When Good People Do Bad Things At Work Philosophy Essay

The document discusses the situation where the good people do bad things at work. But all the corporate misdeeds are not done by the bad peoples only. In reality, a large number of unethical acts in business are the result of foibles and failings rather than selfishness and greed. Put in certain kinds of situations, good people inadvertently do bad things. In this document we are going to discuss the situational factors that keep people from doing their best at work and eliminate them whenever we can.


Ethics and Morality are used interchangeably exchange. Ethics is derived from a Greek word Ethikos which in turn means ethos-customary way of acting means the character or custom of a people.

(pg 27 business ethics by Dr. B.H. Agalgatti and prof. S. Krishna)

“Ethics is the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group. It is the study of morality.”

Business ethics is a type of applied ethics that examine the ethical problems that arise in business surroundings. It affects all feature of business not only that it is also relevant to the behaviour of individuals in the business organization.

Applied ethics is a branch of ethics which deals in many fields such as law, Medical, technical, and business ethics.

In twenty first century the demand for ethical business and action is increasing rapidly due to increasingly focused market places.

Simultaneously, pressure is increasing on industry to improve business ethics by the way of new public steps and laws for example in UK higher emission vehicle owner pay higher tax for their vehicles.

Businesses can maybe achieve short-term gains and profits by acting unethically but these types of behaviours always lead to the ultimate damage to economy over time.

There are two types of business ethics

Normative discipline.

Descriptive discipline.

In corporate practice and a career specialization/ development, this field is used as normative discipline while in academia descriptive discipline approaches are mostly used.

During the 1980s and 1990s the interest in ethics field increased rapidly, within both normative and descriptive discipline of ethics. For example, these days most of the

Major corporate websites lay emphasis to promote non-economic social Values such as ethics codes, social responsibility charters and etc.

In some cases, some corporations for example BP’s “beyond petroleum” environmental tilt has redefined his core values of working according to the business ethics consideration.

Ethics is all about examining the moral standards of the peoples of a society, and how these standards affects our lives while living in the society and whether there are standards reasonable or unreasonable or that they are supported by good reasons or bad reasons.

Why ethics is important in business?

Ethics in important in business to achieve the goodwill of the society and community to increase the duration and the business life of an organization to produce safe and effective products to provide excellent service & Maintain customers and to develop and maintain strong employee relations in the organization.

There are many rules for ethics but some main rules of ethics are

1. The golden rule “Treat others as you want to be treated”

2. The common principles and religion.

3. The common good: “the greatest possible good for the greatest possible number of individuals”.

4. Universalization: “What may happen if all people do that action?”

5. Declaration: “Can you declare this action?”

Characteristics of Business Ethics:

In business ethics Ethical decisions disagree with personal views or outlook of different persons and peoples. Each person views about the ethical question in terms there frame of reference are entirely different from his or her vies. And every person in the world has its own unique value system for ethical decision. Ethical decisions not only affect the person but it also affects the wide range of situations around him as well. Similarly unethical decisions do not end on itself it have very extensive affect on the peoples around you. Most of ethical decisions involve two affects such as cost incurred and benefits received on it. We can say that Cost and benefits are the one end of spectrum while, profits and social responsibilities are different end of a single spectrum. Everything cannot be maximized simultaneously because most of result s of the ethical or unethical decisions is not clear they are vague. Every person in his life is personally responsible for the ethical decision or any unethical decision and action that he or she takes in his life. Because no one else rather than he or she can be responsible for this. Person’s individual unique value system along with his moral standards is necessary for taking an ethical decision it is not possible without it.

Ethical decisions are entirely human voluntary actions so a person cannot escape from his liability which arises due to his decision or in affect of benefits he received.

By Dr Charles Kirke Lecturer of Human Factors Integration Centre for Human Systems Engineering Systems Department Cranfield University Defence Academy of the United Kingdom Shrivenham.

When I do well, I feel good; when I do badly, I feel bad. That my religion (Abraham Lincoln)

In this assignment I am going to discuss some of the main situational factors due to which good people inadvertently do bad things at work such as scripts, distraction and moral exclusion.

Problem No.1: Scripts

There has been growing interest within several subfields of psychology. One simple form of schema is the script, embodying knowledge of stereotyped event sequences.

It can also be defined as the repetition of daily routine activities by the way of memorizing them. In this kind of activities people usually avoid to think because of these are their daily routines activities and they do not need to think about that. Every person in the world has the limited capacity for work either physical or mental.

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One of the most common examples of saving mental energy is that if any employee goes to the lunch room and ask attendant to please give his lunch quickly and not ask him to give the lunch quickly because he needs to go in a meeting.

In this article the writer mention that is an employee wants to make a copy so he don’t need to disclose the reason for that to the office boy so he can save his mental energy for some important jobs.

Mostly scripts are compared with the concept of habits, roles and games.

The suggested theoretic function of the script concept is to unify central notions in learning, developmental, clinical, social, and cognitive psychology.

Scripts play a double role in psychology. There are two types of scripts. Scripts in understanding and scripts in behaviour of the peoples.

There are three conditions which seems necessary for scripted behaviour to occur. Such as

First, the individual must have a stable cognitive representation of the particular script.

Second, an evoking context for the script must be presented.

Third, the individual must enter the script. This third is the critical condition at the gap between

Cognition and behaviour. It is assumed that script entry is contingent upon satisfaction of an action

Rule attached to the script representation.


The Ordering Sequence


Action Done

A MTRANS signal to B

B PTRANS W to table

A MTRANS “need menu”to B

B PTRANS B to menu

B ATRANS menu to B

B PTRANS W to table

B ATRANS menu to A

A MTRANS food list to mind

A MBUILD choice of Food C

A MTHANS signal to B

B PTRANS B to table

A MTRANS “I want C”to B



D DO (prepare C script)

A asks for the menu

B brings the menu

A decides what to order

A tells B

B tells D

Note. A = customer, B = waiter, C = food, and D = cook; MTRANS = mental transfer, or telling; PTRANS = physical transfer, or the moving of an object or person; ATRANS = abstract transfer, or the giving of an object from someone to someone else; and MBUILD = thinking (roughly speaking).

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Every organization is making rules and regulation for ideal situation. But when this system collapses every person in any organization including good peoples behaves in bad way. It is general phenomena that good peoples can make mistakes accidently not intestinally and therefore we can say that repetitive work can force good peoples to make mistakes. This world is not ideal place to live in people’s changes in the world according to the situations and the circumstances around them. That’s why if we want to minimise this script problem at job or work place we should use the principal of internal control such as job rotation that means one should not remain on job at one place for longer time that plays an important role in to solve the problem of script.

Always do right this will gratify some and astonish the rest….

Problem No.2: Distraction

What is distraction? Distraction is the diversion of attention of an individual or group from the chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction.

It is the act of distracting or the condition of being distracted. It can also be an extreme mental or emotional disturbance. Distractions are a common occurrence in all of our lives, both at home and at work. But if distractions occur in a critical phase of our work, they can have disastrous consequences. Psychologists have identified distraction as the number one cause of forgetting. We humans are always thinking ahead, both consciously and subconsciously. For example, if we are distracted to the point of interruption during the performance of a task or procedure, when we return to the job, we often think we are further ahead than we actually are. This is a natural tendency which occurs frequently. In addition to distraction, if other factors are present such as fatigue and stress, then the likelihood of an error occurring will be increased.

All distractions cause us as individuals to shift from the rational state to the emotional state of mind.

So how to solve the problem of distraction at work for having a distraction free work place. According to a study by BOST (Buffalo Organization for Social and Technological Innovation), across all business units and job types, the workplace quality that has the strongest effect on individual and team performance is the ability to do distraction free solo work.

Fortunately, there are many ways to solve the problem of distraction at work so that you can work at your best. It can be started by asking some questions to yourself such as what is your work place what kind of work you do and what is your own behaviour at the work.

Workplace. It can be defined as hoe many customers came at your work place every day how big your working area is do you have enough space for the customers, employees and for yourself do you have proper facilities and working condition at work is all the equipments are working properly by using some of these factors you can define your work place.

Work Processes. This can be defined as do you spend a lot of time on internet or more on files or papers are you happy from your job do you make a task list for your daily task like using task saving devices such as palm have you got excess to the all of contacts numbers and materials which are required by you.

Work Behaviour. This can be defined as are you arriving to your work place on time, or more of the time you come late on job is there is any special reason for that or its your habit are others causing you to be consistently late.

Finally the thing is that don’t belief that multitasking allows you to get more work done. A report from the American Psychology Association shows that even multitasking seems efficient in doing the work done but actually it takes more time than actual in long run.

A worker as productive as we don’t want to be? You have owners who moves and compete who you work for and do not mind? There is less distraction to deal with there, so more power is likely to be. You work to learn job related distractions that effect productivity.

Do you have any home or domestic problems or dispute? If you have so you should leave them outside of your job does it looks smarter to put them in office. If you are unable to do this than your management give you a free advice that you should stay out of the doors of the office.

Or if you are disturbed by your house owner or if your boss yells at you and you become anxious consequently focus on caring on you while impending the ability to put their duties are expected. Obligation of supervisors is valuable not just a few number that a real human values to treat employees at contributor. You stay motivated at work with a very little activity. Your payment or you inability to rise or promotion even if they are dissatisfied that you are doing well. The reward to all companies relies on good employees. There is a wave of layoffs coming where they work being laid off on you when you look and focus to put the thought. When you work you are being let go to reduce their cost and seek other work may focus on the threat.

You work on work related distractions that affect productivity what is learned.

By using some of these techniques we can avoid maximum distraction at work and save the people from elimination.

Problem No.3: Moral Exclusion

Moral exclusion occurs when individuals or groups are perceived as outside the boundary in which moral values, rules, and considerations of fairness apply. Those who are morally excluded are perceived as nonentities, expendable, or undeserving. Consequently, harming or exploiting them appears to be appropriate, acceptable, or just. This broad definition encompasses both severe and mild forms of moral exclusion, from genocide to discrimination. Due to justifications and rationalizations structural and direct violence occur. Morals are the norms, rights, entitlements, obligations, responsibilities, and duties that shape our sense of justice and guide our behaviour with others (Deutsch, 1985).

The peoples who are out of our scope of justice are such as strangers and enemies.

They are morally excluded because of many factors such as Gender, ethnicity, religious identity, age, mental capacity, sexual orientation, and political affiliation. These can be the factors for moral exclusion or we can say that this is the criteria used to define moral exclusion.

Sometimes good peoples change their attitude which will not be liked by the other peoples. For example in the case of war people of one country do not tolerate the people of other country at any cost because at that time they are morally exclude from them. In past women are not treated like as the same as man because people thinks that they are worth less they are nothing and they morally exclude them due to their gender but now women are such as man are they are working with them at any level.

Sometimes moral attitude is treated different from one person to another ethical culture of one department can be different from another department even in the same organization. As an employee of mcdonals I have face this moral exclusion just because of our boss appreciate girls more than boys just because of their gender not for their hard work. Due to this every single day number of male workers is getting less because he is creating many problems for them because our boss has morally excluded male workers.

Psychological Bases for Moral Exclusion:

There are many physiological bases for moral exclusion it can be defined as the tendency to exclude people due to.

1. Social categorization.

2. Evaluative judgments.

3. Fundamental attribution error.

4. Self-serving biases.

5. Zero sum thinking.

6. Attributive projection.

7. Just world thinking.

Dimensions of Moral Exclusion

Moral exclusion can be in many forms such as violence but it can be described on three dimensions as well. Such as

1) Intensity

2) Degree of engagement

3) Extent

Therefore moral exclusion has a big impact on good peoples to do bad things at work because if you morally exclude someone you always try to get rid of him it does not matter how good he is you don’t like him because you have morally exclude him.



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