Week 5, case study number 2. “How Personal Can Ethics Get?”
Valerie Young found herself in a workplace dilemma. She was the marketing manager for a fragrance company located in Chicago where she contributed her financial and marketing skills. She worked as a member of a 10 person team and they were tasked with the conception, design, packing, advertising and production of new fragrances for her company. Within a short time of her employment she noticed a change in how they were doing business. During her first year, they worked with multiple fragrance companies that ensured that they had a diverse collection of new scent ideas. As of recently they had basically dropped the amount of companies they worked with and were actively focusing on only two. Valerie and her team didn’t understand this business practice and voiced their concerns to their boss, Lionel Waters. It didn’t take the team long to realize that Lionel was not to be questioned about whom they did business with. They trudged on and focused on their two remaining fragrance companies. Valerie came to the realization of why they were only working with these two companies when she discovered some documents stuck in the copier. These obviously personal documents stated that Lionel was being paid a substantial monthly commission from each of these fragrance companies. Valerie now seemed to understand why the other companies were no longer in the picture; they must not have been willing to give Lionel kickbacks, so he quit doing business with them. Finding the proof of the kickbacks placed Valerie in a precarious position. She was working in the United States with a work visa and she was not in possession of a green card. Part of her working visa stated that she must have continuous employment. If she lost her job and failed to be rehired in a short amount of time, she could be deported from the country. She was also enrolled in a Master’s of Science program that would basically be paid for by her company. She had a lot to lose, both financially and personally if she blew the whistle on Lionel. It must be mentioned that her company’s code of ethics clearly stated that gratuities and kickbacks would not be tolerated. Valerie knew that Lionel was violating this code and could be disciplined. Valerie was also worried about what would happen to her co-workers and her company, she might not be the only one who would suffer from this news coming to light. Decisions are justified by attempting to balance the interests of multiple individuals and or groups. At this point Valerie is demonstrating the Utilitarian Principle. The principle states that a person will act on the basis of whether the harm from the decision will be outweighed by the good it creates (Hellriegel 41). By keeping quite she not only protects her way of life but she is also protecting her coworkers. It seemed that the knowledge of her boss’s activities really started to anger Valerie. She didn’t know what to do and the only person she could talk to was her boyfriend. He didn’t seem to be much help and he advised her to say nothing. Her secret was making her go against all of her personal values not to mention company policy. It was her duty to blow the whistle. She ultimately chose to do nothing.
Finding of Fact number one: Valerie has recently come upon some documentation that implicates her boss as accepting gratuities and kickbacks from the two remaining fragrance companies that they do business with. Valerie knows that what Lionel is doing is unethical and in clear violation of company policy. Also within the policy was a statement that she was obligated to report perceived unethical actions. She was also aware of extravagant spending that was being done by him.
Recommendation number one: Ethics refers to the study of moral values, principles and rules (Hellriegel 34). Valerie’s decision to keep quite was definitely self serving. Although she did have some concern