There are a lot of people in the market looking for jobs. When anyone who can prove themselves more capable then the managers arrives, the manager feels insecure. This turns into a constraint. Does the manager ultimately give up his/her job for the more capable new comers or should he do something to keep his/her job? In my experience, I have noticed a couple of things that managers engage in order to have job security. One is to impress shareholders with what they can do. They tend to act unfair towards employees in order to match up to the shareholders interests. A good example is to do with racism. Just because the shareholders are white, the manager tends to fire a black man or promotes a white man instead of a black man who works harder.
This tends to happen a lot in Kenya between Africans and Asians. Managers, often tend to carry out unnecessary work, just to prove to their shareholders that they are working. In the long run nothing may have been done but just to secure their jobs, they work inefficiently. An example would be unnecessarily asking for irrelevant reports just to show a lot is being done. Also, managers tend to take credit of their subordinates in order to gain favor from their shareholders. A lot of this is happening in many organizations in Kenya.
Businesses some times if not always, choose to charge more to customers on the grounds that it is initially the customers’ fault why they had to charge more and this is totally unethical. A good example is when a company loans something on money back guarantee. Instead of giving security, a company offers money back guarantee, and as it runs for a year, suddenly shuts down on grounds of bankruptcy. The business that offered the loan, takes over the company.
The next time someone asks for a loan, the interest set is too high, just because the business is trying to overcome the costs of their bad investments. Another really disturbing fact that happens a lot within our society is compromising customer satisfaction for greater profits in a very unethical manner. What I mean by this is that many companies, including small businesses, give ambiguous promises or warranty on items or services and tend to avoid any claims by twisting their promises to make it look like the claim wasn’t really included. An example is the Mobile phone industry. A phone is sold with a warranty of one year. The phone gets spoilt and during the claim of warranty, the customer is told that it was due to his/her own mishandling of the phone the warranty is void. Though the phone company knows very well of their defective phones. The company would close down if they honor all the claims.
Similarly, Insurance companies in Kenya have been doing this. Just because there have been many car accidents, the premium for vehicle insurance has been greatly increased plus when there is a claim, they do not honor it unless the insured pays an excess. This excess and the high premium actually make the insurance practically useless and the insurance company is greatly benefiting unethically from this. This has been the one of the reason why recently Matatu drivers demanded lower premiums. It was accepted by the insurance companies because they clearly were charging high. Another very good example and this has happened with close people I know; when we get medical insurance, the insurance company states all the conditions very ambiguously. When one claims from the insurance company, the claim is turned down by stating that all the conditions were not fulfilled yet they were not explicitly stated. There are two cases of women with fibers in the womb and had to get them removed by operation.
The medical insurance denied the claim stating that the illness occurred before the start of the insurance or that that particular illness is not covered though that condition really cant be found anywhere. It is actually obvious if insurance companies accept all claims and charge low premiums, they will close down, but the premiums charged and the genuine cases turned down just for the survival of the business is not ethical.
In Kenya, managers face many problems, not necessarily due to their own mishandling but also because of the law or social behavior. This compels them to carry out unethical business practices just to survive in the market. Though in the end the customers are the most important contributors to businesses, they tend to face the most problems. This is mainly because there is no one to look at the rights of people in this society.
We are forced to accept whatever comes our way. Customers tend to find loop holes in businesses that could work to their advantage and this is what makes these businesses to stiffen their rules and conditions and hence these rules or conditions tend to be unethical in the long run. What I am trying to point out is that businesses become unethical because the customers (society) and law (which come from the society) forces then to be so. This is because individuals which make up our society have lost their values and morals that define our actions which unfortunately, are not very ethical. This is also the cause of corruption and ultimately the reason why managers in our society are faced with the kind of problems mentioned above.
Unfortunately, I cannot disclose the company name or the names of any of the management of the companies is have worked for, for the purpose of privacy. Most of the information included in this paper is mainly from interviews of managers of two companies and personal experience. Other references: MacDonald C., (2002), Moral Decision Making: An Analysis. [Online] Explorer: http://www.ethicsweb.ca/guide/moral-decision.html.