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The Situation from an Ethical Perspective
The human behaviour is usually guided by ethics. On this ground, ethics are the drivers that are used to determine the action of an individual to either be rights or wrong (Menzel, 2012). However, before and action can be considered to be right or wrong, it is essential to consider the nature and extent of the act.
It is with regards to this that professionals in their various fields of expertise are guided with ethics and codes of conduct. These ethics ensure that the actions and decisions that they make with regards to their work are professional and will result to the achievement of the overall goals and objectives in the projects of processes that they are involved in.
In the case, a lot of ethical considerations that had been put in place and at the same time, there are instances in which ethics were not considered. The main goal that I wanted to achieve was to transform the improve the ability of students to locate, access and utilize data and information within the campus using up to date technology. This knowledge was to be passed to students through a unit that was taught by the library department.
However, it was essential to develop a budget due to financial constrains. In this respect therefore, the order of preference was to finance the remuneration of senior students who were to teach the freshmen, to purchase teaching software and finally to buy office furniture for the library team. Once the budget was formulated, copies were sent to all the staff members including the library manager. Therefore, as professionals, the hierarchy of needs was supposed to be adhered to in the utilization of funds for this project.
However, the library managed acted in an unethical manner by not following the hierarchy of needs of the budget. Instead of purchasing the teaching software for the project, he bought office furniture instead. Initially, the cost of furniture was to be included in the budget of the next fiscal year. Thus, using the funds for a different course to purchase office furniture proved his action to lack integrity, transparency and accountability. Thus, the decisions and actions of the library manager were unethical.
Ethical Problems in the Scenario
The main purpose of the budget was to ensure that the funds that were released for the project of implementing internet and modern technology in the learning curriculum were utilized in an effective and efficient manner. It was therefore the duty of all the members of staff who were involved in the control and management of these funds to ensure that this goal is realised.
It was agreed that since the funds were not sufficient to carter for every need, the cost of buying new furniture would be pushed to the budget of the next fiscal year. However, the library manager, without consulting the director of student services (who was actually on vacation), went ahead and bought office furniture using the funds that had been budgeted for purchasing the teaching software.
This decision was based on the fact that the teaching software had not yet been released to the marker. From a professional and ethical perspective, the library manager had the obligation to consult with the director of student services. Thus, his failure of not doing this made his action to be classified as unprofessional lacking integrity, transparency and accountability leading to a budgetary slack. These are values that a professional should have led his decision making process.
Consequences of the Decision
The choices that were made by the library manager and I had profound effects on my staff, the library and myself personally. The entire situation made my staff to lose trust and confidence in the library manager and in me. This is because, as the leaders, we failed at working together towards achieving a common goal, a goal that was clearly stipulated and guided by a budget.
It is always difficult of a leader to gain the trust and support of his subordinates in such in an event where he/she acts in an unprofessional manner (Covey, 2004). The main aim of this process was to modernize the library through the introduction of internet and modern technology in its services to enhance the learning process of students.
However, this goal was not achieved since the software required to support this system was never purchased. Additionally, the wrangles over the purchase of office furniture in the library brought out a negative image of the department. Finally, I felt that the library manager had acted in an unprofessional manner hence failing us as leaders.
Avoidance of the Situation and Solution to the Problem
To avoid the entire situation, before going to vacation, I would have delegated my budgetary authority to the library manager under strict conditions based on integrity, accountability and transparency. This would have ensured that before making a decision, he would first seek my consultation. This will ensure that sound decisions that are beneficial to the project are made hence meeting its goals and objectives (Gale, 2009).
To ensure that this problem never occurred, I would have first done a follow up on the status of the teaching software. This would have given me the opportunity to know how it operates and whether there are other softwares that perform a similar task. Thus, in the event where the software was not available, I would have simply bought a substitute that would have had similar results. This would ensure that all the funds for the budget are utilized effectively and efficiently benefiting the project and not just one department.
Covey, R. S. (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Chicago: Simon & Schuster, 2004
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Gale, P. (2009). Reason and Professional Ethics. London: Ashgate Publishing
Menzel, D. (2012). Ethics Management for Public Administrators: Leading and Building Organizations of Integrity. New York: M.E. Sharpe