Ethical Dilemma: Participation in Volunteer Activities Case Study
Even though Carolyn Clark was forced by her boss to volunteer her services to the charity program, she ought to realize that there is a need to help the needy in society. Volunteering is not evaluated during employee appraisal but it counts when the conduct of the overall team is assessed. Employees should not wait until they are coerced by their bosses to engage in activities of charity.
Every organization is supposed to engage in some sort of social responsibility. This means that employees should voluntarily offer their time and effort when their managers identify projects that the organization will participate in. Carolyn should therefore understand that even though participation in volunteer activities is not evaluated during appraisal, it is important that employees participate in such kind of programs.
It is indeed an ethical dilemma whether Carolyn should be forced to participate in volunteer activities that are not part of her compulsory formal responsibilities. The roles that she is supposed to perform are spelled out in the employment contract. Activities such as charitable events are not compulsory for employees to participate in.
It is however good for employees to take part in these type of programs since it gives the organization a good reputation and helps the society as well. Darius Harris thought well to decide to engage his organization in an after-school program for disadvantaged children. This program was being conducted in a nearby urban neighborhood and so it required the services of all available volunteers.
Looking at the course which was set to be carried out by Harris and his employees, it is difficult to discourage him from engaging in the program because of his relationship with his subordinates. It is easier to advice Carolyn to participate in volunteer activities so as to benefit the community and organization.
Participation in volunteer activities also adds to the personal achievements of employees since this is noted in recommendation letters. Hence, Carolyn should consider helping Harris because it is an opportunity to help a worthy community project.
In order to make Darius Harris understand why it is wrong to force employees to engage in volunteer activities, the following explanation of job descriptions would be necessary. Behavior of employees at the workplace should be guided by the job description which they should be given when they begin employment. Job description is designed after job analysis is conducted to determine the responsibilities that various positions are supposed to be performing.
It is also job description that is used during the recruitment process so as to attract qualified personnel who can perform the required tasks effectively. Based on this argument, Harris ought to realize that even though he is empowered as a manager, he should avoid having to force employees to participate in charitable activities. Thus, employee volunteer program is just that, a volunteer program.
In the case where a manager forces his subordinates to perform person favors, superior officers should intervene so that this kind of behavior is kept at bay. Employees who suffer the misfortune of having managers who coerce them into performing duties that are not part of their job descriptions should report this to human resource personnel.
Whistleblowing would be a professional approach to the problem since this would enable superiors to intervene in the matter. In the case where Darius Harris forced Carolyn Clark to participate in the after-school program for disadvantaged children which was supposed to be voluntary, intervention by superiors is needed so as to discourage other managers from engaging in similar practices in future.
Disciplining Darius for his forceful acts would humiliate him before his subordinates thus cripple his ability to supervise them in future. The best thing to do would therefore be to tell Darius Harris that the employee volunteer program is just that- a volunteer program.
Even though the company sees volunteerism as an important piece of its campaign to repair its tarnished image, employees must be free to choose whether to volunteer. He should not ask for help with the after-school program from his direct subordinates.
Disciplining Darius Harris would be mandatory so as to send the message that coercing subordinates is not permissible in the organization. It is also unethical for managers to abuse their authority by using appraisals to force employees to do what they want. Employees naturally have a dislike for appraisals especially in challenging environments where mistakes are inevitable.
Some managers take advantage of employees’ dislike for appraisals to coerce them into doing personal work-related favors. This is very unethical given that all personnel have their duties which they are solely responsible for in the organization. Employees in the same rank are unable to coerce their colleagues because they cannot appraise each other.
Managers should also not abuse their power by harassing employees simply because they have the ability to positively or negatively appraise them. The use of appraisals to harass employees into performing personal favors for the boss is therefore unethical. Therefore, Harris would not escape disciplinary action just because he is a manager.
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