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Daft and Lane (2010) define ethics as a set of guidelines that reflect on values and principles employed by an individual when differentiating between right or wrong. Therefore, in an organizational setting, ethics are governed by laws or rules. They also assert that ethical dilemmas are disagreements that arise due to conflicting values or principles. This essay is going to critically analyze an ethical dilemma involving an employee of Empress Luxury Lines (Antonio Melendelez), propose strategies for curbing the dilemma, and choose an appropriate strategy.
Kevin who is also an employee of Express has confided in Antonio that the company had defrauded the insurance company millions of dollars to cater for a computer system upgrade that Antonio had been pushing for in the last two years. Antonio is faced with the ethical dilemma of whistle-blowing.
According to Daft and Lane (2010), whistle-blowing refers to exposing any illegal or unlawful activities taking place in an organization. Macey (2008) points out that the importance of whistle-blowing differs in organizations depending on the commitment of the management team to ethics.
The dilemma infringes on Antonio’s principles and values because he thinks that the conduct of the company is not by the insurance company’s policies and principles and that, the management team should face the law. There are three facets of this dilemma that Antonio has to deal with. Firstly, uphold his integrity at the expense of Express Luxury Lines. Secondly, report the management team at the expense of losing his job or thirdly, ignore the whole issue, compromising his integrity.
Strategies for addressing the situation at hand
While addressing the said dilemma, Antonio may opt to raise the issue with the insurance company, in hope of bringing to an end the long-term trend of Empress Company. This entails flawing the business ethics that requires one to take moral responsibility. However, this will put him on the receiving end since it will essentially jeopardize his job, as there is neither an internal framework that facilitates reports of wrong-doing internally nor protection for whistleblowers (Fernado, 2010).
However, this is likely to be a gambling game since the positive motive may not necessarily be addressed. Eventually, he might meet opposition from the upper management team in their attempts to sustain the activities of the company in the face of the current economic crisis. Research shows that in a corporate entity such as an Empress, the power of management especially in terminating the employment of an individual focuses responsibility at the top (Henn, 2009).
Alternatively, he could contemplate ignoring the whole incident because of dangers such as lack of protection and confidentiality of whistleblowers. This option seems easier than the first strategy since it does not endanger his employment at all. Nonetheless, this would lead to a compromise of the operational ethics of such a company as Empress Luxury Lines.
Pros and cons of the two strategies
In light of the first choice, for Antonio to uphold his dignity and integrity, some repercussions implicate both Antonio as an individual and the company at large in different ways. At its best, this will help maintain and uphold ethics in the operations of a business. The disclosure will have mileage in eliminating impunity and flawed business practices. Besides, it will also serve as an example to other firms with similar ethical degradation. On the other hand, since the company does not have internal mechanisms to relay ethics loopholes, the movie will attract the termination of Antonio’s job.
According to Mark Twain (cited in Henn, 2009) “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Henn (2009) notes that with the increased flow of information, an event can have an immediate and long-lasting impact on a business reputation, and how it is perceived in the marketplace.
Going with the second option, the company’s reputation of offering good services will be retained and no employee will be in the danger of losing his job. Furthermore, the company will probably enjoy some financial boost from the compensation accrued from the insurance company. However, this may not last long before the lapse in the company’s ethics grabs the headlines (Henn, 2009). Thus, the truth will eventually take its course and the company will suffer more dismal outcomes as opposed to the first alternative.
The best strategy Antonio should take
Taking a leave from Antonio’s fix, I believe that I would choose to uphold my integrity and report the case to the insurance company. Though this option leaves me exposed to a possible retrenchment, I believe it is not the means to an end but the end itself which is at stake. This is because the truth will eventually come knocking and I will not only be implicated negatively but also the company’s short-lived glory will come to a halt and in the end destroy the reputation that is so valuable to its operations. The company may not take advantage of the lump sum compensation per se but its reputation in the market will be safeguarded and hence attract customer loyalty.
- Daft, R., & Lane, P. (2010). Management (9th Ed.). Connecticut: Cengage Learning
- Macey, J. (2008). Corporate Governance: Promises Kept, Promises Broken. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
- Fernado, A.C. (2010). Business ethics and corporate governance. India: Pearson Education India.
- Henn, S.K. (2009). Business ethics: A case study approach. NY: John Wiley and Sons.