For the Chapter 2 weekly assignment, please read through the following two hypothetical situations and then answer the questions after each hypothetical situation
Hypothetical Situation 1:
Darby has been working for 14 months at Holden Associates, a large management consulting firm. She is earning $95,000 a year, which sounds good, but does not go very far in New York City. It turns out that her peers at competing firms are typically paid 20% more and receive larger annual bonuses. Darby works about 60 hours a week, more if she is traveling. A number of times she has had to reschedule her vacation or cancel personal plans to meet client deadlines. She hopes to go to business school in a year and has already begun the application process.
Holden has a policy that permits any employee who works as late as 8:00 p.m. to eat dinner at company expense. The employee can also take Uber home. Darby is in the habit of staying until 8:00 p.m. every night, whether or not her workload requires it. She then orders enough food for dinner, with leftovers for lunch the next day. She has managed to cut her grocery bill to virtually nothing. Sometimes she invites her boyfriend to join her for dinner. As a student, he is always hungry and broke. Darby often uses the Holden Uber to charge a ride back to his apartment, although the cost is twice as high as to her own place.
Darby has also been known to return online purchases through the Holden mailroom on the company dime. Many employees do that, and the mailroom workers do not seem to mind.
Questions for Analysis and Discussion:
1. Is Darby doing anything wrong? Please provide a rationale for your answer, making reference to the ethical schools of thought that are discussed in Chapter 2.
2. What ethics traps is she facing? Please explain why you think she is facing the ethical traps that you identify.
3. What would Kant and Mill say about Darby’s situation and Darby’s behavior? How might Darby apply the Front Page test to her situation and behavior?
4. How might a system of Life Principles guide Darby and cause her to behave in a more ethical manner?
Hypothetical Situation 2:
After earning a graduate degree in Engineering Management, Ashton began working for PDRC International. This is a company based in the U.S. that offers engineering, design, and construction services to countries all over the world. Ashton’s work is focused on international development; his first assignment is to lead a team to develop a bid for a highway construction project in East Africa. After the engineering proposal is submitted, Ashton is proud of the work his team has accomplished and promises his manager he will do everything possible to make sure that PDRC receives the contract.
PDRC’s bid is well-received, and Ashton and his team are flown to East Africa to finish negotiations. Ashton is thrilled when his company receives the bid; the only stipulation is that they build their construction headquarters in a specific region in the country. Ashton then begins scouting the region for a location to build their headquarters.
To obtain building permits in the region, Ashton has to negotiate with the local government. As he begins negotiations, he realizes that bribery is both a common and expected practice. If he does not bribe the local officials, he will not be able to build PDRC’s headquarters in that region and consequently will lose the contract. His first managerial project will be a failure. It is illegal for a U.S. citizen to bribe a foreign official in order to obtain business. If he is convicted of bribery in the U.S. because
of this statute, he could face jail time and his company could be fined millions of dollars.
Questions for Analysis and Discussion:
1. What are some of the ethical considerations that Ashton needs to make?
2. Who are some of the stakeholders whose interests are implicated in Ashton’s situation? How are the interests of those stakeholders implicated?
3. What should Ashton do? Would your answer change if you learned that Ashton went to his direct supervisor for direction and the manager responded, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”? Please provide a rationale for your answer, making reference to the ethical schools of thought that are discussed in Chapter 2.
4. What ethics traps does Ashton face in resolving this situation? Please explain why you think he is facing the ethical traps that you identify.
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