Does The Milkshake Taste Funny? George Stein, a college student employed for the summer by Eastern Dairy is faced with an ethical dilemma. His co-workers don’t care about proper procedures required in ensuring that the milkshake produced during the shift is hygienic and safe for human consumption. The milkshake that is produced is usually delivered to fast-food restaurants and drive-ins. George had less than a minute to think about his choices and must decide if he is going to remove the filters from the plant’s piping and, thus, allow the current production run of milkshake mix to be contaminated with maggots or refuse to remove the filters, and report the maggot problem to management. Removing the filters will save the company money, at least in the short run, and allow George’s shift to go home on time. George is disturbed, however, by the thought of children drinking those milkshakes. George will behave ethically, refuse to remove the filters, and report the maggot problem to management ? Emotional intelligence: George cares about the quality of the final product and about the effects the contaminated product would have on the health of customers. This is exhibited by George’s thought of kids drinking all of the milkshakes they were about to produce. Whetten and Cameron (2007) state that emotionally intelligent people advance a sense of caring for other people by means of their emotional responses. This is evidenced as George went to the first filter joint, he felt a knot forming in his stomach as he thought of the kids drinking all of the milkshakes they were to produce. ?Good pay: Eastern Dairy wages were over twice the minimum wage George had been paid on previous jobs, and that was one of the main reasons he was interested in the position. George would not want to lose the job with the dairy because he needs the money to start a life together with Cathy. Lindner (1998) asserts that good pay is a key to higher employee motivation. George is motivated by the good pay and would like to keep his job in order to save for the day he and Cathy would start their life together. ?Overtime: With regular wages paid at Eastern Dairy, supplemented by time and one-half for eight hours of guaranteed overtime each week, George thought he could save a tidy sum before he had to return to school at the end of the first week of September. George’s immediate need is money for dating and for his car. Overtime will earn George extra money to cater for his needs. Drawing upon both need-hierarchy and expectancy theories, Latham (2007) contends that pay is important to the extent that it is perceived to be instrumental in satisfying person’s needs, and to the extent that these needs are important to the person. George will act unethically and remove the filters, allowing the maggot to remain in the mix ?George is not a high-achiever. This is shown by his apparent lack of interest to develop his intelligence and ability by going to college even though his parents can afford to support his studies. He was also taking menial jobs for four successive summers, which indicates that he is not up for a challenging job. King (1994) found out that, “high-achieving students assumed dominant roles in the undertaking of group tasks, in group decision making, and in the frequency and quality of contributions to group efforts. ” The findings also suggested that low achievers are generally passive during small-group work. George being a low achiever, he won’t challenge Paul’s decision but go right ahead and do what Paul says. ?Verbal persuasion. George’s parents used verbal persuasion to convince him to go to college. His parents motivated him to continue his education by a simple promise of a blessing to his marriage to Cathy following his sophomore year. According to Bandura (1997), “people who are persuaded verbally that they possess the capabilities to master given tasks are likely to mobilize greater effort and sustain it than if they harbor self-doubts and dwell on personal deficiencies when difficulties arise. ” This shows that Paul will do the same and persuade George on removing the filters. Paul told George that no one will know that they removed the filters, the company will save money and they will go home on time. ?Lack of supervision. George is used to being told what to do. His parents are the ones who persuaded him to go to college. He is still young and in college, not used to making decisions. Employees, no matter their task, must have the proper instruction and training to ensure that they are doing their jobs correctly, and with minimal risk of error or injury. This is also evidenced by the fact that he and Cathy had planned for Cathy to support them with her earnings after they start their life together. Supervision influences groups’ behavior towards task accomplishment. It was only when leaders’ effectiveness at different levels was considered that performance improvement occurred. Although Reich (1994) claimed that organizations are redesigning workplaces and work practices and enhancing workers’ autonomy and responsibility to tap their full potential, he admitted that such changes require organizing self managed groups into teams that strictly share a common vision. George participated in the group’s activities which included story-telling and horseplay. The rest of the night crew would probably agree with Paul and George would do the same as they have always had something in common. ?Age. Ruegger and King (1992) suggested that age is a determining factor in making ethical decisions. They concluded that, “Those students falling in the 40 plus years age group were the most ethical, followed in order by the 31–40 group, the 22–30 group and those of 21 years of age and under. ” George is in his sophomore year and according to Ruegger et al (2004), he is going to make an unethical decision hence he will remove the filters. Lack of Value: The night shift workers lacked value. Value identifies personal standards and moral judgment. When individuals lack moral judgment, they cannot adhere to strict moral conducts at work. Most especially, when they are unsupervised. The night crews supposedly led by Paul were just cutting corners. They did not clean the equipments and pipes at the end of shift. According to Anderson & Aiwa (2008), “functional theories of reputation imply that individuals’ reputations are tied to their history of behavior”. The night crew has been acting unethically by story-telling and horseplay. George also found it being fun being hit by an exploding bag containing five gallons of heavy mix. George never reported any of this to the management and he also joined the crew in the unethical acts. He is going to repeat his unethical behavior by removing the filters and not reporting to the management. ?George is a social person. This is shown by George’s major interests in life which include hanging out at the local teenage gathering place and a drive-in restaurant. He also likes the camaraderie of the night-shift operators and even joined the union at Eastern Dairy. Jones and Kavanagh (1996) assert that individuals are influenced to engage in unethical behaviors by characteristics of the situation as well as by characteristics of the individual. George will make his decision based on what he has shared with the rest of the crew, which includes unethical behavior like playing at work hence he will remove the filters. ?Affection and Acceptance. George loves romance as revealed by his notable interest in Cathy, his girlfriend. George agreed to go back to college after his parents promised to give their blessing to his marriage to Cathy. He respects his parents and values their opinion. This shows his need for ‘affection and acceptance’. Kerns (2003) states that, “Many of us suffer from another key problem – the high need for affection or acceptance. This is known as our affiliative need – to be liked and seen as a really nice person. In this vulnerable space we can become more susceptible to compromise and to bend the rules just to be accepted and liked. ” Due to George’s need for affection and acceptance, he is likely to side with Paul in order to be accepted by the rest of the people in the shift. Conclusion George decided to report the situation to the management because he noticed that the night shift workers were unsupervised, and grossly in-disciplined. They skip all safety and hygienic procedures and attempt to round up the shift early. Because of this selfish and unethical attitude, George decided to take the issue to higher authorities. George’s immediate need is money for dating and for his car. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the money and car are ‘physiological needs’ while dating is a ‘social need’. George is still young and in college with his parents and girlfriend to take care of him even if he takes sides with Paul and looses the job. He has no much need for money except for dating and his car. He has less to lose hence he decided to report the issue to the management. Reference: Anderson, C. , & Shirako, A. 2008. Are Individuals’ Reputations Related To Their History Of Behavior? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(2), 320. Bandura, A. 1997. Self-efficacy: The Exercise of Control (10th Ed. ). Fifth Avenue, NY: W. H. Freeman and Company. Jones, G. E. & Kavanagh, M. J. 1996. An Experimental Examination of the Effects of Individual and Situational Factors on Unethical Behavioral Intentions in the workplace. Journal of Business Ethics, 15(5), 511. Kerns, C. D. 2003. Creating and Sustaining an Ethical Workplace Culture. Journal of Business Ethics of Relevant Information and Analysis, 6(3), 511. King, L. H. 1994. High and Low Achievers’ Perceptions and Cooperative Learning In Two Small Groups. The Elementary School Journal, 93(4), 399-416. Latham, G. P. 2007. Work Motivation: History, Theory, Research and Practice (3rd ed. ). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Lindner, J. A. 1998. Understanding Employee Motivation. Journal of Extension, 36(3). Reich, R. 1994. Leadership and the High Performance Organization. The Journal for Quality and Participation, 17(2), 6. Ruegger, D. & King, E. W. 1992. A study of the Effect of Age and Gender Upon Student Business Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 11(3), 179-186. Whetten, D. A. & Cameron, K. S. 2007. Developing Management Skills (7th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
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