Describe how the ethical dilemma was an ethical trap.
The ethical dilemma
Prior to beginning your discussion response, read The ethical trap (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Discuss an ethical dilemma that you are aware of in an organization. Describe how the ethical dilemma was an ethical trap. Evaluate how the ethical dilemma and the ethical trap could have been avoided.
Your response must be a minimum of 300 words.
Guided Response: Review several of your classmates’ posts and respond to at least two of your peers by 11:59 p.m. on Day 7 of the week. You are encouraged to post your required replies early during the week to promote more meaningful interactive discourse in the discussion. When responding to your classmates, offer additional suggestions that could help to avoid either the ethical dilemma or the associated ethical trap.
Your responses must be a minimum of 150 words.
Reply to Jeffreys discussion below:
For this ethical trap discussion, I will describe a situation that I was faced with several years ago. I was a database architect for a publicly traded company. I worked very closely with the company’s treasurer to develop a report that was going to be used to report financial information to shareholders, investors, and credit facilities. After weeks of gathering requirements and developing the report, I thought we finally had a good solution. The report used data that we pulled from external sources and loaded into the data warehouse. Having worked with data for many years, this is normally the process; get data from the source systems and use it for accurate reporting.
However, much to my surprise I later found out that the treasurer was using the report as more of a starting point or ‘guideline’ and was then filling in the blanks and actually changing numbers to what he thought they should be. This didn’t feel right to me because if we could just change numbers on what seemed like a whim, how could we justify our numbers to investors, credit facilities, and stockholders? How could this be SOX compliant? I was in an ethical dilemma. Should I confront the treasurer and risk him getting upset or defensive? Should I not say anything and potentially put the company at risk?
An ethical trap consists of a primary and a secondary ethical decision. If I didn’t say anything and the company was later found to have fraud through an audit, was I also to blame? I needed to ask myself two questions: what should I do and what will I do? I needed to weigh actions that would benefit myself or the organization.
In the end, I decided to raise the issue with my superior, the CIO. We talked about it and decided that it would be a good idea to have a conversation with us, the treasurer, and the CFO. We had the conversation and described our concerns. The treasurer described his procedure and reasons for what he was doing. The CFO seemed to agree with what he was doing but also thanked me for raising the concerns. The treasurer was understanding and acknowledged that I was just looking out for the good of the company. Thankfully he did not hold any bad feelings towards me.
I still feel that this was the best possible way to handle the ethical dilemma. By making a good ethical decision right away, I was able to avoid the ethical trap. Had I made a bad ethical decision and looked the other way, I could have spring-loaded the trap potentially resulting in other conflicts, legal, or administrative actions had things gone differently.
Reply to Edwards discussion below:
There was an ethical dilemma at my current work from home job when I was in training grouped with several other associates. We broke apart in training sessions after taking live calls to discuss what type of calls we took and practice learning new information about company services and products while communicating through headsets with each other. I remember 2 of the employees talked about how they wrote down a few of the customers credit card numbers because they seemed wealthy due to the vacation package they purchased. They also mentioned how they were going to unplug their systems and argue to tech support how their computers froze to get time off the phones. At first, I didn’t realize was in the ethical trap or could be held accountable for situation for not reporting it to upper management because I played no action in participating with what they were doing.
What we didn’t know was that are training sessions were not private because everybody was being recorded and supervisors listen to them randomly. While the associates who were stealing company time and customers financial information were terminated, the rest of the group was giving a onetime warning for not immediately reporting the information. “When making ethical decisions, people conduct a personal risk-benefit analysis. Studies confirmed that people confronted with ethical decisions do less than they believe they should do and choose a course of action that benefits themselves over the benefit of others” (Schafer, 2011).
I could have easily avoided receiving a verbal warning if I had told my training supervisor what the associates discussed but I did not want to be portrayed as an informant which is why I remained silent. Being labeled on the job as a snitch or a tattle on the job will cause other colleagues to have a negative perception about you on the job which will put you in isolation from everybody else. A few months later other employees were involved in the same situation again and they were fired as well with the culprit because they didn’t want to be viewed as an informant which cost them their job.
Schafer, J. (2011, Apr. 16). The ethical trap. Once caught in the ethical trap, few people can escape. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/let-their-words-do-the-talking/201104/the-ethical-trap (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.