All businesses strive to be effective and efficient. Whilst the hallmark of a capitalist economy is self-interest and competition, cooperation is also necessary in order to further efficiency and productivity. For a business to be successful, the people within need to develop relationships amongst each other as well as outside the organization in order to be able to work with one another. These relationships are a function of trust. Trust is the reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing. Therefore building trust is a vital step towards maintaining and promoting business efficiency. However, in terms of business ethics, the sole purpose of the use of trust is to promote business efficiency.
Customers and the community put trust in businesses and their methods by buying their products. Businesses trust fiduciaries that act for them by working with them to acquire their expertise. Even within a business there is trust in the form of employee-employer relationships. For example, employees trust that they will receive compensation for their work after certain time intervals or after producing certain units of outputs. If there is a lack of trust, these relationships will disintegrate and business efficiency will be reduced. However, trust in business can be used as a manipulative tool by managers and employers to get more out of their workers. Managers may sometimes “empower” one of their employees as a gift of ‘trust’ only to give them more responsibility than they can chew as a setup for blaming them which is not really under their control. This form of trust is ‘phony’ and negative.
Anita Superson supports the idea of the need for solid employer-employee relationships in the workplace. “The employee has the right to know about the health and safety hazards within the workplace” . An employee that is exposed to harmful and toxic substances in the workplace despite the employer’s knowledge of these conditions is being betrayed by his employer. There is no code that states that employers must disclose the working conditions of the workplace, but failure to inform an employee about hazardous working environments is to deny him information that may affect his decision to stay on the job. This is unethical, and even in a capitalist economy where self interest and profitability is important, this is not the most efficient way for a business to be run. This creates a lack of trust in the workplace between employees and employers and such an environment is bound to lower productivity in the long run which in turn lowers business efficiency. Conversely, it can be assumed that establishing an environment for trust within the workplace, so that the relationship between employers and employees is strong and that employees are more aware of their environment means that workers will be more comfortable in their workplace. This will have a positive effect and result in greater productivity and efficiency.
Joanne Ciulla furthers this argument by referring to work as a “token of grace and the means of salvation”. Workers identify themselves through their work. During the Renaissance, workers worked diligently because it provided them with a way to get a better life, respect and satisfaction . These qualities can be seen in workers today as well. Because workers see work as an important part of their life and workers value trust in their relationships outside of work, they also value trust within the workplace. According to Solomon, executives are most effective and successful when they retain their ‘real life’ view of themselves, their position, and the human world outside as well as inside the corporation . Therefore maintaining an atmosphere of trust within a business is essential in order to create a better working environment that will increase efficiency.
John Orlando also provides evidence for the use of trust solely to promote business efficiency in a capitalist economy. According to Orlando,...
Bibliography: Solomon, Robert C. and Flores, Fernando "Building Trust." Honest Work: 91-94.
Superson, Anita A. "The Employer-Employee Relationship and the Right to Know." Honest Work: 26-29.
Ciulla, Joanne B. "From Curse to Calling: A short History of the Meaning of Work." Honest Work: 5-9.
Orlando, John. "The Ethics of Corporate Downsizing." Honest Work: 30-33.
Solomon, Robert C. "Why Ethics?" Honest Work: 136-138.
Bok, Sissela. "Defining Secrecy – Some Crucial Distinctions." Honest Work: 72-75.
Solomon, Robert C. "Is It Ever Right to Lie?" Honest Work: 69-72.
Boatright, John R. "Finance Ethics" Honest Work: 169-175.
Bok, Sissela. "Whistleblowing and Professional Responsibility." Honest Work: 398-402.
Moore, Jennifer. "What is Really Unethical About Insider Trading." Honest Work: 176-183.
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