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John Rowls in his work “Theory of Justice as Fairness,” suggests managers should imagine themselves as being behind a veil of ignorance, where a manager doesn’t know about themselves or of their abilities. Their sex, nationality, tastes and race are unknown. Behind this veil, everyone is pictured as free, rational and moral. In this position, the only rational choice would be what is fair, because a person who knows nothing about themselves would make a decision that isn’t based on personal gains. Rowls’ beliefs follow closely with Immanuel Kant’s idea of the Liberty Principle, which is at least a universal minimum respect for all. This means everyone is given equal opportunity to basic liberties. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Let’s assume that this basic liberties to all is applied to a cigarette company in the 1950s that knows of the unhealthy effects of cigarettes. Let’s also assume the company relies on canvassers to sell the cigarettes. This company needs to ensure (based on the application of the Liberty Principle) that everyone on staff tells the potential customers of the health effects. If a company is making a decision that affects change in this way, it could be met with much resistance by employees, which it is in the aforementioned situation. In applying the Liberty Principle also to the workers – which would make them a part of the decision-making process – a company can more easily implement a decision in an ethical manner.
A general way to implement a decision effectively in this way is by creating an ethical culture. It should be made clear from the start what the expectations are from each individual in the company. These could include setting out the company’s goals and core organizational values, which could mean placing equal value and liberties on all people and including all employees in developing ideas, as what was suggested by Rowls. < Click Essay Writer to order your essay >
Effectively implementing a decision also requires managers to demonstrate their commitment to following the standards set out. A reduction needs to be made in the rewards for unethical behavior. For example, a cigarette salesman that sells the product for profit shouldn’t be encouraged if he lied about the health effects. Human resources procedures should also be developed for the best implementation. All employees should feel free to communicate with upper management. A board of directors that ensures these standards are met should be formed for best assimilation into the changed environment. This will help ensure employees are on board with the manager’s decision. Managers might single out and neutralize resisters, educate the workers, include all employees in the change process and reward positive employees.
Learning about Rowls’ ideas and lining them up with those of Kant, can help a manager understand the importance of allowing the employee to be able to come to their own ethical decisions (Kant, 1991). As Kant explains, those who have the expectations already written out for them aren’t as willing to comply with those ethics. He said moral decisions must be freely chosen for them to be taken seriously by the person who is making the moral decision.
As Kathryn G. Denhardt explained in “Unearthing the Moral Foundations of Public Administration: Honor, Benevolence, and Justice,” where rules aren’t “clearly applicable, the person with an underdeveloped understanding of general moral principles and underdeveloped capacities of discernment and judgment will be unable to make a good decision,” (Denhardt, 1991). This idea will help managers guide employees who might not have their own moral standards to better understand the reason the change is being made. This could be met with less resistance than if the process wasn’t explained to them.
So before making the decision to tell all potential customers about the health risks of smoking cigarettes, all employees should be made a part of the process. The viewpoints of the company should be made known so that workers without a moral standing will be involved in the decision-making process. This will promote a culture of the Liberty Principle, as described by Rowls, and not only will the company be better able to implement the moral decision of informing potential customers, but they will also gain the approval of the employees. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Denhardt, G. Kathryn (1991). “Unearthing the Moral Foundations of Public Administration:
Honor, Benevolence, and Justice. In Ethical Frontiers in Public Management: Seeking New Strategies for Resolving Ethical Dilemmas, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Kant, Immanuel (1952). Groundwork of the metaphysic of Morals. London, England:
Hutchinson, and imprint of Century Hutchinson.