Consensual Relationship Agreements Case Study
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Argue for the Use of Consensual Relationship Agreements (CRAs) in Your Current (or Future) Workplace.
Consensual Relationship Agreements (CRAs) should be used in accounting office due to several reasons. It helps reduce the risk of sexual harassment lawsuits. Sexual harassment occurs when an employee shows unwelcomed sexual signs, makes verbal harassment of sexual nature, or request for sexual favors from another employee (Johnson, 2005). CRAs help to reduce sexual harassment lawsuits in an accounting office since when employees sign CRA they agree that they entered into a romantic relationship voluntarily. It will be, therefore, hard for an employee to claim that he/she was pressured into workplace romance. Accounting offices should avoid sexual harassment lawsuits due to several reasons. Sexual harassment disrupts normal working activities of employees. Procedures for handling sexual harassment may be long. This is because the management needs to investigate whether the claims for sexual harassment are true. In addition, human resource managers need to interview both parties involved in the suit to determine whether claims for sexual harassment are justified. Sexual harassment lawsuits may also cause an organization to incur high expenses in a form of legal damages. Reputation of accounting firm may also be destroyed since the public will perceive it as creating a hostile working environment for its employees.
Accounting office should also sign CRA agreements since they help reduce perceptions of favoritisms. When employees sign a CRA agreement, they agree that they will not engage in any form of favoritism. Examples of favoritisms include unjustified promotions or salary increases. Employees may think that favoritism takes place especially where top management employee, such as financial manager, is involved in a romantic relationship with a junior employee such as accounting clerk. Accounting clerk may be promoted to an accountant shortly after the romantic relationship with the financial manager starts. Perceptions of favoritisms will be avoided if the financial manager and accounting clerk sign the CRA before the start of their workplace romance. Organizations should eliminate perceptions of favoritism due to several reasons. Teamwork in an organization reduces because of such perceptions. Employees feel that certain members in an organization are favored compared to the other members of the organization due to this factor (Kulik, 2004). In addition, the motivation of employees to perform well reduces. It reduces because they feel that equality is not practiced in their organization.
Accounting firm should also promote signing of CRA agreements since they help reduce unprofessional behavior in the accounting office. When employees sign CRA agreements, they agree that they will avoid any behavior that will offend other employees in their workplaces. Employees may be offended when two employees kiss in public. Such behavior may become a distraction since they may not concentrate on their normal activities. In addition, two employees involved in workplace romance may send each other disturbing messages or pictures in the messaging system of the company. Other employees may be offended by these acts. When employees sign a CRA agreement, they agree that they will not engage in any behavior that will affect their professional performance (Nelson & Quick, 2012). Examples of such behavior include arriving late to their places of work. If workers arrive late at work places, they may fail to complete their work on time. In addition, two workers engaging in office romance may also sometimes skip office work so that they could communicate about issues regarding their private life. Signing CRA helps in avoiding such issues.
Create a Counter Argument Against the use of CRAs in Your Current (or Future) Workplace.
There are several criticisms of signing CRAs agreements in an accounting office. CRA encourage office romance. Working relationship of workers who have signed a CRA agreement may fail when they break up. These employees may not want to see each other since they may feel that it will bring up memories of romantic relationships they previously had. This may affect the organizational communication process. These employees may fail to pass critical information about organizational developments to each other. It may also threaten the decision making process. In case the break up between the two employees was bad, the two employees may not want to work together again (Nelson & Quick, 2012). One of the employees may opt to transfer to another organization and this will increase employee turnover costs of the accounting office. If the two workers decide to remain in the organization, they may not be willing to work together. It will destroy the teamwork of an organization and threaten its productivity.
CRA agreements may also cause conflict of interest between employees in a romantic relationship. CRA agreements give employees the right to engage in workplace romance as long as the romance does not affect their professional judgment or productivity. However, there is a high risk that the two employees in a relationship will develop conflict of interests (Kulik, 2004). Separation of duties is an important aspect in all accounting offices. This is because it helps minimize cases of fraud that may occur in the bookkeeping. In addition, it helps minimize collusions that may occur between employees. However, if employees in a romantic relationship work in different areas, they may allow conflict of interest to overcome them and share information about their respective departments. This may cause frauds to occur. In addition, the conflict of interests may make employees in a romantic relationship to support each other’s suggestions during decision making in an organization without considering consequences of these decisions. Decisions that they support may fail to amount to growth of an organization.
CRA agreements are also dangerous since they may affect productivity of workers. Workers may spend a lot of their time dealing with the issues affecting their relationship. In case workers have any disagreement about their romantic life, they may end up discussing this issue during office hours. This will make them waste a lot of time that they would otherwise have spent doing office work. In addition, employees in love may occasionally skip office time to spend time together on romantic dates. In case one of the employees is stressed about the progress of their relationship, he/she may not perform his/her duties well. This is because stress reduces productivity of employees. CRA agreements may also end up threatening career advancement of workers. This happens especially when a senior employee is involved in a romantic relationship with a junior employee. If the senior employee is the supervisor of a junior employee, he may not promote the junior employee because he may fear that it will be perceived as favoritism (Johnson, 2005). One of the critical requirements of CRA agreements is that the two workers in a romantic relationship should refrain from engaging in any form of favoritism.
Discuss the Ethical Principles Involved in the Use of CRAs.
Several ethical principles are involved in the use of CRAs. One of these principles is organization interest’s principle. According to organization’s interest principle, employees should act in accordance to what is good for the success of an organization (Shaw, 2010). A survey conducted by Vault.com revealed that 47 percent of all professionals participating in a survey had been involved in office romance. In addition, 19 percent of the population surveyed revealed that they did not see any harm in being involved in office romance. Studies have also shown that if organizations forbid office romance, employees start practicing it because they want to experience its thrill. The above information proves that office romance is common in most organizations. Employees should, therefore, act for the good of the organization by ensuring that they adopt CRAs since they help ensure that office romance does not affect normal operations in an organization. CRAs outline policies that ensure that all employees act professionally. It will help ensure that employees engaging in office romance do not allow emotions to cloud their professional judgment. It helps them make good decisions about organizational growth. In addition, when employees sign the CRA agreement they agree that they will avoid other employees in their places of work. It helps ensure that an organization succeeds.
Utilitarian principle can also be used to justify the use of CRAs. According to this principle, people should act based on whether harm associated with a certain decision is outweighed from the good in the same principle (Shaw, 2010). CRAs have several disadvantages. They may cause productivity of employees to reduce. This is because workers may spend a lot of their time addressing issues about their romance and fail to concentrate on activities of an organization. However, CRAs will help ensure that employees are free to engage in office romance as long as they observe policies defined by the CRA agreement. It will help ensure that employee turnover rates in an organization are reduced since workers will feel that organization is concerned about their romantic life.
Create at Least Qne (1) Other Option besides CRAs that would Address Workplace Romances.
Another option that would help address workplace romance is that organizations should ensure that employees attend training programs that address all possible questions related to the issue. Examples of such training programs include programs on sexual harassment. Most sexual harassment seminars inform workers that relationships between coworkers are not the business of a company unless romance affects normal operations of the company (Johnson, 2005). Due to this, employees will know all the circumstances in their relationship that may amount to sexual harassment. An organization will, therefore, avoid paying damages due to sexual harassment lawsuits. Training programs on workplace romance help workers know how to deal with all challenges that may result from a relationship break up between two workers who are in love. This will help ensure that the break up does not affect productivity of workers.
During training programs on workplace romance, employees are also taught how to avoid conflict of interests during organizational decision making. It is common for people in love to share the things that go on in their lives. These training programs help workers see the importance of maintaining confidentiality in all tasks that they engage in an organization (Kulik, 2004). Training programs on work-based romance also help employees know how to use their romance as a factor of improving productivity in an organization. If two coworkers are in love, it is common that they may support each other’s tasks. It will help improve productivity of an organization. In addition, it will improve teamwork since they will support each other in all tasks that they engage in. People who are in love offer each other emotional support. In case one of workers in a relationship is under pressure or stress, the other worker will probably offer him/her emotional support. It will improve productivity of the worker under stress.