In this current world of no borders, ever changing society and businesses are rapidly evolving to become more efficient and effective to be able to meet and achieve the many goals and objectives in the 21st century, technology on the one hand has also been surfacing and becoming important assets in our daily lives. However, businesses tend to neglect the fact of ethics during the process in meeting objectives and goals that are set. Unethical moves are being reviewed to retain or attract more customers. Business ethics can be defined as ( ). Ethics is also defined as a touchy subject, as people start stirring up the controversy and try to avoid the subject. It is rather a confusing, complex and uncertain phrase resulting in intellectual paralysis.
Based on the case study of "How Low Will You Go?" written by Mobley and Humphreys, there are several problems and context come across the ethical dimensions need to be defined. Bob Carlton, the CEO of OptiMotors Industries, was doing very well in a company with his employees, producing high quality custom parts for motors. However, problems start occurring when Roland suggested him to a new investor to start expending the business and bring the company nationally and globally. The investor put him to headhunter and obtains a new strong salesman named Galen McDowell. Galen was a very good salesman and knows how to play around with others to won over the existing employees. He manage to pull the sales up high and do something that others cannot be done. In a short period of time, he contact Kinan Motors, a big-league outfit company and the representatives promise to pay a visit to OptiMotors.
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The first problem came out when Galen told his plan to Bob. He plans to bring the representative to an evening of pleasure at the Red Ruby strip club. The reason of this is to gain the representative's trust and relationship to get the contract agreement for the company. This is an act of job distortions. Galen broke the limitation of client entertainment. However, he did tell this to Bob, even though Bob does not like it, but he did not stop him from doing those unethical moves. Galen reviewed a case that David reed used the same way to successfully getting Blain Racing account away from Franklin as well. There is also a case where the manufacturer supplied tents of hookers at the annual show to motivate others. In just a month, Kinan signed a multimillion-dollar contract with OptiMotors. The truth on how this contract being successfully signed was being hidden. The publicity did not know what they did to get the contract. Galen felt that he did the right move to gain trust and relationship with client over days. he claimed that that was not some kind of bribe for business, it is just a entertainment that get client away from work, develop friendship and form a bond. This is an act of Job Creation which bending policies for certain customers.
This situation had made April Hartley, the first salesperson in the company decided to quite and moves on. She was angry when she found out Galen's move. Galen claims the entertainment expenses in the accounting report as Triple H Media, which was the mother company of the strip club. This is an act of Job failures by not confronting expense account and falsifying information. Lastly, Joan Warren was responsible to follow up the client, somehow Galen count her off in the entertainment as she was a female and they are going to a strip club. She felt that it is a discrimination of gender. These had made lots of employees lost respect to the company decision, and if the tactics is being reviewed, certainly more employees will leave this company.
Straight to the point, the client entertainment are undoubtedly crossing the line. It is an unethical moves to do whatever it takes to make a sales, there should be limitation when comes to client entertainment or business decisions. Business sometimes faced with the decision that creates tensions between profit and ethics. This situation where ethics considerations are potentially give rise to an ethical dilemma. A business is certainly relying on a good relationship between clients. However there are still boundaries that must not be crossed. Even thought the process was legal, but it might not be acceptable from an ethical point of view. "a simple transgression can destroy the trust of others and cause lasting damage to the company's reputation. If doubt arises about the company's ethical practice, it is very difficult to restore confidence." (crossing the line web)
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In Bob's case, Bob have to first identify all the problems occurred. Bob have to responsibility to ensure the employees have sufficient information so that they do not fall fouled the law. Brainstorm and planning need to be done and in any circumstances employees have to report or take advice from Bob before decision are being made. Bob should take it seriously and discuss the ethical issues in a meeting and define what is right and wrong. Bob should violation the report out and apologies on what had been done rather than hiding the problem. "a reported violation generates more leniency than outside detection of an unreported violation" http://managementhelp.org/ethics/ethxgde.htm#anchor53723
Code of Conduct or ethical guidelines should be discussed over to keep employees on the right track. It is an important instrument of developing the company's ethics and gain back the respect from employees in the company. Furthermore, nothing beats the leading power of a right management from the right person. Bob have to stand strong at his point and get rid of those who did not follow his decision. Bob need to explain this new practice in a nice way and why he is doing this. This will show that Bob still interested in maintaining the relationship with every employee and as well as hoping employee to follow the guidance given by Bob.
Besides, Bob need to identify the values needed during strategic planning. Bob have to review information from the SWOT analysis, create the best strategy to strengthen the strength, prop up weaknesses, gain advantage of opportunities and protect against threats. Composing codes of ethics, attempt to associate with each of the values, things need to be done after the talk.
Nevertheless, Bob should turn his discussion to a decision; he should start solving the problems and create guidelines that everyone in the company should follow. Action should be done quickly to the publicity and apologize at the same time before the incident detected by outsider. Motivation and ethics issues should be given to employees through training and rewards are given to those who successfully won sales without unethical tactics. Entertainment should not influence to negotiation between clients. Every events and entertainment should be carefully assessed by Bob before employee take action.
Before any of these moves, Bob should first start to follow these guidelines and then lead the employees to follow his move. "When you cease to follow up the guidelines there is a strong possibility that your employees will also cease to follow them." (crossing the line web).These can be done by giving training programs, daily report, advisory roles, supervisor roles and individual assessment procedures to achieve the best outcome. Definite action will take the important part for Bob to change the employee's behaviors. "Emphasize and reward good examples of correct decisions that have been taken, especially where this has come at a price." (Crossing the line web)
The payment of expenses from the employee should be also clearly report in the account book. The payment or amount spend in where and when should be clearly stated before they claim the payment. A mother company of other company is unacceptable. Bob have to verify and monitor the account book time by time to ensure that there is no hidden treats that publicity can find out. In the Index, there are several checklist and tools to help Bob to achieve his goals on concerning ethics moves.
There are advantages and disadvantages review in Bob's decision. The table below showing that if Bob take decision and action suggested above, these would be the outcome for Bob and his company.
Strong relationships with customers
Might lost out some potential customers as cases being reviewed
Objectivity and honesty
Employee lying and emotional involvement
Sales force drop
Develop younger salespeople
Employee not motivated
Loyalty to organization
Lost trust on Kinan
Get criticize about company from public
However, there are also lots of benefits can be review if Bob manage Ethics well in the workplace.
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Attention to business ethics has substantially improved society.
maintain moral course in turbulent times
Ethics program create a strong team workforce and increase productivity
Support employee growth and meaning of ethics test.
Help to ensure what employee do was legal and ethical
help to avoid criminal acts
Ethical employee will definitely create values that associated with the quality of organization, strategic planning and diversity management.
promote a very strong public image and create loyalty
Strengthens the coherence of the culture in the organization
In conclusion, If Bob used the recommendation and take it the action that been discuss, although they might lose out contract with Kinan and dissatisfaction from Galen, but he might have gain more potential customers and businesses as everyone will wanted to have business with a ethical company. Bob might also earn the respect back from April and Joan and they might join back the Workforce for Bob. Problem of discriminating and other unethical problems will solve in short period of time, employees will be motivated to work in such harmony environment and more potential employees will be attracted to join the workforce. Therefore, it is an opportunity for Bob to get back his employees loyalty, gain trust from the publicity as well as his reputation of his company.