The ethical culture at TAP was very weak. This is because it allowed and encouraged workers and business associates to engage in corruption and bribery. Anyone that was not engaged this negative conduct was sneered upon and was regarded a traitor to the system. The culture at TAP appears to have been in alignment.
This is because the senior heads of the company installed measures to ensure that the culture at the company was in line with their primary aspiration and goal, which was to make money by any means necessary. Had Durand not intervened, there is a high likelihood that the system would still be running in the same way, with each new individual being coerced to follow the trend.
However, the positive end of the case came through to show that a strong ethical culture will always work for the good of the institution as well as the individuals working in it. Durand ended up making millions of dollars because of his unwavering ethics.
TAP like privately-owned institution
TAP like most other privately-owned institutions, was bent on profit making. In this regard, the members of senior management, in cohorts with the owners of the companies, would use every trick in the book to drive up profits, including tax evasion and under hand deals.
TAP was involved in rampant corruption, characterized by unaccounted for cash handouts being offered to urologists and doctors getting non-monetary gifts such as televisions and office equipment (Trevino and Nelson, 2011). It was later revealed that these tokens were dished out in order to allow the products from TAP gain an undue advantage amongst competing products.
In his change effort, Durand targeted the company reps and the cultural system of receiving tokens for work done. In this regard, Durand encouraged accountability by giving monetary rewards (in terms of bonuses) to the individuals who kept their records clean and straight (Trevino and Nelson, 2011).
The Strategy worked very well, because looking at the situation from the perspective of the reps, they had nothing to lose by working in conjunction with Durand. By collaborating with Durand, they still made the financial gains they were making by engaging in corruption.
The system that was missing, and eventually caused the change process to fail, was the reinforcement authority. The senior heads of the company found Durand’s approach threatening to their tax-evasion plans, because by keeping clean records, the federal authority could easily track identify the loopholes.
With time, corruption trends had become assimilated as part of the organization’s culture such that even when Durand came up with an alternative plan to encourage accountability, it was thrown out the window, because it was seen to affect the company’s profits. Durand’s effort failed principally because there was no support from the senior-level management.
Durand had come up with a perfect plan to encourage the workers to be straight-forward in their dealings but after the bonuses were withdrawn, the gains that he had already made were reversed. In the end, it had to take the legal system and by extension the sentencing guidelines to get the TAP to own up to their crimes.
Without the influence of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, TAP would not have made the committed effort to promote ethical behavior among employees. Ultimately, TAP ended up suffering more financial consequences than they would have had they reinforced Durand’s approach.
Trevino, L.K., & Nelson, K.A. (2011). Managing Business Ethics. New Jersey: Wiley.