Each day businesses encounter many situations that require employees to make a decision that they feel best fits the company. It is important that companies have a strong code of ethics and that employees will make them with an ethical approach. If decisions makers are susceptible to unethical behavior then they are not only harming themselves, but also the company and everyone involved with the company’s activities. There are several cases where no regard for ethics which resulted in disastrous consequences. These cases where ethics was not used in business decisions ended the careers of many business leaders and bankrupted companies. Worldcom, Tyco, and Enron are a few examples where business leaders did not take ethics into mind in their decision making process. By examining the FILOP framework, and emphasizing the role of moral courage these cases can be avoided by future decision makers.
• Ethics play an important role in making businesses decisions and FILOP is an important tool to aide in these decisions.
• Moral courage is critical to companies when they need to make ethical decisions.
• The Worldcom, Enron, and Madoff cases all exemplify what can happen if ethics are not considered.
FILOP Framework
The FILOP framework can be a helpful method when making a business decision. It can be especially helpful when you have little experience and need a good guide in your decision making process. The FILOP model has five parts that should be considered when making a decision. To start off with the FILOP framework focuses on facts. The facts include who is involved, what could happen, where it is taking place and who it could impact. When one knows the facts of their decision then it could change how they view the entire situation. The next part is the issue at hand. Someone might not be as inclined to make an unethical choice if they think about the impacts first. One example is the Worldcom case where Betty Vinson did not make the right decision if making illegal account adjustments was justified. The third FILOP part is law. It is necessary to consider the law and know that the decision made should follow all legal procedures. In the Bernie Madoff case it was clear that his actions were unethical and not allowed when he lied to investors. Decision makers need make sure they are safe by documenting their actions to prevent any legal problems later. The fourth part is the options available when making a decision. The options are helpful to decision makers as they are alternate methods to a problem. Each option can lead to a different consequence and companies need to make sure they prioritize the ethical choice. The last part of FILOP is principles. Most people have their own set of principles that they follow and therefore depend on them in their decision making process. The leaders in Enron and Worldcom did not follow the FILOP framework as their unethical choices led to the demise of their companies. Decision making requires a strong ethical consideration if the person and company wish to survive in the long run. As seen from several examples when one dismisses ethical standards they risk losing their reputation, family, company, and hurting various others parties.
Moral Courage
A strong sense of moral courage is what it takes to stop or prevent many of these unethical business decisions. Without moral courage many unethical and illegal activities could continue on for years before being noticed. Bernie Madoff was able to run a ponzi scheme for decades and who knows how long he could have extended it for if no one had the courage to investigate. If someone had more moral courage in the early stages of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme it could have been stopped before affecting thousands of people. People need to have the moral courage to stand up to the upper management and point out they not following ethical procedures. This may seem risky to a lower employee, but it will make a large impact on how the business is run. While in the Madoff case moral courage was lacking the Malden Mill case provided a good example of courage. Aaron Feuerstein was able to pay his employees even after the mill burned down and he promised to keep the business in the same town. This took much moral courage as he could have easily kept the money or moved business elsewhere. Feuerstein had much faith in his company and believed that his decision would benefit his employees. Moral courage plays a critical role in business because it is determines the right from the wrong. A company that employs people with strong moral courage will be able to last much longer and be profitable if they are able to make ethical decisions.
Concluding Thoughts
As made clear by the Madoff, Worldcom, and Enron cases using the FILOP framework and understanding the importance of moral courage can mitigate the mistakes in business decisions. The importance of ethics in business decisions is vital for a company’s success. Many of the companies that do not exist today due to their unethical choices could still be around if their employees followed basic ethical procedures. The FILOP framework would have made it clear that their actions were against company policy and could affect many lives. Also, moral courage of employees would have made unethical decisions a greater risk for those committing them. All businesses should consider how they include ethics in their everyday work to prevent the repercussions of unethical choices.