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Business Ethics and You. “Why should I care?”. What is Business Ethics?. What do you think the term “Business Ethics” means? Do you think companies have an obligation to act in an ethical manner? Why? What are some examples of companies acting ethically?

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business ethics and you

Business Ethics and You

“Why should I care?”

what is business ethics
What is Business Ethics?
  • What do you think the term “Business Ethics” means?
  • Do you think companies have an obligation to act in an ethical manner? Why?
    • What are some examples of companies acting ethically?
    • Any examples where you feel companies did not act ethically?
does business ethics apply to me
Does Business Ethics apply to Me?
  • As consumers or customers, is it important to think about the ethics of a company? Why?
  • Do you think companies should be concerned about whether or not their employees act in an ethical manner? Why?
    • Public perception
    • Loss of business
    • Cannot attract good employees
    • Environmental damages
    • Fines
    • Jail time
case study background
Case Study - Background
  • A high school student works at a clothing store with a her friends
  • During training, employees have been informed that if an item is slightly damaged, they can give a customer up to 10% off the item
  • During one of the employee’s shifts, she notices that a co-worker rings in an item for a friend with an extra 10% off, even though it is not damaged
  • A few weeks later, the employee notices that the same friend is in the store
  • When the friend gets to the register with a pair of jeans and a sweater, the employee notices that her co-worker rings only the jeans
case study what would you do
Case Study – What Would You Do?
  • As an employee, what would you do?
    • Talk to your co-worker
    • Do nothing
    • Mention it to your manager
    • Tell your other co-workers
    • Any other options?
  • Why did you select the option that you did?
  • What are the possible effects of the decision(s) you made?
case study what would you do1
Case Study – What Would You Do?
  • Does it change the situation?
    • The company for which the employee works is an independent retailer, not a big chain company
    • The store has a poor track record of loss prevention and the manager of the store is worried about losing his/her job
case study lessons learned
Case Study – Lessons Learned
  • Sometimes the right thing to do is not easy
  • Doing nothing is a decision

Any other lessons learned?

case study background1
Case Study - Background
  • A recent high school graduate is working a summer job at a local drug store
  • He is scheduled to work the next day from 8:00AM to 5:00PM
  • He receives a text at 9:00PM the night before informing him that 12 of his closest friends are going to the local lake
  • This is his last summer before college and he may not have many more opportunities like this to spend with his friends
case study what would you do2
Case Study – What Would You Do?
  • As an employee, what would you do?
    • Text in sick the next morning and go to the lake with your friends
    • Let your friends know that you have to work and you will catch up with them after work/another day
    • Call your manager and see if you can switch days and take the day off tomorrow
    • Any other options?
  • Why did you select the option you did?
  • What are the possible effects of the decision(s) you made?
case study what actually happened
Case Study – What Actually Happened

“A.” He texted in sick the next morning and went to the lake

  • A co-worker saw the employee at the lake and mentioned this at work the next day in front of the manager
  • The employee had to admit that he was not really sick and had spent the day with his friends
  • The trust between the manager and employee was lost and never regained
case study lessons learned1
Case Study – Lessons Learned
  • Once you lose trust, it is difficult to earn back

Any other lessons learned?

case study background2
Case Study - Background
  • An employee at a Fortune 500 company is mistakenly copied on an email with a link to a file containing salary information for approximately 200 of his coworkers
  • The employee is a new hire and there is no doubt that he was copied in error
case study what would you do3
Case Study – What Would You Do?
  • As an employee, what would you do?
    • Delete the email and do not click on the link.
    • Reply to the sender advising that you received this email in error. Delete the email, but not before taking a “peek” at the salary information – it would be very helpful to know how you stack up against your peers and what positions might pay the best
    • Click on the link, do not notify the sender and hope that you continue to be copied on future updates. If the company did not want you to see this information, they should not have sent it to you.
  • Why did you select the option that you did?
  • What are the possible effects of the decision(s) you made?
case study what actually happened1
Case Study – What Actually Happened

“A” The employee replied to the sender advising that he received this email in error. He deleted the email and did not look at the salary information.

  • The employee later learned that others were also erroneously copied on the email.
  • IT was notified and conducted an investigation using IT records to show who had recently accessed this information inappropriately.
case study lessons learned2
Case Study – Lessons Learned
  • Almost all of your electronic transactions are monitored – use good judgment, even if you think no one will know
  • Ethics is about what you do when no one is looking
case study background3
Case Study - Background
  • Two employees are sent to Phoenix, Arizona to attend an meeting on an important new software the company is implementing
  • The meeting is three days long and runs from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM each day in a hotel convention hall
  • At the end of the trip they file expense reports in order to receive reimbursement
  • In review for approval, the supervisor notices an expense for a $1,200 helicopter flight through the Grand Canyon, about 150 miles north of Phoenix on the second day of the trip
case study what would you do4
Case Study – What Would You Do?
  • As the approving supervisor, what would you do?
    • Do nothing. This trip was a long way from home, these are very good employees and they may not get the chance to do this again. The company has plenty of money so no one will notice.
    • Confront the employees and question the expense. Give the employees the opportunity to explain the trip to the Grand Canyon.
    • Using the proper process inform your supervisor and let the employees address the expense.
    • Call the employees in and ask to see the great pictures they must have been able to take.
    • Any other options?
  • Why did you select the option that you did?
  • What are the possible effects of the decision(s) you made?
case study what actually happened2
Case Study – What Actually Happened

“B.” The supervisor confronted the employees and asked them to explain the expense for the Grand Canyon trip

  • The trip was taken during the working hours of the conference (approx. 5 hours)
  • The expense was denied, and each employee had to reimburse the company $1,200 for the helicopter trip
  • Disciplinary action was taken and a letter was placed in each of their personnel files
  • Employee comment: “Our wives are going to kill us…”
case study lessons learned3
Case Study – Lessons Learned
  • When on a business trip, it is just like being at work
  • Using company money for personal entertainment/reasons is not appropriate

Any other lessons learned?

case study background4
Case Study - Background
  • ~ 15 utility company employees, including an executive, volunteered their time during business hours at a local church
  • While doing yard work, several of the more technical volunteers noticed what appeared to be an illegal electrical connection leading into the church (i.e., energy theft)
  • Word spread quickly amongst the utility company volunteers
case study what would you do5
Case Study – What Would You Do?
  • As one of the volunteers, what would you do?
    • Call the police. Even though this is a church, they are stealing electricity.
    • Do nothing. This is a church - every $ saved on an electric bill is more food for the homeless.
    • Confront the on-site church coordinator. Give the coordinator and the church the opportunity to “come clean” and self correct before getting into trouble.
    • Using the appropriate hierarchy, address your concerns to the on-site supervisor/manager/director/executive.
  • Why did you select the option that you did?
  • What are the possible effects of the decision(s) you made?
case study what actually happened3
Case Study – What Actually Happened?

“D.” One of the volunteers approached the executive with their concerns

case study what would you do6
Case Study – What Would You Do?
  • As the on-site executive, what would you do?
    • Call the police. Even though this is a church, they are stealing electricity.
    • Do nothing. This is a church - every $ saved on an electric bill is more food for the homeless.
    • Confront the on-site church coordinator. Give the coordinator and the church the opportunity to “come clean” and self correct before getting into trouble.
    • Contact the department within Dominion that is responsible for investigating these type concerns.
  • Why did you select the option that you did?
  • What are the possible effects of the decision(s) you made?
case study what actually happened4
Case Study – What Actually Happened

“D.” The executive contacted the appropriate group within the utility company

  • An on-site investigation by technical experts determined that the connection was not illegal
  • The executive communicated the outcome of the investigation to the group of volunteers
case study lessons learned4
Case Study – Lessons Learned
  • Do not jump to conclusions
    • Allegations of unethical behavior are serious and should be handled carefully
  • Understand what resources are available to you within your organization to address concerns

Any other lessons learned?

what is business ethics1
What is Business Ethics?
  • Were there any things we discussed that changed your mind about business ethics?
  • Remember to think about it:
    • Do you want to read about it on Facebook?
    • Does it feel right?
    • Does it make sense and is it in line with your values?
  • As employees, we all have a duty to:
    • Ask questions
    • Seek advice
    • Report concerns
thank you for your time today
Thank you for your time today!
  • INSERT CONTACT INFORMATION HERE