Ethics,Safety, and Quality
Inthe business field, Altaf Ahmad, Malik and Mir (2012) define qualityas a state of being free from deficiencies, defects, or significantvariations from projected or expected standards. Additionally, theauthors clarify that ISO 8402:1986 standard defines quality as theentirety of characteristics and features of a product or service togratify its implied or stated needs. In this paper, I willsubstantiate why I am certain of the fact that ethics and safety havea huge place in the discipline of quality assurance. I belong to thisschool of thought for the reason that I do not envision theproduction of a “quality product” or the delivery of a “qualityservice” without strict adherence to ethics and safety. To begin, Iwill define the word ethics, after which I will shed light on itsrelation to the discipline of quality assurance.
Rothlinand McCann (2016) define ethics as a sum total of values, principles,customs, and rules that govern the relationships between differentpeople co-existing in one society. As they continue to explain,ethics is borrowed from the Greek word “ethos,” which meansmoral, virtuous, or conforming to ethical standards. Rothlin andMcCann (2016) also define ethics as the moral principles and moraljudgments that are adopted by multitudes of individuals for thepurposes of sound decision making. With the integration of ethicalpractices in business settings, business ethics can also be definedas the cultural organizational customs centered on positive moralvalues by distinguishing between the right and the wrong thing in aworking environment (Sandler, 2014). In its broadest sense, ethicsseeks to answer the questions of what is right and wrong for anindividual and successively the entire society. Now that I havedefined what ethics is, I will proceed to discuss its place andrelation in the quality discipline.
Itis the opinion of Sandler (2014) that present-day organizations areswiftly assimilating the concept of business ethics into theiroperational frameworks for the sole purpose of establishing ethicalbusiness practices. According to Sandler (2014), it is possible fororganizations to exist within the social context of institutionsthrough shared values, conciliation, and understanding. In as much asa business is out to make profits, it is also tasked with theresponsibility of socially catering to the needs of the communitythrough corporate social responsibility. Therefore, for a peacefulco-existence of a business and its environment (community/consumers),the shared values, customs, and traditions should reflect mutualbenefits to both parties in an appropriate setting. And this is thepoint where ethics comes into the picture. Codes of ethics dictatethe relationship between a business and the community. There havebeen instances where businesses that make unethical decisions end uplosing millions of dollars in law suits, potentially damaging theircorporate image.
Therefore,as AltafAhmad, Malik, and Mir (2012) elaborate, businesseshave to consider the predicaments of the society in draftingorganizational standards and procedures so as to elude makingsocially intolerable choices that will be labeled “unethical.”The ethical codes are responsible for shaping the ethical practicesand decisions of the employees within an organization. They bringtogether the activities of the employees of a firm around a commonculture as stipulated in the codes creating solidarity towards theachievement of standardized company procedures and processes (Rothlin& Mccann, 2016).Thus, ethics is integrated into businesses to ensure that there areno significant deviations from the projected organizationalstandards which will be reflected in the quality of products andservices of a business in due course. For a product or service to befree of defects, deficiencies, or variations from expected standards(high quality), it should adapt to projected standardized valuesachieved by the convergence of ethical standards, shaped by codes ofethics. In other words, a quality product cannot exist withoutethical codes. Thus, ethics does have a place in the discipline ofquality.
Toexplain why I believe that safety also has a place in the field ofquality, I will support my judgment centered on the axis of a subtleissue that affects humanity food. I am of the opinion that foodquality and food safety are two items that cannot be considereddifferently because if a food product is of high quality, it has tobe safe! According to Sandler (2014), quality food is food devoid ofconsumption hazards. If a food product is of low quality, then it isnot safe for human consumption! Food safety is a conception that foodwill not cause bodily harm to the intended consumer if it is preparedaccording to its intended usage. The safety of food is important forboth the consumers and companies that produce them. Therefore, asSandler (2014) explains, food manufacturers are obliged to conform toGMPs (Good Manufacturing Practices) to ensure that their foodproducts are safe for consumption.
Unfortunately,as Rothlin and McCann (2016) explain, the best food safety standardscannot guarantee the real safety of food if they are implementedwithout the application of ethical codes. In this scenario,manufacturers have to adhere to ethical codes that combine all theproduction activities towards the achievement of undeviatingorganizational standards. Food producers have the obligation to actethically by adhering to good manufacturing practices that willguarantee the production of high quality food products that are safefor human consumption. In other words, ethics is the primary rule ofall the production activities within the food industry. Without codesof ethics, food production companies would not stick to any universalstandards of food production. This means that the food produced by acompany that engages in unethical production processes (notconforming to Good Manufacturing Practices) are unsafe for humanconsumption signifying low quality!
WhatI am trying to say is, without the adherence to strict ethical codesof conduct, the products and services of a business are considered“substandard.” They are “below average” because they do notcomply with any principles of quality. Therefore, they are defectivebecause they “fluctuate” from the “expected standards.” Andsince the products or services deviate from the expectedorganizational standards, they are not of high quality. Per se,ethics and safety are very instrumental in the discipline of qualitybecause according to me, a quality product or service cannot existwithout ethical codes. For a product or service to gratify itsintended need, it has to conform to certain standards of utility alldependent on the ethical and safety settings of a product or service.Therefore, safety and ethics do have a place in the discipline ofquality.
AltafAhmad Dar Altaf Ahmad Dar, Malik, M., & Mir, R. (2012). Customersatisfaction on Service Quality In Life Insurance. IJSRInternational Journal of Scientific Research,1(6),118-123. doi:10.15373/22778179/nov2012/46
Rothlin,S., & Mccann, D. (2016). Business Ethics and the Sciences.InternationalBusiness Ethics,47-63. Doi: 10.1007/978-3-662-47434-1_3
Sandler,R. L. (2014). Foodethics: The basics.