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Moral Issues Facing Employees

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Case: 10.2: Moral Issues Facing Employees

Identify the moral issues:

George Galatis and George Betancourt, two professional engineers, who went public with documented safety concerns seem to be morally right to third parties outside the organization. But when the same case is viewed from the perspective of ‘obligation to the employer,' the concept of moral duties seems to dissolve into ‘whistle-blowing.' These cases of moral conflicts are not unusual where an employee has to experience diverging ideas, conflicting obligations, and divided loyalties (Moore, Detert, & Mayer, 2012).

Here, for Galatis and Betancourt, the moral conflicts arise between an employee's obligation towards his employer (or the organization) and his responsibility to follow the documented safety concerns. If the employee backs-up the organization by hanging on to the existing procedures and ignoring the safety hazards, he’ll exhibit his loyalty to the employer. And if he aligns his moral duties as a ‘professional engineer,' reports the unsafe procedures or wrongdoing occurring in his job, he'll exhibit his loyalty to his profession, and the whistle blows the employer. Both these issues are conflicting, and many moral theories and considerations will be required to understand which duty he's morally obliged to follow.

Balancing the moral obligation towards the organization or the employer, to co-workers, or colleagues, and the people outside the organization may divide loyalties and create conflicts, and that is what has happened in this case. To resolve such claims of moral conflicts, it is advisable to identify the relevant effects, obligations, and ideals, and then decide where the emphasis should be (Moral Choices facing organizations).

The moral agents:

The moral agents can differentiate right from wrong, not cause any harm, and be accountable for their actions. When Galatis reported Betancourt about the glaring safety problem at Northeast's Millstone No.1 plant, Betancourt became the moral agent because he was the senior engineer whose responsibility was to express his professional judgment. As the issue was reported to other people in the order of seniority, they all became the moral agents, including the HR and NRC.

The effects:

Considering the conflict between both the moral grounds, the impact for both the cases would be the following:

  1. If Galatis and Betancourt had chosen to ignore the unsafe protocols and remain loyal to the company:

The company would continue to violate federal guidelines, save money during the refueling procedure, and become as morally corrupt as their seniors are employers are. This way they'll keep their jobs, maintain a safe position in the company, and earn right credentials.

  1. If they choose to report to NRC:

In the case of whistle-blowing the employer, the effect includes risking their jobs, massive financial risks, and the threat to career. They'll have limited job options because of the previous record of disloyalty towards the company. This way they'll show loyalty to their profession, but not to the organization.

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