This course provided me with an opportunity to get an introduction to ethics in work place. Before this, I was not able to differentiate between business ethics and the legal obligations of a business. The course textbook (Desjardins, 2014) provide in depth information about the topics of ethical relationships in an organization, work group influence, corporate culture, social responsibilities and a way to think critically and clearly about complex ethical situations in an organization. I have had an opportunity to work for a few organizations in my life. Thought most of them were for brief amount of time as it was a part of some kind of an internship program. Irrespective of the nature of the duties and job requirements, each opportunity had much to offer to me a person belonging to the society and as a professional who would be a part of the work force of an organization in the future. In this paper I would like to discuss my experience at the Alshamsi Travelers, Dubai, which was a part of an internship program. I worked there for 10 months and had been involved in diverse roles. The company was of medium size and had many business processes going on simultaneously. They were using different tactics for marketing purposes. They also had a customer relations department that would help their customers if they contacted the company. Sometimes they would also make random calls and ask for their customer’s feedbacks. In the following discussion I would be writing about the corporate culture at Alshamsi Travelers, the meaning and rights at work there and the standards of marketing ethics.
I must say that the corporate culture at Alshamsi Travelers was an encouraging one that was open to people from any color or religion. This quality is something that we do not see in conservative societies like in most of the Arab Countries but I think that Dubai has become more internationalized and know the benefits of having a multicultural work force. I personally was able to adopt to the diverse cultural environment of the organization easily as the other people working there already know my cultural norms and were able to properly understand even the “odd” things that I may do. With time I learned that I also need to change and update some of my habits like being reserved all the times. I started to open up and enjoy my time at the organization. They had developed a corporate culture that was open to suggestions from its employees. I never had this experience at the previous organizations that I had ever worked with.
Strengths and Weaknesses
As I sad that Alshamsi Travelers had many people from different cultures working for them which I would call its greatest strengths. Apart from this, they also had a training program for its employees that would teach them skills to update their corporate knowledge. These programs would teach them leadership skills, customer relations skills and IT related skills. There was a specific occasion when one of the employee had attended a programs related to safety and security at the work place at his previous organization. He discussed it in front of the owner, CEO of the organization once, the next day the CEO had arranged for such a training program. The CEO thanked the employee who brought this program up and also apologized the employees as he thought that it was his responsibility to train the employees in everything related to safety and security situation that might arise. I was so touched by the efforts that the CEO was making. I mean I didn’t even see a need for the training but the CEO still had the guts to spend precious financial resources to help his employees. The CEO was committed to treat the employees equally which has been suggested by research to be a quality that creates spirit and enthusiasm in the employees to work efficiently for the organization (Breu, 2001).
To be very honest there were not a lot of weaknesses in the work place that I was working. But what I would call a weakness was the missing of opportunities that the CEO was making by not expanding his company to other countries. This suggestions was given to him by many of his employees but the CEO seemed hesitant. I am not sure what was causing this resistance to expand the business. The reason that was given by the CEO was that the business was already making enough returns and he was not that greedy to earn more money. Personally, to me, the reason did not seem valid to me. In my opinion the organization should already have been working in other Arab Countries.
I had once had a chance to see the mission statement of the organization. It explicitly stated that the company wanted to be a leading Travel Agency in the Arabian Peninsula. I would say that the culture at the organization was in accordance with the goals of the mission statement but the company may have not been moving in the right directions as they did not have any expansion plans. There are many other travel agencies that have their branch office at different Arab Countries and to compete with them, you have to have more offices.
Top down Organizational Culture
In my opinion the employees of the organization were really free to suggest any ideas that they might think to be worthy of action. Having said that, the implementation had to be started from the top of the organization i.e. the CEO. If the CEO did not think that it’s worth a try, he would never say yes to any idea. The same is what was happening about expansion to other countries.
Personally I never suggested anything as I was not a permanent part of the organization due to being an intern and also because I did not feel confident at that time to suggest any changes. I think that I had the freedom to make suggestions if I ever wanted to do so.
If I were to start my Own Company
There are many lessons that I can take from the example of Alshami Travelers as being a part of that company for a brief amount of time. First is that I would try to have a workforce that had a diverse cultural background. This is a way to enhance innovation in an organization. As we can imagine that people from different cultures have different life experiences. We can utilize them in our business processes. Second is that I would not hesitate to bring about even big changes like opening other side offices and even moving to other countries. In my opinion, it is not a healthy sign to be resistant to change and feel scared of taking risks in a business world.
Meaning and Rights at Work
I was involved in many duties during my time at Alshamsi Travelers. The duty that was more meaningful to me was to be involved with customers in phones or in person. This was meaningful to me in many regards. I mean I was able to learn how to deal with different people and also it was a way to be useful to other people as there were times that customers were in urgent need of tickets due to emergencies and I had to find a way to arrange a ticket for them. At such times it would become a meaningful task for me as I was able to identify myself with such people as this could have happened to anyone. My boss would also appreciate my efforts in such situations and helped me get these kinds of situations sorted out.
Generally speaking, I do believe that the meaningfulness of a job does correlate with the amount of participation of the employees in decision making and other business processes. Research has suggested that meaningfulness of work is in fact a requirement for the work to be done efficiently and effectively (Cardador & Rupp, 2010). I firmly think that the employees at Alshamsi Travelers were finding a meaning in their work. They were getting opportunities to be promoted and getting a raise which gave them something to work hard for in my opinion.
The customers at Alshamsi Travelers were mostly foreigners as Dubai is a multinational city. Marketing was not always a point of discussion in the company as they already had good business running. I did see them advertising in national newspapers about their services and running advertisement campaigns on Facebook. I do not think that the company was ever acting unethically towards their customers but I do think that they sometimes crossed some ethical lines when they would randomly contact their existing customers via phones to get their feedback. Some of them would get really angry at the customer representatives and would threaten to stop doing business with them. As it has been stated in the stakeholder theory that the management has to consider the consequences of their decisions (Desjardins, 2014), I think that this strategy should have been changed to avoid any negative consequences. If I were the CEO, I would change this policy to contacting customer via email about their feedback. So if they do not want to give feedback, they can simply delete the email.
I would like to conclude my discussion by pointing out the importance of the experience at Alshamsi Travelers. At the time I worked there, I didn’t know the specifics of the different organization processes and my involvement. But completing this paper has enabled me to brainstorm those business processes and the importance of my experience.
Breu, K. (2001). The role and relevance of management cultures in the organizational transformation process. International Studies of Management & Organization, 31(2), 28- 47.
Cardador, M. T., & Rupp, D. E. (2010). Organizational culture, multiple needs, and the meaningfulness of work. The handbook of organizational culture and climate, 158-180.
Desjardins, J. (2014). An Introduction to Business Ethics, 5th Edition. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Companies.