Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

Ethics Unit Mini Case

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This case takes place in a large computer operations company. The stakeholders in this case are as follows: Joe, who has been recently promoted to the position of District Manager of Computer Operation. Mary is the Divisional Manager of Information Systems and Joe reports directly to her. John is the President and CEO of the company and the immediate boss to Mary. The other stakeholders are the general employees of this big company and among them anonymous letter writer. Since this is a computer company, the other stake holders are the customers and the community at large.

The Division Manager Mary has received information that the CEO has an anonymous letter from an employee stating that a recently installed expensive system is not performing as expected and has not achieved the expected results. With this information Mary confronts Joe the District Manager about this letter. Earlier on, Joe has already communicated the outlined problems to Mary. Mary being the original supporters of the system has ignored the concerns; instead she had informed the CEO that the machine was operating as expected.

Since the John the CEO, has requested a letter from Joe explaining the content of the anonymous letter, Mary instructed Joe to draft a letter and lie that the system is operating as projected and that all savings portrayed in the original justification documents are being achieved. Legal Analysis In this case what Mary is asking Joe to do is illegal since she is asking him to falsify information that has to be represented to the CEO. When she says that the savings portrayed are true she is falsifying information.

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In this case it does not appear that the company has violated any laws but on the other hand, Mary being the representative of the company is doing an illegal act by asking Joe to falsify the information. Ethical Analysis So far we have learnt that ethics can be described as the study of moral development and moral decision making. Business ethics then refers to the study of moral decision making within the business content which encompasses the survey of good versus bad of right versus wrong.

Joe is faced with this dilemma as he has to make a decision that tests his moral ethics. When Mary asks him to lie on his reports, she is putting him in a very hard position. Based on the Categorical Imperative Theory, if Joe’s motive is pure, then his means can be justified. In this case Mary’s demands and ultimatum can make Joe think that he is justified to lie for Mary because if at the end of all this he keeps his position that he has worked had to earn then it is okay.

The Utilitarian Theory states that an act is ethical if it produces a greater benefit than the cost. Joe has to analyze if his actions would benefit him or not. For example, he has to look at all angles because if the CEO is to find out that he lied then it could cause him to in a worse position. The Rights Theory according to John Locke (1632-1704) states that individuals had the right to make free choices without governmental interference. These rights are God given.

If Joe decides not to listen to Mary and write this draft and tell the truth to the CEO instead it would be his right and the most ethical decision to make. My recommendation for the company is that Mary should own up to the problems that are at hand and tell the CEO that the machine has not operated as she expected and that maybe it was time to look at other alternatives. This is the ethical thing to do as it eliminates dragging Joe into a situation that he did not create.

John, the president and CEO, should be able to handle it in a professional way without penalizing but may be asking for solutions from his subordinates. According to Constance Bagley her decision tree provides business leaders with a helpful tool for evaluating the legal and ethical aspects of their decisions. I think Mary and Joe should adopt this strategy because it says for every decision each manager should first ask themselves whether the proposed action is legal and then after that if it is ethical or whether it would be unethical to act to not act.

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