Companies’ Technology and Ethical Standards

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Business ethics can be described as the standards and principles that determine conventional conduct in firms. An ethical issue arises whenever one group in pursuit of their goals engages in behaviour that substantially affects the ability of another party to follow its goals. When the outcome is helpful—good or just—we say the conduct is praiseworthy. When; however, the effect is destructive — bad, or unjust—the conduct is unethical. The acceptability of behaviour in business is governed by customers, government regulators, competitors, the public and interest groups, as well as each person’s moral values and principles.

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The use of information technology in society is creating a rather unique set of ethical issues. These issues require the making of new moral choices by companies and have spawned significant implications for its members. Well-publicized occurrences of unethical and unlawful activity— extending from accounting fraud to applying the Internet to steal another individual’s credit-card number, from illusory advertising of food and health products to biased competitive procedures in the computer software industry— reinforce the public’s opinions that ethical standards and the degree of trust in business must be raised.

Technology, even with the extensive bad-mouthing it has faced, can be used to set and manage ethical and guidelines in companies across all boarders. Employee benefits are considered an ethical issue in the business world. Failure to manage employee benefits can land the company into trouble at any given time. Technology has been used to keep accurate records of employees to ensure that all their benefits are considered. The ethical issue of privacy in the workplace has been adequately covered with technology. The access to a company’s vital information can be adequately controlled by storing them in electronic format. This ensures that only authorised personnel are allowed to access such information. Information that requires privacy includes that which is protected by patents as well as copyrighted works. Technology has also been used to detect cases of financial mismanagement, a common ethical issue affecting most companies (Elizabeth and Bridget 359). Accounting software provides accurate information of the use of a company’s financial resources. This has significantly enhanced the detection of irregularities in the use of company resources through providing up to date records of revenues and expenditures of a company. The use of deceiving advertising of food and health products has been on the rampant in the modern market. Technology has, however, been used to manage and confirm the quality of the quality of products in the market. This ensures that the quality that is promised in the advertisement is the same quality that the consumer will get on purchase. Sustainable development is an ethical issue that has caught the attention of various businesses in the world today. This is considered an ethical issue due to its effect of future stakeholders of the company. Some company officials have been accused of running the company solely for their benefit. Technology has, however, been used to ensure sustainable business processes by maximizing the use of resources and minimizing business costs. Automation of activities has significantly enhanced the quality of the products and services and also helped reduce the total production time.

Organizational culture is the fundamental pattern of common assumptions, beliefs and values considered to be the correct way of thinking about and acting on challenges and opportunities encountering the organization. It defines what is relevant and irrelevant in the company. Technology has significantly affected the culture of organisations. Technology is the “window” through which people look at their environment. People’s adaptations are mainly technological, as well as how they interact with any given environment. This depends first of all on the tools they bring to that environment.

An organisation’s culture is manly made up of their beliefs, values and assumptions. Assumptions are the common mental models, the extensive worldviews, that people depend on to guide their perceptions and behaviours. Technology can shape the types of assumptions that a company promotes. Strict use of technology in financial management has helped develop assumptions that it is each workers role to ensure accuracy in their dealings. If anyone does otherwise, the fraudulent activities will eventually be detected.

The use of technology to ensure sustainable business environment creates a competitive culture in the workplace. A significant practical example of a competitive culture is Mattel, Inc. Mattel manufactures Barbie dolls, but its organisational culture is extremely competitive.

Technology has also been seen to create the culture of responsiveness. Nokia Corp. is a leader in the manufacture of cellular telephones. Even with the success, the employees rarely take personal praise for their accomplishments. Other high technology firms have the “me first” culture, a sharp contrast from that of Nokia. Nokia emphasizes discreet collegiality. Technology has also played a substantial role in creating a culture of equality among employees. Through ensuring that the benefits of employees are considered, employees view each other as equals and do not have the urge to look down upon the roles of their colleagues.

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In recent times, the use of technology to perform the roles previously performed by people, has been on the rise. Higher profits generated by new technology have motivated companies to enhance their investment in modern technology. The increased efficiency of these machines has significantly affected the beliefs and values of many companies today. For instance, the substitution of a worker by a machine has created the culture of resistance against new technology. The case of downsizing due the high cost of overheads in the company is a common feature in modern companies. The loss of a job by a colleague creates the fear that many more employees will be faced by the same predicament. The response to such occurrences is an increased resistance to the introduction of new machines in the company.

Technology has enabled people to complete loads of work while away from the workplace. This has significantly contributed to the absence cultures existing in many companies today. Employees may have a shared perception about refraining from regularly scheduled tasks. In one company, personnel assume that sick leave is their entitlement to use, whether or not they are unwell. At another company, sick leave is retained for real sicknesses; people would not consider taking time away from the workplace unless they were seriously sick. In both companies, assumption about requesting for sick leave is ingrained into their culture.

Technology has been used to carry out complex activities requiring high accuracy. This has led to the development of perfectionist culture in most companies. Most companies that have extensive use of technology in their operations have embraced the value of time efficiency. Clearly, use of computers in banks ensures that minimum time is taken to serve each customer.

Technology has enhanced the efficiency of communication between colleagues in the workplace. Every aspect of the organisation requires timely feedback to ensure the smooth flow of activities. Communications technology has, therefore, been effective in creating a culture of enhancing efficiency of activities through feedback (Richard and Hegar 259).

Technology has played a fundamental role in companies of the 21st century. In addition to setting the ethical standards and guidelines of an institution, the use of technology has influenced the culture of companies all over the world. Through technology, positive and negative cultures have been developed. However, the role of technology in the modern workplace cannot be set aside due to the extensive benefits it offers the organisation.

Works Cited

Elizabeth, Reagan and Bridget O’Connor. End-user information systems: Implementing individual and work group technologies (2nd ed.), Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002.

Richard, Hodgetts and Kathryn Hegar. Modern Human Relations at Work, Mason, OH: Cengage Learning, 2011.

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