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You have just been appointed as Additional Director General of Central Public Works Department. The Chief Architect of your division, who is to retire in six months, in passionately working on a very important project, the successful completion of which would earn him a lasting reputation for the rest of his life. A new lady architect. Seema, trained at Manchester School of Architecture, UK joined as Senior Architect in your division. During the briefing about the project, Seema made some suggestions which would not only add value to the project, but would also reduce completion time. This has made the Chief Architect insecure and he is constantly worried that all the credit will go to her. Subsequently, he adopted a passive and aggressive behaviour towards her and has become disrespectful to her. Seems felt it embarrassing as the Chief Architect left no chance of humiliating her. He would very often correct her in front of other colleagues and raise his voice while speaking to her. This continuous harassment has resulted in her losing confidence and self-esteem. She felt perpetually tensed, anxious and stressed. She appeared to be in awe of him since he has had a long tenure in the office and has vast experience in the area of her work. You are aware of her outstanding academic credentials and careeer in her previous organizations. However, you fear that this harassment may result in compromising her much needed contribution in this important project and may adversely impact her emotional well-being. You have also come to know from her peers that she is contemplating tendering her resignation. (a) What are the ethical issues involved in the above case? (b) What are the option available to you in order to complete the project a wall as to retain Seema in the organization? (c) What would be your response to Seema’s predicament? What measures would you institute to prevent each occurrence from happening in your organization?

(a) Ethical Issues Involved in the Above Case:

  1. Workplace Harassment: The Chief Architect’s behavior towards Seema is clearly a form of workplace harassment. His actions not only undermine her self-worth and confidence but also create an unhealthy work environment.
  2. Professional Jealousy and Insecurity: Instead of fostering collaboration and mutual growth, the Chief Architect’s insecurity led him to suppress a fellow professional’s contributions due to the fear of being overshadowed.
  3. Neglect of Merit: Seema’s suggestions were sidelined not because they lacked merit but because of personal insecurities. This goes against the principles of fairness and meritocracy.
  4. Emotional Well-being at Risk: Continued harassment has a profound impact on an individual’s emotional and psychological well-being, which is an ethical concern.
  5. Potential Loss of Talent: If Seema resigns due to this harassment, the organization loses a valuable resource, which goes against the principle of organizational welfare and growth.

(b) Options Available to Address the Situation:

  1. Immediate Intervention: Engage in a direct conversation with the Chief Architect, making him aware of the inappropriateness of his behavior and the potential repercussions.
  2. Conflict Resolution: Organize a formal or informal mediation session between Seema and the Chief Architect to address grievances and find a constructive solution.
  3. Counseling: Offer counseling or emotional support services to Seema to help her cope with the current situation and regain her confidence.
  4. Training Programs: Conduct workshops or training sessions that emphasize the importance of professional respect, teamwork, and the values of the organization.
  5. Re-assignment: If required, and after careful consideration, reassign roles or responsibilities in a way that ensures smooth progress on the project without further conflicts.
  6. Reinforce Reporting Mechanisms: Ensure that there are clear channels for employees to report such issues without fear of retaliation.

(c) Response to Seema’s Predicament and Preventive Measures:

Response:

  • Personal Assurance: Provide Seema with assurance that her concerns are taken seriously and that appropriate actions will be taken.
  • Open Door Policy: Encourage Seema to communicate directly about any further issues or challenges she faces.
  • Appreciation and Recognition: Publicly recognize Seema’s contributions and skills, ensuring that her merit doesn’t go unnoticed.

Preventive Measures:

  • Anti-Harassment Policy: Ensure there’s a strict anti-harassment policy in place which is well-communicated to all employees.
  • Regular Training: Conduct regular training sessions on workplace etiquette, team collaboration, and the importance of a respectful working environment.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Create a system where employees can provide anonymous feedback about their superiors and colleagues, ensuring that such issues can be identified early.
  • Professional Development: Encourage senior employees nearing retirement to engage in mentoring roles, helping them transition to a guiding role rather than feeling threatened by younger talent.

In sum, it’s crucial to create an environment where talent is recognized, conflicts are addressed proactively, and everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

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20% Special Sale Ends Today! Hurry Up!!!