This is a discussion reply.
Compare the decision-making styles of the others with your own. Invidualist, altruist, pragmatist and idealist.
Where are your styles complementary, and in what ways do your styles differ? How would you approach working together to make an ethical decision? What strengths and weaknesses of each style should be considered during the decision-making process?
1. Invidualist (mine)
According to McNeil (2016), the culture of individualism in business is experienced by employees who work especially in a small business setting. The culture of individualism in business is developed by these employees when they develop a sense of working on individualism grounds or teamwork as it may be the expectation of their employer. The culture places the top value on matters of being unique. Employees think independently where it is advantageous for them to have recognitions for their attained achievements. Individuals who have the most valuable ideas are given much attention by their employers. However, the style of individualism has its disadvantages as it affects the communication and negotiation style of individuals. It not only affects individuals at their working areas but also, it affects their interpersonal relations (McNeil, 2016).
Hohenberg and Homburg (2016) recognize that how individualistic style affects the way you would negotiate and communicate can be experienced interpersonally during employee communication, written communication and on performance choices and targets. Employee communication is encouraged while working with employees as a team. Teamwork is not well achieved through the style of individualism as all individuals are always striving to out-do each other with motives of being the best performer. Written communication has different forms of reflecting the written message (Hohenberg and Homburg, 2016). An individualistic style can be of bad outcomes not only when a human resource manager is trying to promote team work in an organization but also, when negotiating with a client. As all products and services of a company in an organization must be protected by the organization’s policies and procedures, the individualistic style culture might be exhibited on the written policies and procedures in a manner that these procedures and policies might imply to customers that they should make their own judgments while trying to solve problems for those who are not satisfied. This might send be a bad impression to the customers as it communicated that the company does not really care about the judgments made in case the customers are not satisfied(Hohenberg and Homburg, 2016). Performance targets and choices are affected when employees are expected to create their personal goals of achieving the company’s targets through good performance. Employees might exhibit some of their cultural beliefs with preferences of the style of individualism which might not work well with organizations that are team oriented.
In conclusion, the individualistic style does not only have disadvantages but individuals who work with this style are usually more independent that those of a collectivism culture as they are capable of working under minimal supervision. They are also very innovative when it comes to the development of new ideas and solving problems. On the other hand, the style of individualism does not work well without the style of collectivism. There are instances when both of them need to be balanced as one without the other would send negative implications to colleagues and customers in an organization (McNeil, 2016).
Pragmatists are mainly concerned with the situation at hand, “not with the self or the other” (Weiss, 2014). The pragmatist is motivated by the needs of the moment and potential consequences of a decision in a specific context (Weiss, 2014).
Relative to communication, a pragmatists would focus on the facts. If I were a pragmatist, I would generate a fact-based argument to discuss how I could meet a need. For example, should a manager ask how sales can increase, I would provide a PowerPoint presentation detailing specific areas of the business where we can increase sales the most, regardless of the desires of each business area. It is possible for significant values to be abandoned to achieve certain results (Weiss, 2014). For example, if I was notified that profit margin was decreasing, I would understand the need to decrease operating costs, and would suggesting eliminating erroneous jobs. This suggestion is potentially unethical based on the situation of those employees working the erroneous jobs; perhaps they need this income to survive, or perhaps they have been with the company for 30 years. However for a pragmatist, the priority is the solution, and if there are facts and situational information to justify the action, it should be taken (Weiss, 2014).
Negotiations for a pragmatist would be, in my opinion, the most efficient. They would be fact-based and would eliminate the subjectivity which often surrounds negotiations. For example, at my company we complete “Basis of Estimates” which show historical data used in development of a current proposal. For a pragmatist, these Basis of Estimates would be as factual as possible, and would have factual justification, which would essentially eliminate any possibility of rejection by the customer.
Relative to interpersonal relations, it could be difficult for a pragmatist to form strong relationships in the workplace with both internal and external customers. For the pragmatist, the needs of the moment dictate the importance of self-interest, concern for others, rules, and values (Weiss, 2014). So if another person has a concern about a decision or a different viewpoint, if the pragmatist views it as not in support of “meeting the need of the moment,” they will disregard it and potentially harm a relationship with a coworker. If the pragmatist feels is it most efficient to break a company policy or rule to meet the needs of the moment, they may advocate for that option, potentially creating adversaries along the way or risking their job.
Weiss, J. (2014). Business Ethics: A Stakeholder and Issues Management Approach. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
3. An overview of the idealist communication, negotiation and interpersonal styles.
An idealist is primarily driven by principles and rules (Weiss, 2014). Their communication style will be governed by the rules of the society in which they reside. When communicating with an idealist you should focus on the principles and duties involved in the discussion at hand. They will be most swayed by arguments based on principle than they persuasions based on the greater good, the benefits to be realized or any other relative factor.
Because they are working from a center of doing the right thing based on the principle, the idealist can appear rigid and unrelenting in negotiations. They will focus on what is the right thing to do and will attempt to sway the negotiation on that basis. The ethical idealist should not be confused with the idealist personality type who believes that friendly cooperation is the best way for people to achieve their goals. Reason, relationships, or the desired consequences of an action do not substitute for the idealist’s adherence to principles (Weiss, 2014). Therefore, you should not expect an idealist to seek to negotiate to a win-win resolution when a value is at stake, nor will they be inclined to quid pro quo negotiations if it conflicts a principle or violates a duty.
Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity and are highly ethical in their actions. Because of their focus on principle, they must be true to themselves and others. They are not given to dishonesty or to thinking that the end justifies the means. They have a personal ethic that stresses the inherent goodness of certain natural laws and the simultaneous desire to avoid harm to others. Idealists make decisions in the belief that the right actions will always yield desirable consequences (Forsyth, 1980). This can be frustrating for others to deal with as there is no guarantee that doing the right thing will yield the right result and in business this could be problematic as doing the right thing could wreck havoc on the very people you are trying to serve (Klein, 1998). In the event that you may have to make a deal with the devil to eventually get to a good outcome, the idealist can be seen as standing in the way of progress.
Forsyth, D. (1980) ‘A Taxonomy of Ethical Ideologies’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39 July, 175-184
Klein, S. (1998). Don Quixote and the Problem of Idealism and Realism in Business Ethics. Business Ethics Quarterly, 8(1), 43-63.
Weiss, J. (2014). Business ethics: A stakeholder and issues management approach (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc
4. As an individual, we will make Ethical decisions according to one of four styles, namely; individualism, altruism, pragmatism and idealism. The style of decision-making that I have chosen is Altruism. Altruism is when we act to promote someone else’s welfare, even at a risk or cost to ourselves (Greatergood). Evolutionary scientists speculate that altruism has deep seeded roots in human nature because helping and cooperation promote the survival of our species. Researches have found that as humans we take great pleasure in doing kind deeds for others.
When it comes to ethical business practices, Altruists are primarily concerned with other people. They have the tendency to let go of their own personal security, for the good of others. As an Altruist, I will use moral authority and motivation to produce the most good for the largest amount of people.
However, it is my belief that for an individual to be completely equipped to make ethical decisions, there should be a good balance of all four decision-making styles. A better way of looking at it is to determine who the stakeholders are and where they are coming from. All these styles can be used to influence the various parties involved. You would have to appeal to the values and the general rules of conduct that people have grown up with or have been influenced by. Their moral compasses have been influenced by the culture and environment in which they were raised. It is a matter of the philosophical differences and similarities amongst the stakeholders that would be inlfuenced by the various decision-making styles.
Clear communications and flexibility in accommodating the various ethical styles are very important skills for working effectively with others.
Business Ethics: A Stakeholder and Issues Management Approach by Joseph W. Weiss, 2014
What is Altruism? Greater Good, The Science of a Meaningful Life