Sample Business Studies Essay Paper on Business Ethics in the Tourism Industry

Business Ethics in the Tourism Industry

Introduction

In the last six decades, the tourism industry has been experiencing diversification and expansion. This has made it one of the most forward looking and fastest growing industries on the global platform. This is evidenced from an increase in the number of tourist destinations, the levels of professionalism associated with an increase in institutions dedicated to the provision of professional knowledge and skills in matters of tourism (Mazilu & Sitnikov, 2010). In addition, evidence of growth and expansion can be associated to an increase in the tendency of different tourist destination to develop strategies focused on customer satisfaction and the delivery of quality customer services. This has improved on the levels of competition by different hotels and restaurants in the tourism industry as a way of ensuring that they attract more customer hence and improvement in their profit levels and market share (Mazilu & Sitnikov, 2010).

Inasmuch as the tourism industry has been able to demonstrate its role in the economic growth of different countries, the industry suffers from several setbacks related to the ethical concerns that reflect on the relationship between tourist and the employees, the relationship between the employees and the management, and the relationship between the industry and the surrounding community. The main objective of this paper will be to conduct an in-depth analysis of the relevance of ethics in tourism industry. This will be through an investigation of the extent to which the management of different companies in the tourism industry has been able implement essential ethical guidelines. Furthermore, this essay will also investigate the role of these guidelines in enhancing the ability of the industry to improve on the delivery of its mandate.

The significance of ethics in the tourism industry

Lee and Tsang (2013) observed that despite the prevalence of the tourism industry in terms of its contribution in the economic developments of different countries, the industry faces challenges on issues of ethics. There have been incidences of unethical behavior especially in the relationship between tourists and tour guides. In China for instance, tour guides often earn commissions by forcing tourists to spend a specify amount of money (Mazilu & Sitnikov, 2010). These are the examples of practices that have drawn the attention of different stakeholders in the sector with the objective of developing strategies that will promote strict adherence to ethical codes of conduct especially when handling matters related to the interest of tourists, the community, employees, the government, and the management. Ethics in the tourism industry, according to Lee and Tsang (2013) has been perceived as a standalone topic, which defines the relationship between different stakeholders in the sector. The essence of this element in the definition of the nature of different relationships in the sector is based on the preferred modes of behavior which serve as the benchmark for the execution of ethical measures.

Ethics is however one of the most challenging aspects in the tourism industry due to the failure by the management to ensure that her employees and other stakeholders understand and highlight the ethical and moral positions of all those involved. From this assumption, Lee and Tsang (2013) argue that the essence of ethics in the tourism industry is twofold. This is because of the understanding that customers attracted to this industry emanate from different cultural orientations. The multicultural attribute of customers makes it relatively challenging the management to develop all-inclusive ethical guidelines hence the rise of different challenges in the management of ethical guidelines. According to Kanji (2002), despite the difficulty, it is important for the management to develop an understanding of the values of different groups of tourist and other stakeholders in the industry. This is because through such an understanding it becomes relatively easier for the management in the industry to equip itself with knowledge on how to manage diverse customer needs and develop informed perceptions on matters related to ethical business conduct (Kanji, 2002).

Tourism industry is one of the most labor-intensive industries in different economies. This is because the industry ids characterized by people dominated services and processes, which are relatively difficult to manage (Mazilu & Sitnikov, 2010). However, ethical guidelines often provide employees with a platform of prompt decision-making initiatives when handling customers with limited or no supervision from their superiors or in the absence of clearly defined codes of conduct (Rakichevikj et al, 2010). For an organization in the tourism industry to ensure that all the stakeholders understand their ethical mandate, the management has the responsbility of providing the employees with some level of training on the expectations of the organizations in terms of service delivery (Rakichevikj et al, 2010).

In addition, it is also the responsbility of the organization through its employees to provide customers with essential information concerning the practices acceptable in the organization. This will improve on the nature of relationship between different stakeholders. In addition, it will also ensure that organizations deliver their services in accordance with the requirements of the law. Customer satisfaction and the ability of the employees to also acquire some level of satisfaction the delivery of their services plays an essential role in the definition of successful companies in the tourism industry (Rakichevikj et al, 2010).

According to Kanji (2002), an additional way through which organizations in the tourism industry can ensure that their employee understand and develop positive perceptions about the relevance of ethics within the industry is through education of ethics. This is because through a series of discussions on matters of ethical dilemma within the industry, it becomes relatively easier for the employees to improve on their proficiency in handling customer needs in a satisfactory and ethically acceptable manner (Mazilu & Sitnikov, 2010). These discussions improve the moral reasoning of the employees with regard to ethical perception. The introduction of technology the increasing role of tourism industry in the development of economies has made it relatively complex. This makes it the role of the management and educators in the tourism sector to instill relevant and updated ethical skills in the students and employees (Mazilu & Sitnikov, 2010).

Ethical practice in the tourism sector according to Rakichevikj et al (2010) does not only involve the relationship between employees, the management, and the customers, it also involves the relationship between the industry and the society. One of the defining attributes of a tourism industry dedicated towards embracing ethical practices is in their corporate social responsbility. The essence of corporate social responsbility as an element of ethics in an organizational setting is in the realization that through the promotional of such ethical stance, the company enhances it profits, the effectiveness of its management, the public image of the organization and the relationship between employees (Rakichevikj et al, 2010).

The role of corporate social responsbility as an ethical practice of organizations in the tourism industry can be defined in relation to the benefits that the surrounding communities acquire. The tourism industry thrives through its ability to ensure the conservation of natural environment (Mazilu & Sitnikov, 2010). This means that through related practices such as enhancing the practice of conservation, conducting awareness programs on environmental and animal conservation the organizations in this industry provide the surrounding community with knowledge and skills that is essential for environmental conservation hence improving the relationship between the community and the tourism industry.

The main aim of tourism industry in the view of Kanji (2002) is to offer some comfort, happiness, food, drink, and entertainment in the form of recreation. This makes tourism an essential social phenomenon with the ability to exert major influence in the society. When accessing any tourist destination every tourist operates on the expectation that they will receive warm welcoming and pleasant stay (Mazilu & Sitnikov, 2010). The role of ethics in the industry is therefore to improve on the quality of the surrounding society and that of the international platform. It is through guiding codes of ethics that the tourism industry has been able to ensure sustainable development an accepted level of respect and understanding among all the stakeholders (Rakichevikj et al, 2010).

Ethical codes have however been accused of limiting the opportunities for profits. This is because it regulates the activities that different members of the organization in terms of the acceptable standards of operation. As an essential element of moral philosophy, ethics in the tourism industry has the ability of presenting instance of moral dilemma. In such situations it is expected that the management will turn to other elements such as financial performance and the expectations of the organization in the decision making process. It is through ethics that organizations in the tourism industry develop techniques of managing the   value and material components of an organization (Mazilu & Sitnikov, 2010).

Refection on chapter three

In chapter three, Philosophical Ethics and Business, I have been refreshed on ethics and decision-making. I have also learnt the reasons that guide an individual’s ethical judgment. Through the knowledge that I have gained from this chapter, I have come to realize that for one to make an ethical judgment, he or she should be guided by his personal character, principles, and consequences.

I have been refreshed on the difference between religious ethics and philosophical ethics. According to my understanding, I would prefer making decisions based on philosophical ethics but not religious one as people differ in their religious beliefs in this way making decision in terms of religious ethics shows an element of biasness. The bias arising from making decisions on religious ethics is that the resulting decisions are only applicable to a section of the society that subscribes to the said religious doctrines. This means that such a platform towards decision-making is discriminative and largely selective. Philosophical ethics provides justifications that are applicable to everyone regardless of their religion. Philosophical ethics also provide verifiable and universal approaches towards decision-making hence limiting the possibility of bias while maintaining high levels of objectivity in conducting organizational activities. I look forward to being a good employer in future because my employees, who, of course, will be of different religions, will not be complaining of unfairness among themselves. As an employer, my organization will embrace all religions but will not use religious doctrines in the determination of the strategies and the activities of the organization.

According to the knowledge I have gained about ethical relativists, I have come to realize that ethical relativists deny others the chance of being who they want to be or getting what they want. They treat people according to their own personal opinion and believe that only a specific person is entitled to achieving a particular objective. For ethical relativists, the decision-making process is defined by the prevailing circumstances and this is considered dangerous to the progress of an organization since it does not have a defined technique of operating. In this way, I have realized that for me to be a better person I must avoid being an ethical relativist.

In most cases, I usually find it very hard sometimes to make final decisions that will not lead me into problems. However, with the knowledge I have gained from this chapter, we should act in ways that produce better consequences. Utilitarianism is actually the best approach to social policy. In most cases, we find that most politicians make decisions that do not promote better consequences. Instead, they are self-centered. They make decisions that only suit them, regardless of the society. As a result, it leads to lack of happiness, poor health, and lack of dignity, integrity, freedom, and respect among people in the society. The development of social policies in accordance with the utilitarian principle will require an organization to consider the interest of the majority members of the society. This means that such polices are those that will foster happiness for the largest number of people in the context of a society. Basing ethical guidelines on the utilitarian principle makes it the responsbility of the decision makers to ensure that the resulting guidelines serve the interest of the majority. This will make such an organization a preferred customer destination due to its ability to ensure the satisfaction of their interests.

I have learnt that rules are part of social agreement. They include professional, role-based, and legal rules. For me to become a good manager, I have learnt that I must consider using all these rules. As a manager, role-based rules will assist me to perform my roles accordingly. Professional rules will assist me to act according to how managers should act. Legal rules are always there to guide the society in doing what is required of the by the state or government.

Another important aspect that I have learnt in this chapter is that we should respect human dignity. In this way we should treat each person as end in himself or herself and never only as means to our own ends as it enhances respect and peace among all individuals. Without respect, employees cannot work in harmony. In turn, it leads to failure of a particular organization.

I have also learnt about the decision-making model, which assists managers in businesses. Moreover, I have learnt that to become a good manager there is the right procedure that entrepreneurs must follow. It involves determining the facts, identifying the ethical issues included, seeing the right stakeholders, considering the right alternatives, and considering how a decision affects stakeholders. By doing so, I have learnt that it ensured that stakeholders are satisfied with the way of management is carried out. As a result, I got the knowledge that my business will run smoothly by only adhering to such a procedure.

 This chapter has indeed made me learn how to relate with everyone, regardless of their differences or disabilities. Through the chapter, I have learnt the essence of acknowledging the abilities and the capabilities of every stakeholder in the society. This is based on the understanding that as a component of quality, it is only possible to attain acceptable ethical standards within the existing long-terms perspectives, which must be developed in accordance with the principles of total quality management systems. I have learnt in areas where ethical considerations do not define the operations of those involved, they operate on short-term women, which require organizations to attain profits at all costs. The risk in this case is that of providing low quality goods and services. This may result in failure of the company to operate and acquire success in accordance with the acceptable standards of operation. Such organizations affect the success of the industry since they introduce an image that is damaging to the public reputation of an industry. However, the development of an understanding that it is relatively difficult to acquire enormous amounts of profits defines the role of ethics in regulating activities.

When faced with difficulties regarding the activities to give priority between profits and ethics, the sense of social responsbility must always be considered as the main source of solution to such a dilemma. Inasmuch as the role of a manager in an industry such as that of tourism is to ensure that their organizations make profit, ethics requires that such profits should be made in accordance with the existing legal framework. Such a framework often requires the management to bear in mind that it is irresponsible to cheat the customer or provide substandard services in the process of conducting business for profit making.

Final personal reflection

My philosophy of personal ethics and social responsbility revolves around the utilitarian principle. This principle has facilitate a process of ethical decision making process considering that it is my responsbility as an actor in the social sphere to define codes of conduct that regulate and ensure that my interactions are defined by fairness and the desire to ensure that the community is serviced in accordance with the existing norms and values. Societal norms and values define the mode and the technique that individuals must use in the process of associating with other members of the society (Rundle-Thiele et al, 2010). The process of acting in accordance with the existing societal norms and values as the basis of developing personal ethical standards with regard to social responsbility provides a technique of ensuring the avoidance of any form of unethical behavior in interactions. This requires an individual to embrace elements of transparency, moral integrity, and high levels of discipline when operating within the confines of a community.

The benefit of operating in such an environment makes personal ethics essential in the determination of individual behavior. For personal ethics to thrive in such an environment it is my responsbility, and the participant to maintain high levels of objectivity in the decision making process to limit any form of bias. This will involve the minimization of support on individual members of society who operate on unsustainable projects and polies which may be used in facilitating the destruction of the society (Rundle-Thiele et al, 2010).

In terms of business ethics and corporate social responsbility, I believe in the development of businesses whose practices are based on the setting and execution of strategies in accordance with clear morals standards from the beginning. In terms of the delivery of their mandate, it is the responsbility of a business to ensure that the relationship between the management and the employees is based on honesty (Maximiliano, 2011). This is especially with regard to the ability of such a business to provide its employees with a platform where they can make personal and informed decisions on the growth and development of their careers. Furthermore, such a business ethics, which must be defined by the utilitarian principle, must respect customers by providing them with value for the money they pay for goods and services. Ethically corporate social responsbility require a company to ensure that it makes investments that benefits the community from which its wellbeing depends (Maximiliano, 2011). These investments may be in the form of appreciation to the community by proving awareness services or development of structures that provide employment opportunities, education opportunities or those that ensure the sustainability of resources in the community. This will make it the responsbility of such a company to ensure that they support communities and practices aimed at sustainable development (Payne & Dimanche, 2006).

The complexity of acting in accordance with personal ethics and social responsbility, or business ethics and corporate social responsbility is in the perceived benefits and losses. It is possible for an individual to neglect personal ethics when undertaking a specific social responsbility because of the underlying benefits such as the realization of fame or status in the society development (Payne & Dimanche, 2006). Furthermore, business ethics and corporate social responsbility require strict adherence to the requirements of the legal framework, which may be relatively difficult when a business desire to make quick profits through unwarranted means or through alternatives that are largely illegal but relatively cheaper to implement (Keck, 2010).

The desire to ensure happiness for the community in terms of the provision of the best services within the existing legal framework guides these philosophies and their related values in my life. I have considered this as a possibility because of my ability to identify the relationship between personal ethical practices with the existing practices in the society. The experience of quality life is not an occurrence but a result of hard work and the desire to ensure that I live quality life within the society.    

In looking into the future my related goals include the development of a company defined by excellent leadership. As a leader in the tourism sector, I will ensure that the mission, values, and vision of my company are a reflection of a socially responsible culture (Keck, 2010). This will ensure that I become a role model whose desire is to serve and empower both internal and external stakeholders. My additional goal would be restore trust in the tourism industry. This is based on the understanding that ethical leadership in the tourism sector has become essential in the definition of success within the sector. The role of ethical leadership is not to only set a good example but also stimulate ethical conduct among different stakeholders (Kasim, 2006). 

Summary and conclusion

It is possible to associate evidence of growth and expansion in the tourism sector with an increase in the tendency of different tourist destination to develop strategies focused on customer satisfaction and the delivery of quality customer services. Other than the improvement of the quality of service delivery, the role of ethical guidelines is to provide employees with a platform of prompt decision-making initiatives when handling customers with limited or no supervision from their superiors or in the absence of clearly defined codes of conduct. For an organization in the tourism industry to ensure that all the stakeholders understand their ethical mandate, the management has the responsbility of providing the employees with some level of training on the expectations of the organizations in terms of service delivery. I would prefer making decisions based on philosophical ethics. This is because such an approach provides justifications that are applicable to everyone regardless of their religion.

For personal and business ethics to thrive in such an environment it is my responsbility, and the participant to maintain high levels of objectivity in the decision making process to limit any form of bias. Business ethics and corporate social responsbility require strict adherence to the requirements of the legal framework, which may be relatively difficult when a business desire to make quick profits through unwarranted means or through alternatives that are largely illegal but relatively cheaper to implement. When these aspects of ethics are considered in relation to my goals and objectives in life, they signify my responsbility in ensuring successful leadership within the spheres of tourism. This is considered a possibility through the development of an organization defined by the ethical standards of operation.

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