November 3rd, 2011
The Rice Wars
The South West Training institute is a nonprofit organization that provides training services for the delivery of counseling techniques nationally. El Centro De Familias is a newly formed social services center that was created by STI to fill the void in the city of Magnolia by providing much needed services to this fast growing and impoverished community. An ethical dilemma has arisen in which working conditions, a sense of unfairness felt by the counseling staff, and an unprofessional director have created an atmosphere filled with tension, resentment, and a lack of solidarity between the home office and the Magnolia community center. I will show how a violation of ethical standards encompassing working conditions coupled with the unethical behavior of the Magnolia social services center director had a negative effect on the resulting ethics of the employees in how they treated each other.
Firstly In all fairness to the current employees of the Magnolia center, the working conditions of the actual building that they work in with the broken air conditioning, a non responsive super, and an insect infestation as the article puts it, is a major ethical violation. No one should have to work in these conditions and the problem should have been made a priority and taken care of. If not with a new building then they should have at least made renovations, hired a new super who was willing to work, and called the exterminator for the infestation problem. These problems in my opinion should have been handled by the home office director to ensure that the clients and employees alike had a clean and stable environment in which to congregate in. STI’s limited resources coupled with the poor infrastructure and impoverished conditions of the buildings in the Magnolia vicinity restrained STI from acquiring a modern building to set up their new social services center. As a consequence these circumstances set the foundation for the violation of basic ethical working conditions that resulted in resentment and hostilities between employees.
Second, the program director was maybe the worst person to hire to take on the responsibilities of running an upstart agency. From the way that the article portrays his behavior it is clear that he just made a bad situation worse. The program director is the one who is supposed to be keeping the program and its employees running smoothly and in harmony. Instead he’s instigating a hostile situation and leading his employees in an unproductive path of dissidence when he should be acting professionally and maintaining order. Anyone who works for or runs a company knows there is supposed to be hierarchies where employees look toward management to dictate work responsibilities and find solutions to any grievances or unmet needs that employees might have. How do you expect employees to act if their own boss is instigating them to be disruptive and is promoting discontent by being unprofessional in how he advocates for his employees grievances? He could have simply kept his employees happy by going through the proper channels and fighting for changes that would solve their problems while maintaining professionalism. I mean that’s his job to manage the people under him, make sure the agency is efficient and profitable, and to mediate for his and their mutual benefit to the main office. Also as director he could have looked for ways to secure additional funding to help alleviate the poor conditions at the Magnolia center. The main office I’m sure is busy running their aspect of the company dealing with the services that they provide nationally and probably, like any company, thought they hired someone who was willing and capable of doing the duties that he was hired for in the first place.
Third, the permanent Magnolia staff consisted of five MSW counselors. It was mentioned in the article that the counselors were already employed in mainstream agencies and were more than happy to leave their present jobs to join this upstart agency that would be the first Mexican American professionally staffed social services center. If the counselors are so morally and ethically motivated to help people in need and were quick to be among the first to bring that much needed relief to this community, then how can these counselors be so preoccupied with what the trainers are doing? I would think that these morally motivated counselors who quit their previous jobs to be a part of this humanitarian crusade would be more worried about the clients who need their help desperately instead of the trainers who have completely different responsibilities. These counselors are quick to complain about trivial matters like travelling, parking, dress code, and have the mind set of 6 year olds thinking well if they can do it why can’t we. Then what does that imply to the quality of service they are providing to the clients that come to them for help? How much are the clients being neglected and mistreated by disgruntle employees who are clearly unfulfilled by the good they are bringing to the community? It’s simple, they chose this job voluntarily with no surprises, had jobs to begin with, had seen the office they would be working in, and had every opportunity if they felt neglected to quit and find employment elsewhere. Due to the poor working conditions and the mismanagement of them by the program director the counselors have forgotten their initial attraction to the center and have let their ethical standards be corrupted by personal discontent.
I feel morally responsible to ensure quality care will be provided to a community that is already suffering due to a lack of resources. Because of this moral obligation to ensure the integrity of a Social Service agency that will be providing crucial care to the community, I feel that the people who staff this agency should be of good moral standing and should be motivated to do good in the community. The last thing a person in need wants to encounter at a place that is supposed to be helping them is an employee who is impartial to their suffering and is only there for a pay check. Dealing with people requires a special kind of person who is willing to go beyond their own wants and needs and who works every day knowing that the effort they make with each and every individual who walks through that door is helping to change lives and create a more livable community. A person who knows the suffering that people endure because of being poor and who feels it is their obligation to alleviate that suffering if it is at all possible.
For these reasons I feel ethically responsible to replace the current staff of the El Centro De Familias center and replace them with people who are more morally involved in their work. All in all it seems that a lack of management from the main office , with his ineffective strategies for promoting congruence among staffs and his lack of hiring a responsible director for the Magnolia center, as well as the program director himself, for promoting unconstructiveness, being a negative example for his team to follow, and for his lack of initiative in problem solving and in providing stable conditions in his work environment, have led to the corruption of ethical standards by employees and to the ensuing antagonistic consequences.
These conditions created an atmosphere that promoted jealousy, envy, and set the stage for the ticking time bomb of emotions that were harbored by disgruntle employees who felt unappreciated, neglected, and thought they were being treated unfairly. This ethical dilemma has taught me that a person who is expected to lead needs to be qualified to do so and that for a team of employees to work productively that fairness must be perceived by all and that working conditions need to be up to appropriate ethical standards.