Procedural Justice: Organizational Ethics Issue Resolution in the
Automotive Manufacturing Industry
Businesses and organizations face difficult ethical decisions daily. With the advent of a global economy, U.S. companies face difficult decisions on how to remain competitive in the new larger global economy. Often organizations face the difficult ethical issue of laying off U.S. workers and outsourcing those jobs to foreign countries. The U.S. manufacturing industry, especially the automobile manufacturers has had a difficult time remaining competitive in the world market. For example, the big three U.S. automobile manufacturers, Dodge, Ford, and General Motors all have had to close plants, layoff employees, and move operations overseas by outsourcing to remain competitive. Outsourcing jobs is a difficult ethical question and issue. However, by following the steps of the procedural justice process which is “a deliberate systematic decision-making process that can help you promote ethical standards of practice and ensure ethical conflicts are appropriately addressed” (Nelson, 2005, p.1, ¶1). Six main steps of the procedural justice process will be discussed as it relates to outsourcing of jobs: (1) Issue clarification, (2) Stakeholder analysis, (3) Values identification, (4) Issue resolution,
(5) Addressing objections, and (6) Resolution implementation.
“What is the specific question or conflict?” (Nelson, 2005, p.3, ¶3). Individuals and organizations must clearly and concisely identify the ethical question that needs to be answered (Nelson, 2005, p.3, ¶3). According to Nelson (2005), involved parties in the process must “agree that an ethical question or that the question has ethical ramifications” (p.3, ¶3). Continuing, Nelson (2005) states failure to agree on a specific ethical question often results in difficulty making a decision or agreement on the response unlikely (p.3, ¶3). Outsourcing of automotive manufacturing jobs has many opponents and proponents. Weiss (2006) states, “the debate gets heated when executives must choose between an action that could profit the company and one that could benefit the welfare of some or all stakeholders” (p.49, ¶6). U.S. automobile manufacturers must decide if outsourcing is an ethical way of remaining competitive and profitable in a global economy. Discussing this with affected parties and identifying the core answer will be critical for success.
“Who are the individuals or programs affected by the ethical question?” (Nelson, 2005, p.3, ¶9). “Ethics issues raise many concerns, including financial concerns” (Nelson, 2005, p.3, ¶9). Various individuals should be consulted, including the financial officer. Along with the financial officer, others who might like to participate in a series of meeting include community representatives, customers, employees, management, union leaders, legal counsel, members of the governing board, and an ethics expert.
By asking questions, each person or group has the opportunity to express ones “value-driven perspective” (Nelson, 2005, p.3, ¶12). During this phase, honest sincere discussions are held with various individuals. Each individual brings and presents a different perspective on the situation. The spectrum is wide on a subject such as outsourcing of jobs. Employees and unions do not want to see the loss of jobs. Local community leaders do not want to see the loss of jobs due to the decrease in tax and revenue base from the corporations and the individual employees. On the other hand the organization is viewing the issue from a financial point of view and believes it will save the organization more in the long-term than the short-term pain of job losses.
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- James Tallant (Author), 2008, Procedural Justice Organizational Ethics Issue Resolution in the Automotive Manufacturing Industry , Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/167471