Ethical conduct of the personnel is one of the essential aspects of every organization interested in becoming successful in its market and. Over the past decades, businesses gained new responsibilities, including social and environmental ones, and, nowadays, are expected to not only generate profits but also contribute to their communities (Agudelo, Jóhannsdóttir and Davídsdóttir, 2019). This implies that companies have to act extremely carefully when providing services to customers; otherwise, they risk facing severe damage to their reputation. Yet, to ensure that employees behave properly with clients, firms must maintain a high degree of team spirit and mutual support within the organization.
According to Goebel & Weißenberger (2015), companies with strong ethical work climates exhibited a higher level of trust among employees, which eventually positively affected organizational performance. Moreover, the management team plays a significant role in establishing appropriate mechanisms within the organization to encourage ethical conduct and punish those who violate the company’s rules. For example, as noted by Sigmund (2018), honesty as one of the key ethical leadership values correlates with the workers’ satisfaction with their superiors and enables them to report problems faced on the job.
Unfortunately, not all businesses can deploy effective systems and hire supervisors capable of creating positive environments, which ultimately causes many firms to face difficult situations which negatively impact them. This paper focuses on exploring a case which involved unethical behavior on the part of employees of Caesars Palace Hotel in Dubai, where I worked as an assistant restaurant manager. The purpose of this study is to assess the ethical issues inherent to the situation, analyze the response of the management, and propose recommendations on the potential ways to resolve the problem.
An Overview of the Organizational Issue
As it was stated before, the focus of the paper is an ethically problematic situation which occurred in Caesars Palace Hotel in Dubai. Specifically, a group of managers of the hotel’s restaurant continuously demonstrated discrimination towards personnel from India. Their typical behavior with people of this nationality involved a rude tone of voice, pressuring them into working additional hours without extra remuneration, and occasionally belittling their abilities and professionalism.
As an assistant manager at this restaurant, it was one of my tasks to oversee the performance of the staff and advice them on their activity, as well as ensure their well-being. After noticing that the managers’ behavior was consistent, I confronted them about the situation, but they refused to talk to me, saying that they were accountable only to the senior manager. Yet, the latter ignored their behavior and did not make any attempt to raise this issue or tackle it.
When I asked the Indian employees about their thoughts on the situation, they said that it was extremely challenging for them and deeply affected their physical and mental state. Such conduct was unacceptable, but all my attempts to persuade the senior manager to reprimand the managers or remove them from their position did not yield any success. Later, I discovered that they were friends and the senior manager was the one who hired the group and ignored their demeanor despite the fact that it harmed the restaurant’s reputation, profits, and team spirit. Over the period of my work at the restaurant, no measures were taken by the senior manager, and the employees continued to work there.
Ethical Analysis of the Issue
The situation described above is ethically problematic since it concerns the issue of unfair treatment of one group, namely people who came to Dubai from India. According to Lippert-Rasmussen (2017), discrimination constitutes a differential treatment which is disadvantageous to the individuals or a person who is subject to it. Based on this definition, it is clear that the actions of the managers at the restaurant towards the staff from India were different compared to their standard conduct towards people of other ethnicities.
Moreover, they did this on purpose with the intention to cause inconvenience to the personnel and hinder their performance and well-being. Additionally, there are various types of discrimination against people, including based on gender, age, race, and even socio-economic status, which also might be part of the issue (Pantesco et al., 2018). Thus, the situation at hand demonstrates how employees of a restaurant exhibited unethical behavior by discriminating against individuals due to their nationality and ethnicity.
Taking into consideration various types of analytical frameworks which can assist one in explaining ethical problems, the non-consequentialist theory is the most appropriate for the discussed situation. Non-consequentialism implies that whether an act is right or wrong is not determined by its consequences but rather by the features which are inherent to it (Heath, Kaldis, and Marcoux, 2018). In other words, the results of an action do not determine its ethical content since it has its value and can be defined as negative or positive. This has a direct link to the problem of discrimination against the Indian staff since the act of unfair treatment of one particular group of people based on their nationality is unethical in itself.
Under current political circumstances, companies have no moral right to humiliate their personnel, and any kind of unfair treatment must be viewed as unacceptable. Moreover, the United Arab Emirates has strict anti-discrimination laws which prohibit all types of hatred targeted against individuals (Anti-discrimination, 2019). This makes the issue ethically problematic from philosophical, moral, and legal perspectives since the unfair treatment of people should not be tolerated.
The opposite view, the utilitarian one, would consider this situation from the perspective of whether it brought any benefit to the company. In theory, the owners could introduce a policy which would encourage the managers to abuse the employees from India to make them work long hours for low wages. Yet, as it was explained earlier, this perspective is wrong since it contradicts both the modern principles of morality and the law of the United Arab Emirates. Thus, the actions of the managers constituted a serious ethical issue which ultimately had to be addressed by the restaurant’s top management and owners.
Management Analysis of the Organizational Issue
The reaction of the senior manager to the actions of the staff managers was partially described in the previous paragraphs, yet additional details must be covered, and important aspects have to be repeated. The unethical conduct of the employees was essentially ignored by the primary supervisor, who was informed by me about the activity of the workers and his response to my attempt to speak with them. Moreover, on one occasion, when the senior manager was at the restaurant, he saw the situation himself but still chose not to interfere, despite the fact that the staff were openly humiliated. Such lack of proactive measures on the part of the superior can be explained by his unwillingness to engage in a potential conflict with his friends.
Yet, the analysis of his decision must be conducted using a specific ethical framework, and in this case, the consequentialist approach is the most appropriate one. It constitutes that action to be considered effective and ethical has to yield appropriate results (Portmore, 2020). In the restaurant business, the top management’s main task is to ensure that the enterprise generates profit.
Yet, for a restaurant to be successful, it needs to provide value for its stakeholders, especially for the three most important ones, owners, clients, and staff. This requirement was neglected by the supervisor when approaching the problem of unethical behavior of the managers. According to the standard theory of shareholder value maximization, any company must seek to deliver large revenues for their owners (Yan, 2018).
The absence of any actions on the part of the senior manager shows that he did not abide by this principle. He did not confront the managers and did not apologize to the Indian staff, which negatively affected their performance and the quality of services they provided to the clients. This might have potentially discouraged some customers from visiting the restaurant again in the future. This directly impacted the restaurant’s capacity to maximize profits because these clients would not return and probably would recommend their friends against attending the restaurant, too.
Additionally, the manager also did not observe his obligation to maximize value for the employees, as one of the main stakeholders. According to the theory of corporate social responsibility (CSR), nowadays, companies have to be good citizens and commit to pursuing activities which ultimately benefit society and the environment (Wang and Sarkis, 2017). Thus, ensuring that the lower staff members are respected by the managers and are provided with proper working conditions is mandatory for every modern organization. Allowing one group of employees to openly exhibit discrimination against others must be considered an absolute failure on the part of the management to maximize value for the staff.
Recommendations for Resolving the Organisational Issue
Based on the conducted analysis and the notion that the behavior of the managers towards the staff was an unacceptable act of discrimination, several recommendations for the organization can be made. First of all, since the top management of the restaurant ignored the problematic situation, the task to resolve it must be allocated to the owners. They must introduce anti-discrimination training for the staff and especially for the managers who engaged in unethical behavior. According to Seiner (2019), for such training to be effective, it should be conducted regularly, and the commitment to anti-discrimination must always be stressed by the employer.
Employees must realize that any kind of unethical behavior is not welcome in the organization. Additionally, the restaurant’s owners have to implement a mechanism which would allow individuals who face discrimination to report on the incidents. All of these measures must be targeted at achieving the goal of eliminating discrimination and other types of bias in the workplace.
Additional efforts must be made in the sphere of team-building and ensuring better communication among workers of different positions. For example, various activities such as strategic games, role play, sharing experiences, and stories are effective tools for improving employee communication and making workers appreciate their workplace and colleagues (Cletus et al., 2018). Essentially, the restaurant must become a place where workers feel safe and can receive support instead of humiliation and mistreatment.
They just want to return to work every day and engage in their professional activities, which is integral for their performance and the client’s impression of the restaurant. Rawat and Basergekar (2016) discovered that a supportive environment in organizations with minorities resulted in better performance scores. This shows that by building an inclusive environment, companies not only provide appropriate conditions for workers but also derive benefit from it.
Moreover, the restaurant can voice its commitment to corporate social responsibility and introduce a clearly-defined initiative of countering discrimination in the workplace. It was discovered that organizations which possess a corporate culture which promotes a zero-tolerance policy against biased treatment and harassment tend to such behaviors on the part of their employees less often (Hayes, Kaylor, and Oltman, 2020). Establishing and maintaining unequivocal rules of conduct within the organization and announcing this pledge publicly can prevent unwanted incidents from happening in the workplace.
The current study concerns an unethical issue of discrimination based on nationality, which I witnessed when working at a restaurant at Caesars Palace Hotel in Dubai. According to the non-consequentialism approach allows determining that the act of discrimination against other people is inherently unacceptable, morally wrong, and unlawful, and, in this case, consequences have no significance. On the other hand, when analyzing the management’s response to the incidents of discrimination, the consequentialist perspective can be employed. Thus, the senior management’s lack of actions to counter discrimination in the workplace constituted failure on their part to maximize shareholder and stakeholder value.
Namely, the senior manager’s decision not to stop discrimination affected the physical and mental well-being of the Indian employees, which in turn impeded their performance and the quality of services they provide to guests. As a result, the latter might have been disappointed with the experience at the restaurant and chose not to return there again, which reduced the enterprise’s potential revenue. The owners must resolve the issue by implementing anti-discrimination training, ensuring better communication among employees, and creating a supportive environment for all workers.
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