February 16, 2015
Developing and implementing a strategic plan is a very difficult course to navigate, there are often many different variables that must be considered that lead to parts of a plan being discarded or altered. Quite possibly the most important of all variables, ethics play a huge role in our everyday lives. There are groups of people in the business world making complex decisions that are all determined by their collective ethical beliefs, the following is a look at how those beliefs can affect the development of a strategic plan.
A business has many masters to serve, there are stakeholders who are expecting profit, the government who expect the business to operate within the boundaries of the law and there is a public, who are expecting a quality product or service at a reasonable price. For a business, it is extremely difficult for them to develop a plan that satisfies all three parties involved, often sacrifices need to be made. Suppose there is a business that is producing a product, they have stakeholders that primarily concerned with turning a profit and the production costs for the product are very high, cutting into the business’s ability to make a profit. The business has an option to switch to cheaper production materials but those new materials could potentially be hazardous to consumers. This is where a decision maker’s ethical compass would come into play, and it is a difficult choice: sacrifice the trust and safety of your customers or risk disappointing the stakeholders and potentially losing your job.
It takes a strong willed person to make the correct ethical choice, especially when someone’s job may depend on it. What I’ve learned over the course of this program is that ethical decisions are never just a black and white decision, there are always shades of gray involved and that can often cloud your judgment. Most times, people understand that their...