As a result of the economic down-turn starting in 2008, efficiency has become more and more the byword of the successful business person. The axioms of the efficiency expert are: "Eliminate what need not be done; simplify what must be done; combine tasks wherever possible."
Putting this into practice means, among other things, eliminating people's jobs. Sometimes it also means making one person do two or three people's jobs. As company's gain the upper hand in employment (when the number of employees wanting good jobs is higher than the number of good (i.e. high paying) jobs available), they will more and more expect employees to be willing to work longer hours and to do accomplish more and varied tasks.
1. Under what circumstances is it ethical business practices to ask employees to multi-task or do more than one person's job?
When I was in the military, I often did many tasks that were outside of the spectrum of my official duties. I was a maintainer (wrench-turner, grease monkey, whatever you want to call it), however I was responsible for things like managing a server computer, standing up a Microsoft Share Point server, and other computer based technical jobs that I had absolutely zero official training to do. I was assigned these tasks because I was the resident "computer guy" who liked the challenge of technical tasks, as well as understood them. I was in this case, the right guy for the job at this point. When I left the base, friends of mine who were still stationed there said they had great difficulties managing the things that I was managing because they had no one qualified or trained to do those tasks. I reminded them, that technically neither was I in those circumstances.
I think when a company (or organization like the military) is going to suffer some sort of loss to sustainability or capability, the organization acts like an organism in a sense that it tries to repair itself or better itself to restore its own capabilities. If...