putting the employees at the center. The way managers manage people are complex, so managers are required to have a better understanding in order to get the best results. Creating the culture to get employees to understand the value proposition and getting them motivated to put together their best efforts to work with the coworkers. Treating employees like human beings and not just another resource of the firm can yield the optimal results. Getting the employees and processes right to support the value proposition will allow the firm to deliver its value to stakeholders and customers
  4. P. 286 describes Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs.” What does this have to do with management?
    Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is basically research based on what motivates people. He uses a pyramid approach to explain what level an individual is regarding what is important to that individual at a particular time. It starts from bottom as the basic needs of an individual, safety, food, air, and water. As you go up the ladder, the needs are more conceptual like respect from peers and self-esteem. One cannot fulfill these needs without taking care of the basic needs

    This theory has a lot to do with how managers could understand how to relate to employees in an organization. It relates to the assumptions about human nature and what it takes to get the work done
  5. On pp. 288-289, the text describes the challenges around motivation of employees and describes two theories to describe motivation: the needs theory and the equity theory. Describe these theories
    Needs theory is about understanding the motivation of people. There are two views on this that are similar in theory but have a subtle difference in opinion. Maslow’s theory focuses on the need of people in a chronological manner that one need can’t be satisfied without the other. In contrast, alderfer believes that the motivation needs of people can be influenced at any given time. Understanding the needs theory is to know that people behaviors are complex and managers can use this theory to better understand the human needs of an employee.. (you can’t be effective as an employee unless your basic needs are meant).

    Equity theory: states that it is more than taking care of the basic human needs of an employee. Equity theory is about how the employee perceives the fairness of the employer. Is the employer equitable in the rewards and how people are genuinely treated are more of the concerns of the employee. Fairness is the premise of equity theory ( fairness, example… one employee may have an easier account than others.)
  6. P. 293 describes the work of Tuckman and five phases that groups go through in their development: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Describe these stages. What are some examples of these stages? (Skip not tested)
    Tuckman’s worked is best used as a reference point in understanding and interpreting the experience of real teams rather what a team does. There are 5 stages to Tuckman’s work:

    Forming: Groups are first put together and they are learning the parameters of what they can and cannot do within the group and the different modes of interacting among each other. Once this stage is complete people start to assert their personality, style, and preferences in the process of conflict.

    Storming: this follows the group’s conflicts and the group struggles to find a new equilibrium

    Norms: to get through the storming, the group as to find a new set of norms that allow people to get along and the group to accomplish its objectives. The new norms can become morally problematic

    Performing: once in the performing stages, the group is able to focus on working together in productive ways, where each member takes responsibility for different task

    Adjourning: refers to the breakup of he team once its work is complete. Not a simple process; however, frequent disputes are about how to interpret what the team did, who deserves recognition or blame for specific outcomes and how to make sense of the accomplishments

    Examples of these stages can come from how teams in sports may blame specific outcomes to why they may have won or lost a game. On the job, there are countless situations, especially in sales where teams are developed to accomplish a goal and now that I have eyes now to be able to interpret the stages, you can see them
  7. Describe figure 8.1 on p. 296 related to change management.
    This figure is a process that managers can use as a guideline to manage change within an organization. It’s an eight step process and it involves the first step in creating a sense of urgency in. second, creating the guidelines, third, developing the vision and strategy, fourth, communicating the change vision, fifth, empowering broad based action, Six, generating short term wins, Seven, consolidating gains and producing more change, eight, anchoring new approaches in the culture
  8. On pages 298-299, the text describes the challenges for companies in attracting and keeping a diverse employee base. What are the key issues? What are the challenges?
    Key issues

    The workplace has evolved over the years.. Global societies are open; employees and firms have greater risk.


    Critics argue that diversity in the workplace is another form of discrimination; hiring minorities just for the sake of minorities

    Critics argue that diversity in the workplace is another form of discrimination; hiring minorities just for the sake of minorities

    Introducing new diversity initiatives, unless carefully organized, can slow processes and impede cooperation

    All members of the organization may not embrace diversity initiatives, which can create conflict in the firm

    If firms what to stay competitive, they need to create the environment for the diversity of employees
  9. Describe the principles for action described on pages 302-303. Do you think they are helpful? Why or why not? Talked about in class. May be on test
    Principles of action describes what managers need to do go beyond one size fits all formula and look at the distinct needs of the firm and build HRM systems that will make it work
  10. What is management and what are some of the core reasons why managing people is important
    What is management?

     Management is the art of creating communities where the value proposition of the firm inspires individuals who then put forth their best effort with their peers.

    Reasons why managing people is important  

    Globalization: the emergence of globalization has meant that firms have to understand and communicate effectively with a wide array of people, cultures, and communities

    Sustainable competitive Advantage: management practice stand out as one area where companies can differentiate themselves

    Decentralization: Along with globalization, work environments are becoming less hierarchical and decisions making is being pushed to the front line for the organization

    Knowledge and information: Knowledge is power in the global economy and the ability to create and share information with in the network of firm is critical
  11. Berkshire Hathaway Code of Conduct

    What do you think of this code of conduct?       Is it different from others that you have seen? Why or why not?
    I think the code of conduct is straight forward and covers what is expected of company directors, executives, managers, and employees of the firm. Clearly states that unethical activity will not be tolerated. It also covers how to report unethical behavior. There is not excuse for not knowing, because they state if you think it may be, then it most likely is; however, you can always consult your manager or other staff members if you aren’t getting the response you want. 

    To be honest, I have not paid attention to code of conduct of companies I worked for. I just wouldn’t do anything that would be considered unethical. However, this class has changed my thinking. I want to start a business and having something in place that covers the code of conduct is imperative.
  12. Do you think having a code of conduct like this helps?

    Berkshire Hathaway code of conduct
    Absolutely, I believe the code of conduct works for an organization’s members to have an understanding of what is expected of them and their peers.
  13. Berkshire Hathaway code of conduct

    What more is needed?
    I am not sure much more is needed. Berkshire Hathaway has only been in the news once for misconduct from my understanding, so it is probably working well. You can have a code of conduct written down, but if the leadership of the corporation isn’t leading in that manner, then the code of conduct will not matter.
  14. Birkshire Hathaway Code of Ethics

    What, if anything, would you change regarding this code of conduct?
    I wouldn’t change anything about this code of conduct letter. However, as I mentioned, it is up to the leadership of the company to set the example of how important ethical behavior is to the principals of the firm. If an unique situation comes up, then it should be incorporated into the code of conduct
  15. Brandeis Reading on Affirmative ActionHow does the reading define affirmative action? Be able to explain the pros and cons on affirmative action and take a stance
    Is the action to of taking a positive steps to increase the representation of women, and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded.. When the selection is based on race, gender, and ethnicity.
  16. Brandeis Reading on Affirmative Action

    What is the significance of the Bakke Supreme Court decision?
    The significance of the decision allowed the university of California to continue to use the program, but prohibited the use of quotas. T o ensure that providing greater opportunities for minorities did not come at the expense of the rights of the majority, therefore affirmative action was unfair if it led to reverse discrimination.
  17. Brandeis Reading on Affirmative Action

    What do you think of the Brandeis “diversity statement” that accompanies the school’s mission statement?
    I think this creates a rich diverse education and culture for the students at Brandeis. It will make them better equip for the real world. Having that diversity in your educational experience definitely has it advantages. The diversity statement embraced the different religion, ethnicity, and cultures.
  18. Describe the Hopwood case
    This case was about Cheryl Hopwood, a white woman, who applied to the university of Texas law school and was denied, although, having better test scores than the minority students that were accepted into the program. She and three of white male students who also tested better than the other minority students that were accepted sued the university and won the case.
  19. Describe California’s Proposition 209 and Washington State’s Initiative 200
    California and Washington became two states that enacted a state ban on all forms of affirmative action stating… An act relating to prohibiting government entities from discriminating or granting preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.
  20. Describe the Supreme Court Decisions: Grutter Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger
    The courts upheld the University of Michigan law school policy stating that race could be a factor in admitting students, but they had to modify the point system they were using
  21. Describe the arguments on both sides of affirmative action as described in the reading.
    Pro Affirmative Action 

    > The colorblind ideal has not been achieved yet

    >Affirmative action can help to offset such discrimination in college admissions

    >Diversity on campus is beneficial to all students

    >Others point to studies suggesting a very small impact on the rate of white admissions.

    Against Affirmative Action

    >Does not work – and causes harm

    >Leads to “Reverse discrimination

    >Admitting students who do not meet merit standards hurts those students

    > Nurtures a “culture of victimization
  22. Justice Dept. Press Release on Countrywide Financial

    What are the key facts of the case?
    Key facts:

    >  Discriminating against African Americans and Hispanics that were qualified for prime loan, but force into a subprime loans

    > Charging them higher loan rates and fees based on their race

    > Department of Justice imposed charges for compensation for discriminated burrowers

    > The actions of Countrywide has harmed communities, families, and contributed to the financial crisis
  23. Do you think what Countrywide did was widespread or an isolated incident?
    I believe this was a widespread practice in the United States. This has been a known issue for many years. It has been difficult for minorities to even get a FHA loan compared to non minorities.
  24. What are the factors that might lead to a company engaging in this type of activity?
    Some factors that could lead a company to practice this unethical behavior are firms not having internal processes for checks and balances, not having the right culture, lenders wanting to pat their pockets with higher fees and loan rates
  25. What steps could a company take to mitigate the risk of this taking place?
    Companies can put together codes of conduct and build a culture that abides by the rules and regulations of the doctrine. Make employees feel comfortable by allowing them to report misconduct. Basically, train the employees in the importance of corporate social responsibility and what it means to be an ethical institution
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Business 8 Ethical Issues in Management
Midterm Exam Business Ethics
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