• Lorna Ilena Bussue

Workplace Ethics: Respect or Deference

An unchangeable feature of humankind is our variability. Disappointments in the action of others can be considerably lessened once we accept that behaviours can be very unpredictable. It accounts for the differences in the way we react to others in any given situation.

Emeralda recalls a conflicting situation which had arisen in her workplace. As a way of dealing with it, the principal said that even though some persons disagreed with her method, they still have to respect her chair. This led to a profound feeling of disquiet in Emeralda. Based on her interactions with people of varying occupational status, she has found this to be the least important factor in commanding the respect of others. Rather she has learned that a person's attitude to others, plays a more important role in provoking reactions.

Emeralda has shown deference to persons based on their position as dictated by administrative protocol. She, therefore, knows there is a distinct difference between respect and deference. She respects many persons in society based on the integrity they demonstrate when dealing with others. This has led her to conclude that respect does not necessarily come with one's occupational status but rather with an appreciation of those who know the importance of cultivating a sense of dignity in others.

Despite our temperaments, Emeralda has found that we all respond favourably to respect shown to us. It's not commendable for workers to use their occupational status to command respect, instead it should be used to serve those interacted with, in the best capacity. This could lead to a situation where one is either respected or simply deferred to by others.


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