Preparing for a Professional Career Assignment

Impact of working conditions on employee well-being and corporate ethics in the UK, with insights into codes of conduct and professional support.

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8 Pages 2092Words

Preparing for a Professional Career Assignment

Part 1. Report

Introduction

In the context of labour rights and corporate social responsibility, the working conditions in the United Kingdom (UK) have emerged as a significant ethical concern. The treatment of employees, their safety, and the overall work environment are crucial aspects that impact the well-being and dignity of workers (Ravalier, 2021). This issue is of utmost importance considering the potential consequences on the physical and mental health of individuals, as well as their overall quality of life. In this report, we will delve into the current state of working conditions in the UK, exploring the challenges faced by workers and assessing the ethical implications of such conditions.

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Introduce and define the chosen issue

The chosen topic, UK working conditions, relates to the conditions and setting in which people perform their work. It includes a number of things, including job security, fair pay, a suitable workweek, and the general well-being of employees (ILO, 2022). Around 3.6 million employees in the UK have reported experiencing hazardous circumstances at work, including exposure to toxic chemicals and excessive job-related stress, according to a survey done by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) in 2020 (Congress ,Trades Union , 2023). Employees' general job happiness and productivity may suffer as a result of these circumstances, as well as their physical and mental health. Some businesses have acted proactively to support advantageous aspects of working circumstances in response to these worries. For instance, the ethical sourcing of its products and dedication to fair trade practises have earned apparel brand Patagonia praise. Through routine audits and adherence to labour regulations, the firm makes sure that both its workers and suppliers have safe and healthy working conditions (Patagonia, 2023). Contrarily, some businesses support the unfavourable aspects of working circumstances. For instance, Amazon has come under fire for how it treats warehouse employees. Unrealistic productivity expectations, short breaks, and demanding work schedules have all been addressed in reports (Limited,Guardian News & Media , 2023).

Explain the code of conduct that assists in resolving/addressing the issue

The commitment of Patagonia, a clothing store dedicated to fair trade principles and ethical sourcing, to provide secure and wholesome working conditions for its personnel and vendors is emphasised in the company's code of conduct. The firm requires its suppliers to adhere to regional labour, health, and safety laws and regulations, as stated in Patagonia's Code of Conduct (Patagonia, 2023). This involves making sure there are no risks at work, paying fairly, and protecting the rights of employees. When it comes to add ressing the moral concern of working circumstances, the code of conduct is essential. It ensures that both employers and workers perform in an ethical and professional way by outlining clear expectations and norms for both parties. Patagonia's code of conduct underlines the value of employee wellbeing and emphasises the need to foster a good work environment by specifically articulating the company's commitment to safe and healthy working conditions. It offers a framework for moral decision-making and aids in fostering an environment of respect and accountability inside the company. Research and industry recognition attest to the efficiency of Patagonia's code of conduct in tackling the moral dilemma of working circumstances.

Discuss the support and guidance

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is one instance of a professional organisation that may assist businesses with the moral dilemma of working conditions in the UK. The HSE is the nation's independent watchdog for occupational health and safety in the UK. To ensure that health and safety laws are followed by businesses, they offer direction, assistance, and advice. This includes managing working conditions. The HSE provides a variety of tools and publications with comprehensive information on reducing workplace hazards and fostering a healthy work environment. For instance, its "Managing for Health and Safety" guide provides companies with useful guidance on establishing a secure and healthy workplace (HSE, 2023). They also give access to resources, case studies, and training programmes that assist businesses grow. Working with professional bodies like the HSE benefits companies in several ways like:

  • Ensures legal compliance
  • Reduces the risk of costly penalties
  • Companies can enhance their reputation by demonstrating a commitment to the well-being and safety of their workforce
  • Companies can improve overall productivity and efficiency (Javed,Badar , 2023)
  • By collaborating with professional bodies like the HSE, companies can tap into valuable expertise and resources that enable them to address the ethical issue of working conditions and create safer and healthier workplaces.

Assessment of the likely impact both the support and codes of conduct

Positive Outcomes Negative Consequences
Improved Employee Well-being: Implementing codes of conduct and following professional body advice can lead to improved working conditions, ensuring the physical and mental well-being of employees (Danna, 2019). Detrimental Work Environment: Ignoring codes of conduct and disregarding professional body advice can lead to increased employee stress, low morale, and decreased productivity (Rasool, 2021)
Enhanced Reputation and Stakeholder Trust: When companies uphold ethical standards and adhere to codes of conduct, they build a positive reputation and gain the trust of stakeholders, including customers, investors, and employees (Danna, 2019). Reputation Damage: Ignoring codes of conduct and professional body advice can lead to reputational damage.
Legal Compliance and Risk Mitigation: Following codes of conduct and professional body guidance ensures legal compliance with health and safety regulations (Alli, 2008). Legal Consequences: Ignoring codes of conduct and professional body advice can expose companies to legal consequences like financial liabilities, and damage to the company's bottom line.
Increased Organizational Efficiency: Adhering to codes of conduct and professional body recommendations fosters a culture of responsibility and accountability, resulting in improved organizational efficiency. Decreased Organizational Efficiency: Unsafe working conditions, high turnover, and low employee morale can lead to decreased productivity and increased costs for recruitment and training.

Conclusion

Research suggests that while efforts have been made to address the ethical issue of working conditions in the UK, there is still room for improvement. A study by the TUC in 2020 found that millions of employees continue to face hazardous working conditions, indicating a need for further action (TUC, 2020). Although codes of conduct and professional bodies provide guidance and support, their effectiveness relies on implementation at the organizational level and individual employee behaviour. Companies need to prioritize and enforce ethical standards, ensuring compliance with codes of conduct, and empowering employees to raise concerns.

Part 2. Reflective Statement & CPD Plan

Reflective Writing

  • Description : I have acquired useful knowledge and experiences through my participation in this module that have helped me grow personally. I had a rudimentary understanding of ethical concerns and codes of behaviour at first, mostly because to my job, but I didn't fully grasp their relevance in addressing corporate and global ethics.
  • Feelings : I was curious and eager to investigate the complexities of ethical dilemmas and their effects on organisations and society as I dug deeper into the curriculum. I was able to critically evaluate actual examples and comprehend the nuances of ethical concerns thanks to the talks, readings, and research.
  • Evaluation : My experience throughout the module was evaluated, and both good and bad things came out. On the plus side, I valued the many viewpoints that my other students expressed. However, I had trouble understanding the subtleties of certain ethical frameworks and how to put them into practise.
  • Analysis : Through analysis, I have come to realize the significance of ethical considerations in organizational decision-making processes and the impact they have on stakeholders.
  • Conclusion: In conclusion, this module has been instrumental in broadening my knowledge and perspective on business and global ethics. Looking back, I would have benefited from more active participation in group discussions to gain diverse insights and deepen my understanding of different ethical perspectives.
  • Action plan: Moving forward, I will apply the knowledge gained from this module to actively consider ethical implications in my personal and professional decision-making processes. I will also seek opportunities to engage with professional bodies and their resources to stay updated on ethical best practices and continue my personal development in this field.

Continuous Professional Development

What do I want/need to learn? What will I do to achieve this? What resources or support will I need? What will my success criteria be? Target dates for review and completion
Gain a deeper understanding of ethical frameworks and their practical implementation. Engage in further readings, research, and discussions on ethical frameworks. Seek out case studies and real-life examples to analyse and apply ethical frameworks. Utilize online resources such as academic journals, e-library, and ethical guidelines provided by professional bodies. Engage in peer learning through group discussions and collaborative projects. Success criteria will be a comprehensive understanding of various ethical frameworks, the ability to analyse and apply them to real-life scenarios, and confidently articulate their significance and implications. Review progresses every month and aim for completion within six months.
Develop skills in ethical decision-making and stakeholder analysis. Participate in case studies, simulations, and role-playing exercises that require ethical decision-making. Analyse and evaluate the impact of decisions on different stakeholders. Seek guidance from mentors, instructors, or professionals with expertise in ethical decision-making. Engage in online training courses or workshops focused on ethical decision-making. Success criteria will be the ability to identify ethical dilemmas, apply ethical decision-making frameworks, and conduct stakeholder analysis effectively. Review progresses every two weeks and aim for completion within three months.
Enhance knowledge of current ethical issues and trends in business and global ethics. Stay updated through regular reading of industry publications, news articles, and research papers on business ethics and global ethical issues. Participate in webinars, conferences, or seminars related to business ethics. Utilize online resources such as industry websites, academic databases, and reputable news sources. Engage in discussions with industry professionals and peers to share insights and perspectives. Success criteria will be a well-rounded knowledge of current ethical issues, understanding their implications in different contexts, and the ability to critically analyse and contribute to discussions on these topics. Review progresses every month and aim for completion within four months

References

Alli, B. O., 2008. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY, s.l.: International Labour Organization .

CBE, 2023. CODE OF BUSINESS CONDUCT AND ETHICS. [Online]
Available at: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1094007/000119312504044901/dex14.htm
[Accessed 25 may 2023].

Congress ,Trades Union , 2023. Protect the right to strike. [Online]
Available at: https://www.tuc.org.uk/
[Accessed 25 May 2023].

Danna, K., 2019. Health and Well-Being in the Workplace: A Review and Synthesis of the Literature. Journal of Management , 25(3), pp. 357-384.

HSE, 2023. Information and services. [Online]
Available at: https://www.hse.gov.uk/
[Accessed 25 May 2023].

ILO, 2022. Workplace well-being. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ilo.org/safework/areasofwork/workplace-health-promotion-and-well-being/WCMS_118396/lang--en/index.htm
[Accessed 25 May 2023].

Javed,Badar , 2023. Benefits Of A Formal Health And Safety Management System. [Online]
Available at: https://www.hseblog.com/benefits-formal-health-safety-management-system/
[Accessed 25 May 2023].

Limited,Guardian News & Media , 2023. Go back to work': outcry over deaths on Amazon's warehouse floor. [Online]

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