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Contemporary business practices are aimed at not only the profitability of a company but also at promoting ethical business processes. Management of ethical aspects at the workplace has become an integral part of business conduct on a global scale, promoting a healthy business environment. This essay will analyze the ethical aspects in business, referring to the example of Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc, a company in Nigeria with 50 employees dealing with trading on essential commodities. The three aspects regarded in this essay are dealing with gender inequality, sexual harassment, and operating on the Corporate Social Responsibility principle.
Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace
Doing business in the context of Nigeria presents a number of ethical challenges that companies have to face. The first issue that needs addressing is gender inequality in the workplace. Sharma (2016) underlines that maintaining workplace balance is a key factor in increasing productivity in organizations. With Nigeria being a traditional patriarchal society, the proportion of women in business management is significantly lower in comparison to men representation (Ironkwe, 2015). Due to the globalization processes and involvement in international business activities, many businesses in Nigeria try to adopt a Western model of ethical business practice promoting gender equality. As a result, companies have been making active efforts to balance the gender representation at the workplace.
In the case of Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc, the company actively encourages women’s participation in business by addressing the two major issues concerning gender inequality. The first problem to be solved is the underrepresentation of women in the workplace. Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc aims at equalizing the proportion of male and female workers at all levels, including top management positions in the company. At the moment, the proportion of male and female employees is 29 to 21 out of 50 accordingly, compared with 22 to 4 out of 26 at the beginning of the company’s operations. The company seeks to further equalize the gender proportion at the workplace. It is vital to emphasize that the male and female employees work on equal conditions in terms of remuneration, working hours, and incentives.
The second challenge to be addressed is the lack of formal professional training for women, characteristic of the Nigerian labor market (Ironkwe, 2015). Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc handles this problem in two ways: by offering on-the-job training for female employees and by financing professional training courses. Thus, Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc makes a serious effort to involve more women in business practices and create a gender-equal working environment.
Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
One of the most important issues related to unethical business practices is harassment in the workplace. A number of surveys conducted in the workplaces in Nigeria have revealed a high rate of employees becoming victims of sexual harassment (Aina-Pelemo, Mehanathan, & Kulshrestha, 2018). Aina-Pelemo et al. (2018) claim that “culturally, men in Nigeria trivialize sexual harassment. The general male attitude is that females enjoy being sexually harassed” (p. 219). What is more, the legislation in Nigeria does not specify legal sanctions against sexual harassment (Aina-Pelemo et al., 2018). All in all, the issue seems to be understated in the country and requires active counter-measures. According to LaVan and Martin (2018), “the starting point for organizationally based resolutions should be formulating human resource policies” (p. 21). Thus, in the absence of legislation on the governmental level prescribing the course of actions in case of harassment, companies in Nigeria seem obligated to manage the issue using corporate tools.
At the company level, Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc fights harassment at the workplace by corporate and educational means. The company’s labor contracts clearly state the unacceptability of any form of sexual harassment or bullying in the workplace. By signing the contract, the employees confirm that they are aware of severe consequences which can be incurred by any sexual harassment occurrences, physical or verbal. These organizational deterrents include the company’s fines or the harassing employee’s dismissal. Additionally, the system of preventing measures has been implemented in the company’s policy. For instance, educational seminars and workshops are held regularly in order to raise awareness of the issue. The female workers are encouraged to report any form of behavior that causes their discomfort at the workplace. These are some of the measures aimed at minimizing the issue of sexual harassment at Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc.
Aspiring for Corporate Citizenship
The mission of entrepreneurship has been redefined recently, moving from the idea of making fast short-term profits to accepting the responsibility for the society’s well-being. It is claimed that operating in the corporate citizenship framework has gained unprecedented popularity in the global business community (Crane, Matten, & Spence, 2019). In the Nigerian business context, the notion of Corporate Social Responsibility is considered to be primarily the means to reduce poverty and create better living conditions for the population (Turyakira, 2018). The need for improving co-operation between Nigerian companies operating on CSR principles and the need for involving more SMEs in the strategies of CSR work still exist (Turyakira, 2018). It is clear that a company following the principle of corporate citizenship makes a significant contribution not only to the economy of the country but also to its social development.
Referring to the example of Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc, the company has been participating in several social charity projects. Firstly, in an attempt to fight the increasing unemployment rate, especially among the young people, Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc takes part in the non-profit retraining program, offering internships to the unemployed youth. Participating in the program gives the young people necessary work experience and skills contributing to further successful employment. What is more, Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc donates money to a number of philanthropic organizations on a regular basis, promoting socio-economic development projects. Turyakira (2018) states that philanthropic activities are of prime importance in Nigeria as social needs here are endemic. For instance, the latest CSR action, initiated by the company, is donating to the campaign of Time Out for Africa Foundation supporting underfunded schools in the country. Although the company is still moving towards the ideals of corporate citizenship, it is crucial to note that every effort is being made to contribute to the good of Nigerian society and poverty reduction.
To conclude, managing ethical aspects has become an integral part of modern business practices. However, conducting business in the Nigerian context presents significant challenges in terms of promoting ethical business operations. Some aspects Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc has been struggling to manage ethically and efficiently include promoting gender equality at the workplace, preventing sexual harassment, and following corporate citizenship principles. Although some areas still need to be covered to achieve the ideals of ethical management, Fatlubsy Ventures, Inc aspires for enhancing its business practices. Ethical management appears essential to create an environment for the company’s prosperity, employees’ security, and society well-being as well.
Aina-Pelemo, A. D., Mehanathan, M. C., & Kulshrestha, P. (2018). Sexual harassment at workplace: Judicial impact in Nigeria and India. Indian Journal of Law and Human Behaviour, 4(2), 211-225.
Crane, A., Matten, D., & Spence, L. (2019). Corporate social responsibility: Readings and cases in a global context. Abington, Oxon: Routledge.
Ironkwe, U. (2015). The place of ethics in entrepreneurship: The Nigerian perspective. International Journal of Innovation and Economic Development, 1(3), 45-55.
LaVan, H., & Martin, W. M. (2018). Ethical challenges in workplace bullying and harassment: Creating ethical awareness and sensitivity. Concepts, Approaches, and Methods, 15(2), 1-31.
Sharma, A. (2016). Managing diversity and equality in the workplace. Cogent Business & Management, 3(1), 121-168.
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Turyakira, P. K. (2018). Ethical practices of small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries: Literature analysis. South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, 21(1), 1-7.