MBA 英文:企業倫理 Ethical Dilemmas|貝塔語測
MBA 英文:企業倫理 Ethical Dilemmas

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Ethical Dilemmas 道德上兩難的困境

There are many situations where a company may find itself in an ethical dilemma, having to choose between doing what is right versus doing what is expedient. For instance, when operating abroad, should workers be paid what is legally required (minimum wage) or be paid what would be considered a more livable wage? Should child labor be used, even if it is legal by local standards? When building a factory, should only local pollution standards be observed, or should the best interests of the local citizens living near the factory be considered? If a product has the potential to be dangerous if used in a certain situation, should this information be disclosed or does it require recalling the product and making the necessary changes, even if this dangerous situation may never materialize? All of these situations involve both legal and ethical considerations. Most companies operate within the rule of law; few operate within a strict code of ethics.


Transparency and Accountability 透明與責信

In order for companies to become more ethical in their business dealings, they need to incorporate the two key principles of transparency and accountability.


● Transparency is about making the decision-making process more open and easier for people outside the company to understand. Many companies still make secretive decisions behind closed doors involving only a few key executives. To most people on the outside (and sometimes inside these organizations) these decisions appear arbitrary since it is difficult to understand how or why they were made. This can create misunderstanding and a sense of mistrust between a company and the public. Transparency needs to start at the top—the Board of Directors. Many boards are still comprised of company insiders who share similar ideas and views. This can lead to groupthink where there are no dissenting opinions, even when questionable decisions are made. This can have dire consequences for the company and its stakeholders. Having a more open board comprised of people from outside the company and industry may help to safeguard against this.

透明 是指讓決策過程更開放,使公司以外的人更容易了解。有很多企業仍然是關起門來祕密決策,只有幾個重要主管熟知內情。對外界(有時候則是這些組織內)的大多數人來說,這些決策儼然是獨斷獨行,因為很難讓人理解它們是怎麼形成的。這會造成公司與民眾間的誤解和不信任。透明需要從最高層的董事會做起。有很多董事會仍然是由公司的內部人士所組成,這些人通常有共同的觀念和看法。這會導致「團體思維」,而沒有反對意見,甚至在形成有問題的決策時亦是如此。這會對公司和它的「利害關係人」造成可怕的後果。讓董事會比較開放,納入公司和產業以外的人士,將有助於預防這點。

● Accountability is about holding individuals responsible for their actions and punishing those who commit illegal or unethical actions. It does not mean finding an easy scapegoat in the organization to place all the blame on, or worst, offering up an insincere apology followed by a symbolic resignation (which actually only results in a change of business cards). Accountability calls for establishing clear standards of behavior and consequences that apply to all employees, regardless of position.

責信 是指個人對本身的作為負責,對於有違法或不道德行為的人則應予以懲罰。這並不意謂在組織裡隨便找個「代罪羔羊」來承擔一切的罪過,或更糟地,只是沒有誠意地致歉,然後「象徵性地」辭職(這樣實際上只是把名片換掉而已)。責信所要求的是為行為與後果訂出明確的標準,而且員工不分職位,一體適用。

Word List 重要字彙

ethical (adj.) 倫理的;道德的 / expedient (adj.) 權宜的 / livable (adj.) 能過日子的 / child labor 童工 / observe (v.) 遵守 / interest (n.) 利益;利害 / materialize (v.) 實現;使具體化 / transparency (n.) 透明(度) / accountability (n.) 責信;當責 / incorporate (v.) 使併入 / arbitrary (adj.) 獨斷獨行的;武斷的 / mistrust (v.) 不信任 / be comprised of ... 由⋯⋯所組成 / dissenting (adj.) 反對的 / dire (adj.) 可怕的;悲慘的 / consequence (n.) 後果 / stakeholder (n.) 利害關係人 / safeguard against ... 預防⋯⋯;防範⋯⋯ / scapegoat (n.) 代罪羔羊 / offer up ... 致上 / insincere (adj.) 缺乏誠意的 / apply to ... 適用於⋯⋯

MBA 觀點

Who Makes Your Products?

Many companies have offshored their production to China and other low cost labor countries in order to save money and increase profits. Unfortunately, labor practices and laws in these places are not as strict as in more developed countries. As such, workers can be paid low wages and made to work long hours in unsafe conditions. In addition, the lack of enforcement of child labor laws makes it easy for these same factories to employ young children and subject them to the same extreme working conditions. The question is—does anyone care? People love their little electronic gadgets and toys, but can’t seem to be bothered by how they are made and by whom. All they know is that they must have the latest cool device made by the hippest company. Companies that reap massive amounts of profit from these practices seem to realize this, which is why few, if any, are inclined to change. Until such time consumers take a more active interest in how a product is made, then companies will continue to push the ethical boundaries. As we often say in business, “Money Talks”.


有很多企業把生產外移到了中國和其他勞動成本低廉的國家,藉以省錢並增加獲利。遺憾的是,這些地方的勞動作業和法令並不像開發程度較高的國家那麼嚴格。如此一來,工人就可能領到低薪,並被迫在不安全的條件下長時間工作。此外,童工法沒有落實也有利於這些工廠雇用幼兒,並要他們待在同樣極端的工作條件下。問題是,有誰在意嗎? 民眾喜愛小巧的電子產品和玩具,但對於它們是怎麼做、由誰做出來的,卻似乎感到無所謂。大家只知道,自己一定要擁有最時髦的公司所做出來最新的酷炫裝置。靠這些所作所為賺進高額利潤的公司儼然深知這點,這就是為何即使有願意改變的人,也是寥寥可數。一直要等到消費者更主動地對產品是如何製作出來的感到興趣,此時企業才會繼續擴展倫理的範疇。就像商場上常說的:「有錢能使鬼推磨。」