Ethics Vignettes (Solved!!)
Below are several situations that present ethical questions in a business. Discuss each situation: (a) from the strictly legal viewpoint, (b) from a moral and ethical viewpoint, and (c) from the point of view of what is best in the long run for the company. Be sure to consider both short- and long-range consequences. Also look at each situation from the perspective of all groups concerned: customers,
stockholders, employees, government, and community.
1. A large European bank requires all employees to open a bank account with that bank. The bank deposits employee pay cheques to those accounts. The bank explains that this is a formal policy which all employees agree to at the time of hire. Furthermore, failure to have an account with the bank shows disloyalty, which could limit the employee’s career advancement opportunities with the bank. Until recently, the bank has reluctantly agreed to deposit pay cheques to accounts at other banks for a small percentage of employees. Now, bank executives want to reinforce the policy. They announced that employees have three months to open an account with the bank or face disciplinary action.
2. A 16-year-old hired as an office administrator at a small import services company started posting her thoughts about the job on her Facebook site. After her first day, she wrote: “first day at work. omg!! So dull!!” Two days later, she complained “all i do is shred holepunch n scan paper!!! omg!” Two weeks later she added “im so totally bord!!!” These comments were intermixed with the other usual banter about her life. Her Facebook site did not mention the name of the company where she worked. Three weeks after being hired, the employee was called into the owner’s office, where he fired her for the comments on Facebook and then had her escorted from the building. The owner argues that these comments put the company in a bad light, and her “display of disrespect and dissatisfaction undermined the relationship and made it untenable.”
3. Computer printer manufacturers usually sell printers at a low margin over cost and generate much more income from subsequent sales of the high-margin ink cartridges required for each printer. One global printer manufacturer now designs its printers so that they work only with ink cartridges sold in the same region. Ink cartridges purchased in Canada will not work with the same printer model sold in Europe, for example. This “region coding” of ink cartridges does not improve performance. Rather, it prevents consumers and grey marketers from buying the product at a lower price in another region. The company says this policy allows it to maintain stable prices within a region rather than continually changing prices due to currency fluctuations.
4. A disgruntled employee of your major competitor mails top-secret information or new product samples to you. Do you begin to do a dance on your desktop or do you immediately mail the information back to your competitor? What would you do?
a. Throw the plans or secrets away.
b. Send them to your research department for analysis.
c. Notify your competitor about what is going on.
d. Call the RCMP.