The Impacts of Communication Ethics on Workplace Decision Making

The root causes of communication issues in the workplace are similar to the general communication issues. Thus, the solutions to these issues can be similar in the first stages. However, the workplace provides a unique environment that may produce different communication outcomes (Alyammahi et al., 2020). Moreover, the management controls this environment, whose interests are to provide a healthy working atmosphere (Wood, 2016). In other words, compared to the outside world, the last resort for workplace conflict can be HR or the manager to facilitate its resolution.

The Analysis of the Communication Issue

The basic communication issues are also at play in the first case study. In this case study, there are two main actors: Simon and Jimmy. In this case, Jimmy objectively portrays unacceptable professional behavior and poor communication. However, Simon also exhibits problems in communicating his concerns to Jimmy. Simon notices this behavior but does not confront or communicate his observations to him immediately. Thus, this hesitancy becomes the ground for the first issue of their communication.

Moreover, when Simon confronts Jimmy about his behavior, he addresses only the parts of the problem and fails to provide the reasoning behind the concern. In other words, first, Simon only talks about Jimmy being late after several instances and does not address his tendency to use loopholes to get out of work. Second, Simon does not effectively communicate his reasoning for addressing Jimmy’s behavior calmly and open-mindedly, listening to Jimmy’s side of the story. Furthermore, Simon refuses to continue communication after the confrontation while noticing Jimmy’s continuing late arrivals. He also does not notify the manager, as he gives up on the situation. Thus, this situation involves basic communication problems that are not corrected and potentially develop into more complex issues.

Recommendations for Solving the Issue

The first layer of this communication issue can be resolved effortlessly with listening and assertiveness. First, Simon needed to address all of his worries to Jimmy, including his avoidance of workload. Moreover, he needed to be assertive and provide the reasoning behind his concerns, as he worries about Jimmy’s potential loss of the job due to the misconduct. In this situation, the sharply negative reaction from Jimmy can be defensive, as he might view the well-meaning concern as an accusation. Cui (2021) emphasizes emotional intelligence to be a crucial element in the workplace. Thus, Jimmy might go through a difficult life situation, but Simon can offer help and try to understand Jimmy’s issues calmly. It is not late for Simon to communicate his thought to Jimmy instead of avoiding the situation altogether.

Another layer of this communication problem is connected with Jimmy’s original unacceptable working behavior. Jimmy might not be willing to change his actions, despite all the factors. Thus, the manager and HR interventions are necessary for this situation and can be a part of problem-solving. The situation might go out of Simon’s control, considering he does not possess the required authority. In this case, the higher-ranked staff can manage the problem with the tools they possess, as it is their primary task. Furthermore, it is unusual that Jimmy’s behavior continued for a long period of time without being noticed and addressed by his manager. This fact might signal greater problems in the company management. Therefore, a broader evaluation of the company’s management and working environment is necessary to find the root cause and implement changes.

Communication issues can also be a result of not only lack of communication but from a lack of understanding of other’s positions. For effective communication, it is important to approach the issue calmly and try to see each side to establish a compromise and continue successful cooperation (Cui, 2021). Expressing the views and actively listening to the conversation partner can mitigate any arising misunderstandings and prevent the escalation of the issue. Thus, in other words, communication issues can be solved by communication.

The Analysis of the Communication Issue

The second case also presents the issue of the lack of efficient communication between the sides of the conflict. In this case, Clive and Yoshio are roommates and both are engaged in conversation with their friends. While Clive talks with his friend, Rick, who is physically present in their shared room, Yoshio converses over the phone in his native language, Japanese. In other words, Clive and Yoshio are in a similar position. However, Clive and Rick do not realize this fact and reprimand Yoshio, suggesting he leaves the room for calls. Moreover, Rick comments on the perceived rudeness of talking Japanese during the private conversation that neither Rick nor Clive was a part of. Clive only escalates the situation by commenting about Yoshio not being willing to change his behavior. However, Clive and Rick do not address Yoshio directly, avoiding the confrontation but trying to express their grievances.

At the root of the issue, Clive is unable to understand the position of Yoshio and its similarity to their situation. Furthermore, he inadvertently involves the third party, Rick, in their conflict, bringing unnecessary complications. On the other hand, Yoshio does nothing to improve the miscommunication by not elaborating on his reasoning. Overall, both parties show an unwillingness to engage in an open discussion to understand each other and resolve the issue, reaching a common ground.

Recommendations for Solving the Issue

This issue can be resolved only by an honest and calm discussion about each side’s views to reach a common agreement on the calls and conversations happening in their shared room. Yoshio needs to express his side of the story and stop avoiding confrontation. On the other hand, Clive should approach Yoshio openly without the involvement of a third party, willing to understand Yoshio’s position. Ultimately, Rick is not part of the original conflict, and Clive only unconsciously uses him as a cheerleader for his actions. Therefore, in this case, empathetic conversation one-on-one can resolve the problem.

In this discussion, Yoshio and Rick also need not only to understand each other and determine the ground rules of behavior in their shared living space. Furthermore, long-term satisfaction and compliance with these rules depend on the degree to which Yoshio and Clive will successfully recognize each other’s position and negotiate a middle ground. In this case, Rick unilaterally tries to establish the rules without Yoshio’s participation, and, thus, Yoshio does not comply. Therefore, both parties need to actively participate in the creation of these regulations for them to work and Clive’s and Yoshio’s peaceful cohabitation.

Moreover, there are some foundational issues with Clive’s and Rick’s behavior. As mentioned before, Rick comments on Yoshio’s use of Japanese in his private conversation as rude, not realizing that the rudeness comes from eavesdropping on a personal matter. They assume that Yoshio would do the same by communicating to each other grievances about him. This behavior may be a result of cultural differences but not in the context of Australia, where privacy is valued. Thus, Clive and Rick need to realize and treasure others’ right to privacy. Another layer of the issue is the use of Japanese. In this case, it is commonly accepted, as Yoshio uses it privately speaking to the person who understands the language. If Yoshio talked in Japanese with a person who does not understand it intentionally to hide the information from them, it could be considered rude. However, in this case, Rick’s reaction was disproportionate and can signal internal cultural intolerance in both Rick and Clive, as he seems to agree with his comment. Therefore, both Rick and Clive need to learn more about tolerance and other cultures.


Alyammahi, A., Alshurideh, M., Kurdi, B. A., & Salloum, S. A. (2020). The impacts of communication ethics on workplace decision making and productivity. International conference on advanced intelligent systems and informatics, 488-500. Springer, Cham.

Cui, Y. (2021). The role of emotional intelligence in workplace transparency and open communication. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 101602.

Wood, J. T. (2016). Communication mosaics: An introduction to the field of communication. Cengage Learning.

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