Unethical behaviors in the Workplace: Case Study

Unethical behaviors in the Workplace
Unethical behaviors in the Workplace

Unethical behaviors in the Workplace

Human Resources and Staffing Crisis at Blumberg’s Nursing Home

            Ethics goes a long way in ensuring the organization achieves good public relations and good image as a means of acquiring public confidence. In the case of Blumberg Nursing Home, the actions of three employees were detrimental to its reputation and government regulations, requiring a change of tact by the administration in approaching future crises. It is requisite to formulate an effective way of replacing the erring staff, while setting policies and incorporating residents and staff views in the future running of the nursing home.

Staffing needs

            There is an immediate need for a Director of Nursing, dietician, and a receptionist at Blumberg Nursing Home. A DON is important since she manages nursing activities, controls patient care, makes nursing policies and institutes short-term and long-term future nursing plans that ensure that the hospital meets stringent government standards (Bisk, 2016).

The DON also does financial and nursing budget needs, involves the hospital management in nursing care, evaluates nursing activities to ensure it is patient-centered, meets regularly with other members of the executive, and communicates with them regarding the nursing department. The hospital dietician also does several important tasks in the hospital such as teaching patients about nutrition, addressing patients’ healthcare needs, partially gets involved as a multidisciplinary team, and coordinates dietary changes among the patient.

            Additionally, the medical receptionist is important for coordinating patient arrival and plan for care, gives patients information concerning their problems, organizes clerical and administrative activities and keeps inventory of office and medical equipments (Hicks, 2016). The receptionist also answers phone calls, registers new patients’ and coordinates their next treatment plan by notifying other members of the medical team.

Therefore, the DON, dietitian and the receptionist all are important for the general welfare of the hospital. However, due to the large administrative responsibility of the DON, the hospital should fill this position first. The nursing care is a very important part of hospital activities and requires a leader to coordinate all its activities effectively, including hiring a receptionist and dietitian, important in nursing care.

            In addition, the receptionist should come second to aid the nursing staff in coordinating the activities of receiving patients and informing them of their treatment requirements. Since the receptionist helps in keeping office records and inventory of all the required equipments for administrative work in the hospital, it is imperative to have this staff member (Hicks, 2016). On the other hand, the hospital can outsource a temporary self-employed dietitian to coordinate dietary needs of the patients. Most dieticians have their own clinics and can always schedule hospital visits, as the plan of acquiring a permanent dietician is underway.

Policies for addressing unethical behaviors in the workplace

            Unethical behaviors in the work place can be detrimental to the overall running of the organization and can really hurt the organizations reputation. Each employee in the organization acts as an agent of the company, and whatever they do may be beneficial of disadvantageous to other employees. To avert future crisis and staff misdemeanor, a good policy ought to be in place. The first step is to have a robust human resource manager, either internal or hired externally, to provide trainings, procedures, and policies for tackling ethical issues (Goldfield, 2015).

Having a robust human resource manager is requisite for effective reporting of unethical behavior, and for company to have and maintain proper policies. The task of the HR manager shall involve communicating to employees the organization’s expectations and making clear to them how their bad demeanors can affect the entire organization.

            An effective way of combating unethical behavior is creation of codes of ethics. The codes of ethics aids in communicating the organization’s values, and establishing means of creating boundaries for what is appropriate (Goldfield, 2015). These codes of ethics are simple and succinct, contained in the mission statement, value statement, and employee handbooks. The codes of ethics for Blumberg hospital shall have a protocol where employees can report unethical behaviors to the human resource manager or a senior manager far removed from the role.

This aids in bringing seriousness to the issue and creating trust in employees (Goldfield, 2015). A dedicated anonymous hotline is also useful in reporting such cases. Additionally, the protocol shall ensure no victimization to any employee who reports such cases. The policy shall also entail empowering the employees through training, yearly bonuses and public acknowledgement, in order to ensure the code becomes effective (Goldfield, 2015). The hospital shall have to review the code on a yearly basis y having the employees read and sign over a form, to encourage adherence to the standards.

            The organization can have punishment procedures for unethical employees who may not adhere to ethical standards. These may include demotions, suspension, denying leaves, or firing them, but as a last resort whenever warnings and summons do not work (Mack, 2016). The organization can also fight ethical misdemeanors through protection of whistleblowers, rewarding ethical employees, and having a dedicated panel or person who shall offer unbiased approach to enforcing ethical standards in the organization.

Leadership roles

            The aftermath of an unethical crisis within a business offers an opportunity for the administrator of the organization to exercise decisions that aid in boosting staff morale and that of the residents. According to Lisa Quast (2011), the administrator of an organization ought to lead by example. By incorporating good ethics in one’s behaviors makes the employees avoid unethical situations at work.

The administrator can constantly echo the need to act ethically within the organization, by encouraging employees to follow the codes of ethics every time. Quast (2011) adds that reinforcing ethical behavior and punishing unethical behaviors aids in warning employees, and coercing them towards adhering to code of ethics.

            The administrator can further show good leadership skills by listening to the unethical employees’ explanation of their action. Having good listening skills helps in getting valuable feedback from the erring employee. This can also provide an opportunity to remind and enforce codes of ethics to an employee who may err because of being overconfident (Quast, 2011). The administrator can also bring back confidence among his juniors by showing calmness and confidence that makes other employees increase in morale.

The confidence shows that the decision taken was appropriate and the administrator is in charge. The administrator can also use his character and competence as part of good leadership skills to encourage the employees and inspire them (Trevino & Brown, 2004). Instead of punishing erroneous employees, the administrator can re-inspire confidence in them by reminding them of their value to the organization, and its expectation of them. The unethical employees have new challenges to spur their recovery and show support to them.

            The administrator of Blumberg hospital can show management skills by exercising his authority effectively. The administrator can demonstrate his integrity by ensuring adherence to the codes of ethics by all employees (Quast, 2011). A high integrity leadership communicates straightforwardness to the employees. The administration should be consistent in rewarding ethical employees and punishing the unethical ones, but at the same time taking time to encourage employees adhere to codes of conduct (Kurucz & Wheeler, 2013).

However, despite the need to warn and lead unethical employees into recovery, it is imperative that the employees understand the severity of their actions. In the case of Blumberg hospital, a drunk DON, who also happens to be a senior member of the executive, sends a wrong leadership message to the entire nursing fraternity. This communicates to the other nurses that they too can behave unethically without undergoing any punishment. A drunken receptionist can give wrong information to patients and may talk inappropriately to the hospital clientele.

            According to Goldfield (2015), it is imperative to inculcate good communication framework within the organization to ensure employees grow satisfactory with the management decision. The administrator can do this by often calling for meetings to highlight to the employees the recent happenings, the reasons for taking such decisions, and the expectation of the management to the employees in assisting to averting a future crisis.

This helps to communicate the urgency, and the dire need of the employees to maintain high work standards and ethics for the benefit of the organization. Additionally, Trevino and Brown (2004) suggests that the administration can train and encourage the lower leadership levels who interact with the employees on a higher levels, to show high levels of integrity and support for other employees. By maintaining a culture of professionalism and high work standards, the hospital can avoid future crises occurring from employees acting unethically.

How to use the Quality Indicator Survey

            The Quality Indicator Survey is a computer-generated survey meant for assessment of long-term care to ensure nursing homes licensed by the Medicare and Medicaid meet the federal guidelines (Lin & Kramer, 2013). The survey entails two processes meant to assess certain regulations within nursing homes to ensure they follow the federal laid standards. Factors such as deficiencies, current complaints, and adherence to standards can undergo review to assess the suitability of a nursing home to its intended purpose.

The surveyors does this, while at the same time ensuring the federal set guidelines are followed to the later. The first stage of the survey involves interviewing residents, reviewing clinical records and observing the residents (Lin & Kramer, 2013). The data gathered goes into a computer system, which analyses it using special software and gives a feedback. The second stage of the survey entails using investigative tools to do an in-depth analysis and systematic review of the causes of certain discrepancies and the completion of essential and non-essential tasks.

            According to Lin and Kramer (2013), the QIS can help a hospital to gather information concerning the perception of the residents towards it and their expectations in terms of the type and quality of services offered. Therefore, the administration of the Blumberg hospital can use the QIS survey to learn of the perception, requirements and recommendations that the residents deems imperative for the efficient running of the institution.

The actions of the DON, the dietitian and the receptionist might be an opportunity for the hospital administration, to check whether the breaching of the hospital codes of conduct has been persistent, and whether some of the employees have offered poor services. The employee staff can take the survey to echo to the administration their recommendations and desired mode of treatment in case of future crises. It is vital to ensure training of the codes of ethics to the employees during its implementation.


            The Blumberg nursing home staff crisis is solvable by hiring a new Director of Nursing as a more urgent plan, so that the DON can assist in hiring the best receptionist and dietitian who are instrumental in the activities of the nursing care. The hospital administrator requires good leadership and management skills such as listening, integrity, and understanding the employees. Good procedures should exist to ensure unethical behaviors undergo punishment, while at the same time rewarding those acting well. The Quality Indicator survey is useful for the hospital administrator to assess and implement changes that shall ensure future adherence to the hospital’s codes of ethics.


Bisk. (2016). RN Management Careers for Master’s Degree Graduates: Nurse Director. Retrieved from: http://www.jacksonvilleu.com/resources/career/director-of-nursing-salary-job-description/. (Accessed December 5, 2016).

Goldfield, B. (2015). A Proactive Approach to Addressing Unethical Behavior in the Workplace. (Updated 20 January 2015). Retrieved from: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241924. (Accessed 5 December 2016).

Hicks,J. (2016). Medical Office Receptionist: Job Duties and Requirements for a Medical Office Receptionist. (Updated 20 November 2016). Retrieved from: http://medicaloffice.about.com/od/jobdescriptions/p/Medical-receptionist.html. (Accessed 5 December 2016).

Kurucz, E. C., Colbert, B. A., & Wheeler, D. (2013). Reconstructing value: Leadership skills for a sustainable world. University of Toronto Press.

Lin, M. K., & Kramer, A. M. (2013). The quality indicator survey: background, implementation, and widespread change. Journal of aging & social policy, 25(1), 10-29.

Mack, S. (2016). How to Enforce Ethical Behavior in the Workplace. Retrieved from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/enforce-ethical-behavior-workplace-20234.html. (Accessed 5 December 2016).

Quast, L. (2011). How To Prevent Poor Ethical Decision-Making. (Updated 19 December 2011). Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2011/12/19/how-to-prevent-poor-ethical-decision-making/#1daa9bc7544a. (Accessed 5 December 2016).

Treviño, L. K., & Brown, M. E. (2005). The role of leaders in influencing unethical behavior in the workplace. Managing organizational deviance, 69-87.

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