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Business Ethics: "is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conduct and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organizations."
The exercise is helpful to do with your employees/group to bring up a number of ethical issues. Discussing ethical issues and having an idea of how you would handle some common ethical issues can help you handle less common ethical issues. It is also helpful to gauge how your employees interpret some of the scenarios, of they even see the ethical conflict involved. I chose this chapter because when starting a business your ethical culture is important and not something that you want to take for granted, rather something you need to be proactive in addressing. 1. Receiving a Holiday Gift:A supplier sends a basket of expensive foodstuffs to your home at Christmas with a card: "We hope you and your family enjoy the 'goodies.'". What action(s) might you want to take?2. Sales Expense:The purchasing manager for a large company agrees to give you an order (their first), expecting you agree to make a $200 donation to his favorite charity, a local youth sports team. How do you respond? 3. Sales Expense Reimbursement:A customer executive from Southeast Asia will visit your HQ facility and meet with your executive team. Your independent Southeast Asian agent requests that you reimburse the customer for his expenses, including expenses that could violate your company's policies. The agent will reimburse you. How do you proceed?
4. References:A large, prospective client calls you and asks about a competitor's reputation. One of your long time customers had a very bad experience with this competitor. What information do you share with the prospect? How do you respond to the prospect call? 5. Gratuities: A customer has a large sailing yacht on a vessel that your company will be discharging. The customer is present and is watching the off-loading operation.The five stevedores you manage pull off a very tricky maneuver, safely transferring the yacht to the trailer. The customer is elated, and reaches into his pocket, pulling out a big wad of $50 bills. What do you do?6. Conflict of Interest: As department manager, you are hosting an informal celebration in the office. The food budget is $200. Your next door neighbor has just started her own catering business and asks to supply the food. Since she is just starting out, she'll do it at cost and provide extra items at no charge. What might you want to consider?7. More Competition:You are in a head-to-head battle with your arch competitor, Evil Enterprises. One of your co-workers approaches you. He has recently joined your company after having worked for a second competitor for several years. He suggests, "I made notes on all of Evil's bids when I could get the data. They use some clear cost standards. Would you like me to bring my notes to the office tomorrow and let you look through them?" How do you respond?
When using this exercise as the owner of an RT consulting business it will, again, help me to get a feel for where my employees are and get the conversation of ethics started. Teacher InstructionsDivide students into groups of three or four. Assign each group of students one of the following scenarios to read and discuss. Then, instruct students to follow the steps below for making ethical decisions. Each group should select a feasible alternative and be prepared to discuss their reasoning for selecting that alternative with the class. Other groups should challenge the decision and give appropriate feedback.ScenariosFor all scenarios, assume you are employed by Best Computer Systems, a large computer manufacturing company with approximately 1000 employees. The company is located in a large metropolitan area.CASE 1: Lorna is an administrative assistant in the Human Resources Department. Her good friend, Bill, is applying for a job with the company and she has agreed to serve as a reference for him. Bill approaches her for advice on preparing for the interview. Lorna has the actual interview questions asked of all applicants and considers making him a copy of the list so he can adequately prepare.CASE 2: Emily works in Quality Control. Once a year, her supervisor gives away the refurbished computers to the local elementary school. No specific records are kept of this type of transaction and Emily really needs a computer for her son who is in college. Her supervisor asks her to deliver 12 computer systems to the school.CASE 3: Marvin is the secretary in the Facilities Management Department. He has just received a new computer and wants to try it out. Though his supervisor has a strict policy about computer use for business purposes only, he wants to learn the e-mail software more thoroughly than his training can provide. One good way to do this, he figures, is to write e-mail messages to his friends and relatives until he Agets the knack of it.@ He is caught up on all his work and only has 30 minutes left to work today. His supervisor left early.
CASE 4: Richard and Conway are talking in the hallway about the employee benefits program. Conway, who has had some recent financial trouble, explains to Richard how the benefits program has a loophole that will allow him to receive some financial assistance that he really needs to help pay health care costs for his mother. Cathy, a fellow worker, overhears the conversation. Later, Cathy is approached by her supervisor who says he heard a rumor that some people were Ataking advantage of the company benefits program.@CASE 5: Jennie was recently hired to work as a receptionist for the front lobby. As receptionist, she is responsible for making copies for the associates. Her son, Bruce, comes in and needs some copies for a school project. He brought his own paper and needs 300 copies for his class. If he doesn=t bring the copies with him, he will fail the project. The company copier does not require a security key nor do they keep track of copies made by departments.Steps for Making Ethical DecisionsIdentify the ethical issue or problem. List the facts that have the most bearing on the decision.